Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) and closet-case right-hand henchman Roy Cohn’s (pictured above) anti-Communist hearings are a dark, and sinister stain in Gay and Lesbian history as well as in America history.
McCarthy’s campaign was not to only root out suspected “subversives” and communist it was also to witch hunt gays and lesbians as well. Gay men and women were actively rooted out of all levels of government employment. Gays were seen not only as morally suspect, but also a security risk and a dangerous influence in government offices. In 1952, McCarthy published a book titled McCarthyism: The Fight For America, in which he laid out his crusade to rid the country of “Communists and perverts.”
As part of his book’s promotion, McCarthy answered several question from the editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel where he proudly took credit for the removal of 145 “deviates” from Government employment:
QUESTION: How many sex deviates have been removed from the State Department?
ANSWER: Ninety-one were forced to resign from the State Department prior to 1950 and 54 since that time. The Senate Special Investigating Committee had this to say about those who were allowed to resign: “In most of those cases, these known homosexuals were allowed to resign for ‘personal reasons,’ and no information was placed in the regular personnel files of the state Department indicating the real reason for resignation nor was the Civil Service Commission informed of the true reason for the resignation … Die ot the manner in which these cases were mishandled, 23 of those 91 state Department employees found there way into other departments of government.”
QUESTION: Do you claim that the sex deviates removed from the State Department were all disloyal?
ANSWER: No, but all were considered security risks. One reason why sex deviates are considered by all intelligence agencies of the government to be security risks in that they are subject to blackmail. Is is a known fact that espionage agents often have been successful in extorting information from them by threatening to expose their abnormal habits.
The Special Senate Investigating Committee had this to say about the high percentage of sex deviates in government: “The homosexual has a tendency to gather other perverts around him. Eminent psychiatrists have informed the subcommittee that the homosexual is likely to seek his own kind because the pressures of society are such that he feels uncomfortable unless his is with his own kind. Due to this situation the homosexual tends to surround himself with other homosexuals, not only in his social but in his business life. Under these circumstances, if a homosexual attains a position in government where he can influence the hiring of personnel, it is almost inevitable that he will attempt to place other homosexuals in government jobs.”
The most ironic part of this piece of history is that the original evil and “self-loathing quisling” of the GOP: Roy Cohn served as McCarthy’s right hand man. During one of McCarthy’s televised hearings into the supposed influence of communists in the U.S. Army, attorney Joseph Welch accused McCarthy of accepting a doctored photo as evidence. Referring to Cohn, Welch asked McCarthy whether the photo “came from a pixie.” When McCarthy asked what a pixie was, Welch replied “a close relative of a fairy.”
Cohn would later die of AIDS alone in 1986.
The Names Project’s AIDS-memorial quilt features one square that was anonymously added that reads: “Roy Cohn: Bully, Coward, Victim.”