The Lavender Scare blew wide open in the nation’s newspapers in March of 1950 when arch-conservative columnist George Sokolsky, an early admirer of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) and Roy Cohn, (pictured above) took to his column to blast the U.S. State Department, once again, for harboring “known Communists” and worse. HOMOSEXUALS!
When Maximillian Harden, the German journalist, called attention to a similar camarilla in the Kaiser’s court, involving Prince Eulenburg, it shocked and astonished the world. Yet, in this generation, in the United States, a charge that 91 employees of the state department were dismissed for being homosexuals passes with little excitement.
And so the Lavender Scare began.
The Lavender Scare is a rarely talked about but an important part of our history and the persecution we have endured. In the 1950’s during the anti-communist campaign known as McCarthyism. Gay men and lesbians were often considered “fellow travelers” of the communists, with McCarthy also charging not only that the government had been infiltrated by homosexuals, and that they posed a threat equally as grave to national security because gay men and lesbians could be blackmailed into revealing state secrets. The lavender scare began “may be seen as the time when homosexuals became the chief scapegoats of the Cold War because of fear, bigotry and hatred.
In 1950, the same year that Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed 205 communists were working in the State Department.
On April 19, 1950, the Republican National Chairman Guy George Gabrielson said that “sexual perverts who have infiltrated our Government in recent years” were perhaps as “dangerous as the actual Communists”.