Gays in the Government

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Gays in the Government

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One of the biggest contributions that Washington D.C. made to the early LGBT movement was through attracting attention about the debate surrounding whether or not gay people should still be allowed to have government jobs, and security clearance for the government job sector. Because the America Psychiatric Society still acknowledged homosexuality as a mental illness in the 1950-1960s, they were susceptible to blackmail, which made them a security risk. Senator Joe McCarthy included homosexuals on the list of people who needed to be investigated by his Congressional subcommittee. McCarthy and his chief councilman, Roy Cohn, fired hundreds of LGBT people form the government, during what was called The Lavender Scare.

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Jess Sturges

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Collection Items

Male Mail: Homosexuals and the Law in DC
This is a brochure created by Frank Kamery about what is legal for LGBT people in DC and what is not

Letter to Senator Sam J. Ervin, Chairman, U.S. Senate Subcomitte on Constitutional Rights, Committee on the Judiciary
This is a letter that Frank Kameny wrote to Senator Sam J. Ervin about the rights of LGBT people in the government. Kameny wrote a lot of different letters such as this one to discuss the place of homosexuals in government jobs after he was fired for…

Invitation for Kameny to Testify
This letter was written by James T. Clark, the secretary for the House of Representatives, requesting that Kameny come and testify on the Dowdy Bill, which was proposed in an attempt to outlaw the Mattachine Society of Washington D.C.

The Undeclared Witch Hunt
This newspaper clipping talks about the trial of Benning Wenworth against the United States Federal Government that was fought after Wenworth last his security clearance as a government employee after he went public with his homosexual identity. The…

This questionnaire was issued and created by the Mattachine Society in order to gather information about blackmailing procedures, and how they related to the safety of LGBT people in their jobs and in their daily lives

After being fired from his US Government job in 1957 for being gay, Kameny appealed his case to the court system. He lost in the judicial system twice, and appealed his case to the Supreme Court with a carefully written, unapologetic, 64 page writ of…

President Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450 in order to make sexual orientation a legal grounds for dismissal from the US government job sector, on the basis of "keeping up good moral character and conduct". This document shows that the…

Department on State Letter
This letter from the State Department to Frank Kameny clearly states that homosexuals were not seen as qualified to be employed by the government, because they were "threats to national security", and generally treated as second class citizens.

This press release was created to inform the public of DC about the formation of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. This document shows just how many things that the Mattachine Society was involved in
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