New Documentary “The Lavender Scare” Remembers When Gays Were Purged From Government

We all know at least a little bit about our government’s hyper-overreaction to “the red menace” back in the 1950s. Men and women throughout politics, the media and Hollywood lost their jobs if anyone thought they were a Communist or Communist-sympathizer. A lesser known story, however, is how the U.S. government also tried to get rid of homosexuals. Lesbians and gay men were thought to be “sex perverts” and could lose their jobs serving the U.S. government if anyone found out. A new documentary called “The Lavender Menace,” which is currently in production, introduces us to the men and women who lost their jobs during this time and shows how a few of them, including an adorable old man named Frank Kameny, fought back. When Kameny was fired from his astronomy job with U.S. government because he is gay, he sued for a violation of civil rights and took it all the way to the Supreme Court. My eyes teared up watching “The Lavender Menace” trailer — not just because it’s heartbreaking to watch people taken down by a “witch hunt,” as Think Progress put it, but because the same bigotry still exists. Decades have passed, but to some people (ahem, Michele Bachmann), the divisions of “us” and “them” still exist. [The Lavender Scare via Think Progress]