Victims of Lavender Scare May Get Apology

The Lavender Scare was a dark time for LGBTQ people as many federal employees were fired because they were gay or suspected to be so. Now they may get the justice they deserve. Image via The Avalon.

During the late 1940s to the 1960s, LGBTQ people were systematically fired from their federal jobs because the US government thought that being gay posed a security risk as Republican chairman Guy George Gabrielson said that sexual perverts (gay people) have infiltrated the government and are almost as dangerous as communists. As ridiculous as that sounds, it did actually happen but if certain legislation gets passed, the people who were wrongfully terminated will get a former apology and the justice that they deserve, according to NBC.

We’ve written on here about the Lavender Scare, with Joe Biden changing his stance on gay people and how we’ve come far from the way LGBTQ people were treated in the past. We’re back to talking about it, this time with mentioning the Lavender Offense Victim Exoneration Act, or the LOVE Act, which aims to remedy the damage done to thousands of federal employees during the Lavender Scare. In regard to the Act, Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey says “It is long past time for the U.S. government to recognize the stories of the LGBTI members of the State Department who were treated unfairly during the ‘Lavender Scare,’ and to offer them and their families a measure of justice.” Menendez is also one of the people sponsoring the bill. I agree with him, although I was not alive during that time I can imagine how horrified people were for being fired for being gay and being considered dangerous sexual perverts. 

The bill would have the State Department “review all employee terminations that occurred after January 1, 1950, to determine who was wrongfully terminated owing to their sexual orientation, whether real or perceived” as well as address the wrongful termination of people who were thought to be gay. The legislation would also have the Congress issue a formal apology and correct employment records for the victims of the Scare or their families. 

Additionally, the bill will create a permanent museum exhibit about the Lavender Scare in the U.S. Diplomacy Center, review the difficulties that LGBTQ diplomats currently facing, and mandates a review of countries that don’t issue spousal visas to same-sex couples. The legislation was first introduced in 2017 but now has more sponsors such as Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Unsurprisingly, no Republicans have signed onto the bill, which makes me believe that while we have gone very far in understanding sexuality in the United States, there is still a long way to go for us to reach true equality. 

This bill needs to be passed as in recent years many pro-LGBTQ pieces of legislature have been reversed or replaced with anti-LGBT legislation, such as reversing the decision that allowed unmarried same-sex partners of UN staff members from anti-LGBT countries to obtain a spousal visa and the transgender military ban. If this gets passed along with the Equality Act it will be a huge step forward for LGBTQ rights and LGBTQ Americans. 

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Source: NBC

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