WATCH: An Untold History Of Gay Persecution, “The Lavender Scare”

In this exclusive clip from the forthcoming documentary The Lavender Scare, one man tells of his interrogation by police, who made a surprise visit to a private home where a Christmas party was underway.

The story seems almost unbelievable today, but the fear experienced by gay men and lesbians during this period was all too real.

The Lavender Scare uncovers a homosexual witch hunt started in 1953 when President Eisenhower ordered the firing of all federal employees discovered to be gay or lesbian. Thousands and thousands of gay men and lesbians lost their jobs after government agents were assigned to pry into their private lives.

These agents made surprise middle-of-the-night visits like the one described in the clip above, coercing innocent people into turning over the names of their friends. For more info on this documentary and to donate to their Kickstarter, which helps with production costs, click here.

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  • Ruhlmann

    Fear of the authorities and maybe shame would have worked for the people doing the investigating and I’d like to think that even then I would have told them to fuck off and not betrayed friends but really who knows? This took place in Canada as well and the tactics were the same. It’s difficult to imagine today how dark those times were for so many.

  • KentonForshee

    And Christians think that they are the ones persecuted…

  • Ogre Magi

    This is what christians want to return us to

  • Taliaferro

    In 1969, just months before the Stonewall riots, I left my first gay party via the bathroom window as local police broke down the front door. We all lived in fear in those days. Coming out just after Stonewall was the best – and bravest – thing I ever did. I have lived an open and honest life since then and I have been happy and healthy. Staying in the closet not only damages the individual but all of society. Imagine being so feared that a government persecutes you to this extent.

  • stfallon1028

    And here we have conservatives trying to convince we don’t live in a police state. More than one chapter of the Christian American Empire has some truly despicable footnotes. If this documentary and the recent bashings against homosexuals in New York City show us anything, its that its a step too far campaigning for marriage equality when in many populations, worldwide we still have to fight for the right to merely exist

  • Ruhlmann

    @Taliaferro: I was 14 when the Stonewall riots occurred and it was a year after our Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Pierre Elliot Trudeau made his “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation. ” and “what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code” comments. I came out to my mother during Stonewall. I wanted to go to New York to join in the rebellion.

  • 2eo

    @Ogre Magi: Absolutely, they’re trying to force through laws every single day that bring us back to those times.

    The sad part is that the religious genuinely think they are victims when all they’ve been in genocidal murderers for thousands of years, and literally nothing else.

  • Charles175

    This movie and the other one in progress “Second Class Citizens”, the religious right doesn’t want anyone to know of. This so history has it’s chance of repeating itself. Too bad that these were not available for the Supreme Court Justices to see. I have hopes that all of us make an effort to share these two documentaries with as many straight people as possible.

  • Charli Girl

    A normal human being will watch this,and think”geez I’ll never use the word dyke or fag again”and i will never vote AGAINST their rights again,A right wing nut will work tirelessly to recreate those days.

  • Maude

    @Ogre Magi:
    That’s a lie, and I suspect you know it.

  • Maude

    I’ve forgotten the name of the Gay Bar I was in near Madison Square Park in NYC in the sixties. The bar was raided and about a 1/2 doz. cops lined us all up the the back of the bar.
    We were told to shut up and wait, but they didn’t tell us what we were waiting for.
    After about 10 minutes, a fat uniformed Captain came in, and began to call us names that ranged from ‘freaks’ to ‘sick faggots’ and worse.

    I thought they were going to arrest us, and take us to the station house, but instead, they asked for ID, and wrote down the info they were after, and let us go.
    The next night I went back to see if the bar was still open. It was, and a stunning young cop was inside sitting at a table, and asking everyone to please behave themselves, so he could go home when his shift was over.
    By law, the raided bar could no longer serve alcohol but they could serve juice.
    I left.

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