The Purge: Cold War politics

The lavender scare was a movement that attacked homosexuality in the United States post-war era. It has initially targeted federal officials who identify as homosexual or even suspected to have other sexual orientations. However, the lavender scare is highly linked to the red scare which simultaneously occurred after the second world war. Some officials have employed some of the lavender tactics to pursue their own political ends. The investigations within the federal government have increasingly increased as the understanding that communists and homosexuals possess the same characteristics has spread across the country. Homophobia was justified by raising concerns about national security, alarm over “sexual perversion”, and also driven by political opportunism.  a loyalty investigation of all federal employees became an executive order in 1947 through which around 300 employees were investigated and fired as security risks. Federal procedures have encouraged discriminatory activities against homosexuals. However, it was not merely an anticommunism federal decision but it has also labeled homosexuals considering that both phenomena have similar motivations. Many oppressive policies have gone into effect during the fifties prohibiting the homosexual population from their civil rights.

As a part of the broader Red Scare that targeted communists, the Lavender Scare has developed federal employment discrimination and potential hate crime. Homophobia was not simply heightened by the concerns about internal security but it was also used as a political tool and had entrenched into American politics.

The prevailing view of homosexuality as a mental illness and a sign of perversion or criminality was sparked by The notorious Senator Joe McCarthy In February 1950. He encouraged and popularized anti-homosexuality purges and investigations of homosexuals leaving a large number of federal employees jobless. The idea of working against the excesses of anticommunism had to be through “gay-baiting to fight red-baiting, accentuating that homophobia and anticommunism were intertwined in domestic politics. However, the increased hatred of McCarthy for homosexuality has raised questions on whether or not he himself might be secretly homosexual. As the public general was smearing senator McCarthy’s credibility. He implied that people are simply standing against his anticommunist crusade, linking the lavender scare to the second red scare.

These social biases originated post-war era but they are still prevailing especially in the workplace. Even though the circumstances are largely different and homosexuality is common and mostly morally accepted. The LGBTQ community is still threatened and not entirely protected by the federal government.

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