What did we fear more, Communists or Homosexuality?

The lavender scare was a part of the new rising fear of homosexual men and women and how they could be a possible threat to the United States. Gay men and lesbian women were becoming more common during the cold war. And though the majority of the U.S. population did not agree with it at the time. More and more people were beginning to fight for the rights of homosexual individuals. Specifically, the lavender scare targeted homosexual men and women that the government employed in one way or another. Whether it was in the military or in office. Senator Joe McCarthy created this hysteria that homosexual men and women were more susceptible to being turned by communism and that they were a national threat to the country’s integrity. Due to this ill thought many men and women lost their jobs not only if they were suspected to be a communist but even if they were suspected of being homosexual. If they were fortunate enough not to lose their jobs they were still taken into custody to be integrated about “what they knew” and what schemes they were trying to create by growing homosexuality in the country. Which overall ruined their reputation for the rest of the cold war.

Though a lot of people stood by Senator McCarthy and his so-called plans to irradicate the communist wave. There were a lot of citizens skeptical about not only him but what the entire government was doing in regard to the red scare. After it was revealed that Senator McCarthy was full of it, the entire country began questioning not only the red scare but also this new lavender scare. The truth was being revealed that they were using the fear of communism to try and shut down the growth of homosexuality within the country. This ultimately led to even more distrust in the government and caused many people to question if the government is truly for the people or if they are beginning to be corrupt and looking for personal gain. This also led to a lot of people joining the gay rights movement and fighting for the people that were being targeted for no reason during the peak of the lavender scare. 

I do believe that sexual innuendos are still being used today in politics. And with this, there are many different types of scenarios that could be classified as such. Like how people are still fighting for certain LGBTQ rights or the ability to teach these certain things in schools. And how different sides either say that it is wrong and not ok for this country and how the other side is saying that we need to embrace the culture and build knowledge on the topic. There will never not be a time when people are fighting for a right that involves sexual orientation or to normalize something of that topic in this country.

2 thoughts on “What did we fear more, Communists or Homosexuality?

  1. Great post. I thought you made a really interesting point about how when it was revealed that McCarthy had no “secret list” of communists and communist sympathizers in the government, the country began to question the entire Red Scare. I think that this along with everything else that was going on during this time of government secrets led to people starting to question the true intentions of the government more than they had before. This could have been a turning point for a large number of Americans who were afraid to ask questions before, and then became tired of being lied to.


  2. It is kind of interesting that you brought up how intertwined communism and homosexuality are. The idea that homosexuality is a security risk and can be spread as much as communism prevailed during that era. It is also important to note that the Lavender scare has set forth the LGBTQ community to demand their rights and freedoms. As interrogation and execution of gay men specifically increased, the LGBTQ community began to congregate in cities. However, the federal government continued its oppression with the Sex Perversion Elimination Act upon which hundreds of homosexuals got arrested and fired from their jobs. The Lavender Scare has been utilized merely on political ends and linking it directly to the anti-communist crusade sparked by McCarthy during the 1950s has proven that point.


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