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2 May 2023

Joe Biden issues Presidential proclamation for the 70th anniversary of the Lavender Scare

"Great nations face their history...honestly," said Biden, referring to the thousands of LGBTQ+ people whose lives were ruined by the U.S. government

US President, Joe Biden has issued a proclamation acknowledging the 70th anniversary of the Lavender Scare.

The Lavender Scare refers to a period in the US in the 1950s when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order banning LGBTQ people from working for the US government. This led to a lot of people losing their jobs. The rationale for the executive order was that LGBTQ people were suspected of being compromised by the Russian government and were a risk to the national security of the US>

“We must reflect honestly on the darkest chapters of our story and on how far we have come...” Biden wrote, decrying the “decades-long period when 5,000 to 10,000 LGBTQI+ Federal employees were investigated, were interrogated, and lost their jobs simply because of who they were and whom they loved.”

The Lavender Scare began in 1947 and continued throughout the 1950s under the belief that homosexual Communist sympathisers had infiltrated top security positions in the US government. Congress and State Department heads authorised the investigations and firings of “sexual perverts” from the government. No evidence ever proved that gay government employees had worked as Russian spies.

Biden emphasized “the importance of telling the complete history of our Nation” and said, “Great nations face their history openly and honestly.”

President Biden lamented the lives that were destroyed by the Lavender Scare, and he praised the brave activists who stood up in the face of it to fight for equality. He celebrated the great progress LGBTQ+ people have made and his administration’s dedication to the community but also acknowledged that “the struggle for equal justice is not over.”

“Today and in each generation, we must rededicate ourselves to ending the hatred and discrimination that LGBTQI+ Americans continue to face...” said President Biden. “That includes addressing a wave of discriminatory laws that target them — especially transgender children — and that echo the hateful stereotypes and stigma of the Lavender Scare.  My Administration is standing firmly with brave LGBTQI+ Americans to push back against these injustices.”

New York’s Port Authority Police Department will end its practice of sending plainclothes officers into public bathrooms to catch people propositioning others for sex. These so-called public lewdness patrols have long been criticized by activists claiming that they target gay men.
The decision came as part of a settlement earlier this month resolving a lawsuit brought by two men who were arrested as a result of such patrols. Critics of the practice claim that these types of stings targeted men who were perceived to be gay by officers in an effort to inflate their arrest statistics.
Related: Police sued for targeting gay men in NYC using undercover urinal cops
As part of the settlement, new recruits to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department will also receive LGBTQ sensitivity training for the next three years.
The lawsuit named Cornell Holden and Miguel Mejia, who were both charged with public lewdness. Both claimed they were falsely accused by officers of masturbating while standing at urinals in Port Authority Bus Terminal restrooms. Holden and Mejia were cleared of all charges according to the Associated Press.
“This kind of blatant homophobia has no place in policing, and the reforms achieved in this lawsuit aim to safeguard against future abuses like the ones experienced and challenged by Mr. Holden and Mr. Mejia,” Molly Griffard, an attorney for The Legal Aid Society, which represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
Port Authority officials denied any misconduct, but the practice of entrapping people in public bathrooms has been common for years. In 2017, another class-action suit accused Port Authority police officers of engaging in discrimination by falsely arresting men perceived as gay at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on baseless charges including public lewdness and exposure. The New York Daily News reported that the urinals in the terminal’s bathrooms have privacy walls — which should block prying eyes “under any definition of normal circumstances,” according to the suit. The paper reported that the officers stare at their targets while they’re using the urinal.
“In some cases, the officer will actually step back from the urinal in order to see around the privacy wall, in an effort to view the target’s hands and genitals,” said the lawyers in the 2017 complaint, a claim echoed by Holden and Mejia’s description of their arrests.
In 2018, William Campbell sued New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority after he was humiliated and arrested while trying to use the bathroom in Grand Central Terminal. Campbell said an MTA police officer tried to induce him to have sex and despite being rejected, the cop arrested him without cause.

What's life like for LGBTQ people in the United States?

What's life like for LGBTQ people in the United States? Let's take a look at some of the key equality indicators.

Is it legal to be gay in the US?

One of the complexities of the experience of LGBTQ people in the United States is that much of the legislative framework for the country varies on a state-by-state basis.

It was only as a result of a Supreme Court decision in 2003 that same-sex sexual activity has been legal in all US states.

There is still some variation in the age of consent – it varies from 16 to 18, and some states have different ages of consent for same-sex sexual relations.

Is there anti-discrimination legislation in place to protect LGBTQ people in the US?

Yes. Federal anti-discrimination protections have been extended to all employees across the country. This now means that LGBTQ employees can’t be fired for revealing their sexuality.

Is there marriage equality in the US?

It was a 2015 Supreme Court decision that requires all states to licence and recognise same-sex marriages.

What’s life like for LGBTQ people who live in the US?

There have been huge advancements for LGBTQ people, with some landmark Supreme Court cases that have made symbolic and practical steps forward in achieving equality.

The modern LGBTQ Pride movement was born in the US in 1970 – marking the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. The month of June is now designated as Pride Month across the US, with a huge number of parades and events held in communities of all sizes.

In many ways, the US could be described as one of the best countries in the world to be gay, however numerous problems still exist.

The attack against the gay club in Orlando in 2016 was obviously an extreme event, but 49 people were killed and 53 people were injured in what should have been a safe space.

LGBTQ teen homelessness and rates of self-harm and suicide are disturbingly high – particularly for people from non-white ethnicities.

Trans people are routinely vilified by conservative politicians. Black Trans Women are particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse.

There appears to be a rising tide of homophobia, fuelled by right-wing politicians and media outlets that see it as a populist move.

Reader's Comments

1. 2022-06-23 01:43  
There appears to be a rising tide of homophobia, fueled by right-wing politicians and media outlets that see it as a populist move.
Thanks to Trump and creeps like him. But hopefully, karma will be served.
2. 2022-11-21 08:39  
When will this end..... yeh I do believe that Trump and his kind have green lighted this kind of behavior. I read that justt after it happened certain people were cheering the shooters action on! OMFG. Enough. We are better than this and officials and jurors in trials need to send a message that this kind of hate will never be tolerated!
3. 2022-11-21 22:28  
From the comments above you can see that nowadays left-wing Americans blame all American crimes on Trump.
4. 2023-05-02 06:11  
When Joe Biden was fed up with gay people, he said "The world is going to hades in a hand basket." Joe Biden is probably one of the most hypocritical politicians of all times. Everything Joe Biden says reflects his political NEEDS instead of his beliefs. Joe Biden is a racist and a homophobe.
5. 2023-05-03 03:35  
Ivcan I am not a left or right-wing American. I am just an American that calls a bad person a bad person. I don't like either Trump or Biden so don't start throwing your stereotyping BS generalities out there as a one-size-fits-all.
It appears by your profile you are Canadian so really your opinion of American politics doesn't count,(unless of course, you are a US citizen, then speak all you want on the subject!).
6. 2023-05-03 21:25
Dear Mr. Stereotyping BS Willy, I recommend knowing before speaking. Aside from racism, I bet "stereotypes" and "BS" must be new standard polite terms for leftists like you to attack opinions. All my previous comments were based on FACTs that leftist Americans endeavour to erase from history. Jim Crow laws, which was pushed forward by the US Democrats, can serve as a good example. Do Dems' policies treat Asians fairly? Absolutely not.

It's quite annoying that leftist lunatics always disingenuously claim that they are neutral. LMAO ... They never were. It happens all the time, especially when they insidiously attempt to suppress different voices.

Now you are saying "I don't like either Trump or Biden .... ". However, in your first comment you have expressed your disgust to Trump exclusively, and that .... under leftist propaganda with a portrait of your leftist cult leader, i.e. Hunter Biden's father. Which citizenship I have doesn't really concern you. America is the world's America. Your xenophobic attitude towards me as member of a visible minority projects who you really are.

Mr. BS Willy, you don't even live on this continent. If a bald fat stupid closed-minded old sexual tourist in Thailand with a mental age of only 6 can call my comment based on FACTs "stereotyping BS generalities", I guess I'm unquestionably and fully entitled to my opinions.

Here have I found two free educational videos for you:

Needless to thank me for the free educational videos.
End of this unhealthy conversation! Cannot waste more time on your stupidity.

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