Gay Pride Month To Feature a PBS Special, The Lavender Scare By Merle Exit

Award-winning, timely documentary The Lavender Scare had its PBS premiere nationwide on June 18 at 9:00PM, re-airing throughout June on digital channels. (For more details check local listings or pbs.org) Produced and Directed by Josh Howard, the documentary is based on the acclaimed book by David K. Johnson and narrated by Glenn Close featuring the voices of: Cynthia Nixon, Zachary Quinto, T.R. Knight and David Hyde Pierce.

Dr. Franklin E. Kameny writes, “Dear Mother, I received your very welcomed letter last Sunday. I hadn’t told you about my work situation because I didn’t want you to worry. The fact is, I was fired not because of a judgement upon me as an individual, but an entire judgement of a group of people. I’m certain you would agree that every American citizen has right to be considered on the basis of his own personal merit. I am a homosexual American citizen. Before I leave this earth I assure you that I will see to it that the second and third words of that phrase–American citizen–, are no longer ignored to people like me.” 

The Lavender Scare focuses on one of President Eisenhower’s first official actions, signing an executive order that said that sexual perverts cannot work for the federal government and sexual perverts specifically meant homosexuals. And so witch-hunts began and not just the federal government but jobs everywhere. 

Over the next four decades, during the longest witch-hunt in American history, tens of thousands of government workers would lose their jobs for no reason other than their sexual orientation.

In one interview of those effected, Joan Cassidy had to give up the chance to be the first female Admiral of the Navy Reserve due to the chance that the government would expose her because she wouldn’t be able to hide her being a lesbian. 

Kameny, who was set on becoming an astronomer, was the first to fight back with politics and activism to make a change via the Mattachine Society of Washington saying that it was not about national security or blackmail but about civil rights. 

The documentary includes the raids at Stonewall with photos of the gay community refusing to “not take it anymore.”  

It was not until 1995 that President Clinton signed an executive order barring the federal government from excluding gays and lesbians from holding security clearances. 

During his term in office President Obama acknowledged Kameny for the protest that he lead in 1965 as act if courage.  Today, Kameny is recognized as the Grandfather of the Gay Right Movement. Born on May 21, 1995, he died on October 11, 2011.  

I conducted radio interview with Josh Howard on the following link where he emphasized being able to have the documentary shown in schools throughout the nation.  www.blogtalkradio.com/merleswhirls/2019/06/19/whirl-with-merle

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