Remembering When the American Government Made Gay Citizens the Enemy

Wedding cakes were once the least of their problems.


Nowadays they all talk about how much they love the gay community, but once upon a time …
"Uniquely Nasty"

This year marks the 50th anniversary of essentially the launching of gay political activism in the United States. I say "essentially" because there were a few previous incidents of activism and protests. But starting in 1965 America saw a ramping up of picketing and protests decrying mostly the awful way that government and police treated gay people.

As we somehow seem to be locked in a yelling match over whether the government can force bakeries to make and sell wedding cakes to gay couples, it's worth a reminder that once upon a time the government sat on the other end of the scale. America used to treat its gay citizens pretty much the way Russia does these days and for the same reasons: They thought gays were social deviants and corruptive influences.

On Monday Yahoo will be releasing a documentary titled Uniquely Nasty: The U.S. Government's War on Gays. It's about how the federal government collected information on citizens suspected of being gay ("sex deviates") and purged them from any sort of government work. Their summary:

The film explores a dark and little-known chapter in America's recent political past, when gays and lesbians were barred from working for the federal government and the FBI, through its"sex deviates" program, secretly collected hundreds of thousands of files on the sex lives of American citizens. 

"Uniquely Nasty" includes never-before-seen government memos by legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (read by George Takei) and John Steele, a top lawyer for the U.S. Civil Service Commission (read by Matt Bomer) asserting that gays were "not suitable" for federal employment.

Watch the trailer below: