History

Remembering When the American Government Made Gay Citizens the Enemy

Wedding cakes were once the least of their problems.

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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:

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  1. …read by George Takei….

    Nice.

    1. “‘Do I look good in this dress? Oh my, yes!'”

    2. memos by legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (read by George Takei)

      Peak Win has been achieved.

  2. Whenever talking about the history of the government going after gays, it is always fun to remind people that liberal PBS icon Bill Moyers was a bag man for the Johnson campaign in 1964 and his primary job was blackmailing gay members of the Goldwater campaign.

    I think you can cut people slack for being caught up in the morality of their times. So, if Moyers wanted personally nothing to do with gay people, I wouldn’t condone that but I wouldn’t consider it proof of his being a bad person given his age. But to affirmatively go out and try to out and ruin the lives of gay people is something that, prevailing morals or not, makes you a worthless immoral piece of shit.

    1. Well, hasn’t moyers proven through his rhetoric that his a worthless, immoral piece of shit?

      1. Yes he has. But a lot of his fans don’t see it that way. They do however think gay rights is a big deal and really don’t like it when you point out Moyers’ history in this regard.

    2. “But to affirmatively go out and try to out and ruin the lives of gay people is something that, prevailing morals or not, makes you a worthless immoral piece of shit.”

      It’s also a lot more likely to occur in government. In the private sector, people generally have jobs to do and there isn’t a lot of money to be made in actively ruining lives. (aside from feminist media sites)

  3. I’m sure there are some among the commentariat who would applaud this history and want to bring it back.

    1. Go ahead… name names.

      1. Is that really necessary? Not a big secret.

        1. Honestly, none are coming to mind.

          Help a brother out, would you?

          The “anti-gay” position around here seems to be that government shouldn’t be forcing people to do business with gays if they don’t want to. How that translates to the government should be firing and persecuting gays is not clear to me.

          1. Sarcasmic believes that homosexuality is a mental disease. It one agrees with this premise, it would make sense to keep mentally ill people from positions of responsibility in the government.

            1. I have never seen him say that.

              1. Go here https://reason.com/blog/2015/01…..nt_4999542

                Just 4 posts below your own post.

                1. I see the retarded statement from sarcasmic about mental illness. Don’t see him agreeing with your even more retarded assertation that that means they are unsuitable for government service.

                  1. In response to R C, I noticed that we have a diversity of “anti-gay” positions around here. Some of them are not incompatible with keeping gays away from the government service. Obviously, I have no idea what sarcasmic thinks about gays and the government work.

                2. grrizzly,

                  If I understand him correctly, he’d also posit that heterosexuals who do not want children are mentally abnormal for the same reasons homosexuals are, i.e., the desire to procreate is normal and those of us who do not want to are abnormal/mentally defective.

                  Hopefully sarc will show up to clarify.

            2. Homosexuality is a ‘disease’ of some sort–or a genetic abnormality. Someone’s reproductive system isn’t functioning correctly.

              It’s no different from the countless other ailments people are born with where some biological system isn’t functioning correcly.

              I’m sorry if that truth offends you.

              1. Homosexuality is a ‘disease’ of some sort–or a genetic abnormality. Someone’s reproductive system isn’t functioning correctly.

                Despite what some gays might tell you, there is nothing physically preventing gay men from having sex with and impregnating women. Nor preventing lesbian women from getting impregnated by men.

                It is very much a matter of choice to have sex with the same sex, and not to have sex with the opposite sex. The motive behind such a choice may or may not be biological or hereditary in nature.

                Insofar as the sexual interaction of gays is dysfunctional from a biological perspective, it is no more or less dysfunctional than a myriad of other human and animal behaviors. It is apt to call it dysfunction, but to call it a disease is unsubstantiated.

                I’m sorry if that truth offends you.

                Nah, you’re just a moron and a dick.

                1. Nah, you’re just a moron and a dick.

                  Look, brah, not everyone can arbitrate truth by asserting their opinions in such a classy way.

              2. It’s no different from the countless other ailments people are born with where some biological system isn’t functioning correcly.

                My lack of kidney makes me gay? So the other kids were right after all.

                1. Yes. Dialysis is for homos. (I was going to type another homophobic slur, but couldn’t bring myself to do it…)

                2. “My lack of kidney makes me gay?”

                  You know how I know you’re gay?

              3. Someone’s reproductive system isn’t functioning correctly.

                Mine functions just fine, thank you, or did when I impregnated my ex-wife. Also, the countless lesbians who have children.

                Now, what was it you were blathering on about?

                1. You have a dysfunctional reproductive system in that you prefer reproductive activity with a being you cannot reproduce with. Your brain is a part of your reproductive system.

                  You are not attracted to viable mates. That is a fact. It is what homosexuality consists of.

                  Since survival depends on being attracted to viable mates you have a clear dysfunction.

                  That you overcame it does not alter the fact the it is a bit of crossed wiring.

                  Or, you can contend that it’s not genetic.

                  I tend to think it is. A blind person is dysfunctional, no matter how talented they are. So is someone without kidneys.

                  One’s functionality in society is not always limited by one’s internal dysfunctions.

                  1. So what is your point?

      2. NOT even if a judge issues a warrant, good sir. *firmly places monocle and adjusts the tip of his mustache*

      3. Or some kind of list.

  4. Who will be the next group the federal government to give up fighting? Tea partiers? Transfats eaters? Terrorists?

    1. No, no, depends on who they are terrorizing.

    2. I would rank order those as follows (from “will stop persecuting” to “will never stop persecuting”):

      (1) Terrorists (at least the Muslim kind. For the non-Muslim kind, see “Tea Partiers”).
      (2) Transfat eaters.
      (3) Tea partiers.

      1. I guess they’re only going to eventually arm one of those three.

        1. Nice.

          (No doubt John McCain will have have his picture taken with the selected group)

    3. Only this time the suppression seems to be coming from the left-wing 🙂

      1. It came from the left wing before.

        It always comes from the left wing–from the people who collectivise and blame. Putin is former KGB–if that’s not left wing, what is?

    4. It won’t be libertarians

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  6. This is one of the things I don’t understand about Leftys and Proggies. Our government has routinely treated certain groups of our population as second-class citizens and even criminals, yet those idiots on the Left want that same government to have even MORE power to impose its will. And those of us who would like to limit that power so that these kinds of injustices don’t occur in the future are dismissed with every disparaging name that exists. Truly baffling…

    1. Because Lefties and Proggies just KNOW it won’t be them! They’re only going after the really bad people! Government won’t turn on people who they think are OK! Well – as long as the Right People are in charge. You put Rethugs in charge, all this shit changes. But they’ll never win again cause Hope and Change! Duh!

      So – go get ’em!*

      *This is what they actually believe. As one of my FB derps put it, “I don’t care what the IRS does to the Tea Baggers, cause they deserve it.” Period. See? That could never become “,,,what the IRS does to Proggie, poor musicians barely making it working bars and local eateries.”

    2. Who was it that re– segregated the US Army? Woodrow Wilson.
      Who was it that put thousands of Japanese-American citizens in camps? FDR.
      Who started Planned Parenthood with the explicit idea of blacks not reproducing? Sanger.

      Ask a proggie…

  7. “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.

    Hoover really was a piece of work. Regularly engaged in his alternative lifestyle choices but actively tried to cover it up by going after other people for theirs (not to mention threatening anyone who thought he was gay).

  8. In the mid 1980’s the governor of Arizona was debating a lesbian activist on the radio and said he would like a list of all gay state employees so he could fire them. Funnily enough, that wasn’t what got him impeached or recalled.

  9. “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.”

    Because it’s not about moderation, restraint, or live and let live, it’s about coming down like a ton of bricks against the enemy *du jour* – and I suspect the same kind of people who crusaded against gays in former times are crusading against “bigoted fundamentalists” today.

    Because the important thing is to have an enemy.

    1. Because the important thing is to have an enemy principles.

      Fixed it for you.

      1. Look, leave me alone, I don’t even *have* a rabbit hutch!

    2. And don’t forget the poor smokers. The harassment of smokers, and the anti-smoker rhetoric, sometimes is reminiscent of gay-baiting.

      When the crusaders declared war on vaping, we got a taste of how far their irrational hatred extended.

      And when the pendulum swings the other way, I guess they’ll demand cigarette vending machines in government buildings – you’re not *haters,* are you?

      1. You are a moron.

        Why can’t you get it through your head that it’s about the NAP and the proper role of government?

        A person may do as they wish provided they don’t shit on the rights of others.

        Government’s only legitimate role is to protect the rights of the individual.

        That’s all there is, despite your attempts to distort the issue in order to justify your mysticism.

        1. OK, once again you’ve been listening to the Eddie in your head.

          So rather than go through the standard multi-post argument, in which you straw-man me, I deny holding the views you impute to me, you call me a liar, etc., etc., I’ll just skip right to the part where I say fuck you.

          1. OK, once again you’ve been listening to the Eddie in your head.

            No I’m pretty sure I’m listening to the Eddie who posts here everyday saying we shouldn’t do what’s morally right because some other people will do something not morally right as a result and it will cause problems.

            You attempt obfuscate the argument so as to not come off as the fucking bigot you truly are. You disapprove of gays, because your religion tells you to, and you want to use government to dictate the beliefs that coincide with your religion. You have freely admitted this HERE!

            1. Come see the bigotry inherent in Eddie’s system! Help, I’m being repressed!

              “SSM should not be recognized by the government, actual marriage should be. Because marriage and the family precede the government and the government has no business either redefining marriage *or denying it recognition.*

              “My objections aren’t confined to SSM laws, but extend also to “no-fault” divorce, the promotion of single motherhood, and legalizing adultery under the name of “remarriage.””

              1. Oh, and the ALL CAPS are a nice touch.

                Won’t anyone think of the adulterers?

                1. Won’t anyone think of the adulterers?

                  Thank you for confirming that your religious beliefs are your true motivation and NOT the cause of liberty.

                  In the future, when I call you a theocratic asshole, I’ll reference this.

                  1. So…only religious people are against adultery?

                    I’m trying to ascertain your position behind all the spittle-flecked hatred.

                    1. So…only religious people are against adultery?

                      Has no bearing on the current argument. Is simply an attempt to deflect.

                      The argument is that YOU place your religious beliefs above liberty.

                    2. To quote what I said above: “rather than go through the standard multi-post argument, in which you straw-man me, I deny holding the views you impute to me, you call me a liar, etc., etc., I’ll just skip right to the part where I say fuck you.”

        2. What the crap, Francisco? Eddie just basically articulated Heinlein’s philosophy and you just went on some nutso tangent.

          He gets a lot of well deserved shit for some things, but this ain’t one of them.

          1. I’m going out on a limb and speculating that F d’A doesn’t like me.

            1. Well, your no Stossel.

              1. You’d fall for any guy in a moustache.

                You know who else had a moustache?

                1. “You know who else had a moustache?”

                  Me.

                  In the first grade.

                  It was a rough childhood. I’m not sure how I would have made it without my devoted mother, Chloe.

          2. NO, kbolino, what Eddie is referencing is his repeated argument that allowing gays to marry will cause gays to become a protected class. And fighting in support of gay marriage will CAUSE a loss of liberty because allowing people to do as they wish will inevitably CAUSE bakeries to make cakes for gay couples. His logic is faulty, he knows it but uses it to cover his real feelings on the matter.

            He attempts to convolute the two issues to make an argument against gay marriage that doesn’t make him sound like the bigot he is.

            1. I have no objection to the policy proposals you want to implement in Imagination Land, a wonderful place where there is, as you say, no connection between the SSM movement and the protected class movement.

              Perhaps I should have made clear that my arguments were addressed to the situation on planet Earth.

              1. Yes, Eddie, it would be impossible to have the principled position of allowing gay marriage AND the principled position of eliminating protected classes right here on planet earth.

                Your solution is to continue to repress homosexuals (for god) so we don’t end up with another protected class. Even if that outcome was inevitable your solution is still immoral.

                Disgusting little bigot.

                1. Oh, I’m sure you have a principled position, my beef is that you don’t seem to consider the impact of your position in the real world. Because you’re one of Burke’s “political geometricians” who wants to reorder the world based on a vision which looks beautiful and neat on a computer screen but which produces unpleasant side-effects in the real world. But these side-effects, even if inevitable, are totally not your fault.

                  1. But these side-effects, even if inevitable, are totally not your fault.

                    a. They are not inevitable if you apply consistent principled logic.

                    b. I can use the same exact argument wrt slavery…we shouldn’t give black people their liberty as it will create a protected class. Don’t you see how mendacious and immoral that argument is? Blacks (race) becoming a protected class wasn’t an inevitable outcome of emancipation. All that needed to be done was apply libertarian principle to the CRA and NOT enact it. In the later instance, all you need to do is not add sexual orientation to the CRA, for the same libertarian reasons.

                    Because immoral people will attempt to do immoral things is not an excuse to deny people their basic rights or equal protection under the law. The notion that it is, is repugnant in and of itself.

                    And as I claim, it’s just an excuse for your real beliefs anyway. The bottom line is you want the government to discriminate against gays and this is your lame fucking excuse for allowing them to do so. The sad part is, both your real beliefs AND your excuse are equally immoral.

            2. You and he doth protest too much. If this was the point (and I thought it was), then it is actually worth debating:

              Because it’s not about moderation, restraint, or live and let live, it’s about coming down like a ton of bricks against the enemy *du jour* – and I suspect the same kind of people who crusaded against gays in former times are crusading against “bigoted fundamentalists” today.

              1. Yes, indeed, and I claim that

                -the trans rights movement is ding more than “merely” ask for sexually confused persons to be left alone, and will try to force businesses to accept them as the sex they think they are, on penalty of damages, fines, etc.

                -the SSM movement is doing more than “merely” asking that the government recognize same-sex couples shacking up as the equivalent of a married couple – they want to force private parties to share this definition as well. This is shown by the defeat, in the various SSM bills, of any proposed amendment to recognize the rights of secular businesses to dissent from the new orthodoxy.

                -The anti-smoking movement has gone way beyond protecting the public from any alleged externalities of smoking and has, literally this time, gone full Puritan and seeks to fine and maybe imprison people who use tobacco, or even a device that *looks* like a tobacco cigarette.

                1. Fair enough, but none of them are libertarian. There shouldn’t be an ordinance about bathrooms any more than there should be one about marriage. That they are Jacobins doesn’t mean we should be monarchists.

                  1. Fair enough, but like I said, don’t forget the fate of the Girondins 🙂

                    1. What lesson exactly is to be learned from the experience of the Girondins? That they should have been monarchists instead?

                    2. That they shouldn’t have been trying to be more revolutionary than thou, up to the time their fellow-radicals turned against them.

                      It’s like they threw gasoline on a fire and then they got burned.

                    3. And, yeah, they should have tried to work with the monarchists. Who knows whether it would have worked, but would it have been worse than what actually happened?

                      But instead they demonized the monarchists and proclaimed them enemies of the people, revolutionizing the government beyond what even the reformer-king Louis wanted.

                      Are any parallels apparent?

                    4. Are any parallels apparent?

                      It’s kind of missing the “violent overthrow of the old regime and ensuing chaos” part. Who are the Bonapartists in this analogy?

  10. I’m excited for this documentary. I came across this bit of congressional record when I was doing research in college and it’s delightfully insane.

    You will find odd words in the vocabulary of the homosexual. There are many types such as the necrophalia, fettichism, pygmalionism, fellatios, cunnilinguist, sodomatic, pederasty, saphism, sadism, and masochist. Indeed, there are many methods of practices among the homosexuals. You will find those people using the words as, “He is a fish. He is a bull-dicker. He is mamma and he is papa, and punk, and pimp.” Yes; in one of our prominent restaurants rug parties and sex orgies go on. Some of those people have been in the State Department, and I understand some of them are now in the other departments. The 91 who were permitted to resign have gone some place, and, like birds of a feather, they flock together. Those people like to be known to each other. They have signs used on streetcars and in public places to call attention to others of like mind. Their rug and fairy parties are elaborate.

    I don’t know what a rug and fairy party is but I’m certainly curious.

    1. Even I don’t know what those things are. But remember that list contains some things specific to lesbians – cunnilinguist, sap[p]hism.

    2. I’ve been to rug parties before…

      I assume a fairy party is a party for gay men.

    3. Thanks for the link. Delightfully insane? Yes, but also painfully insane.

      I’m also curious about the parties – but not curious enough to go to the urban dictionary.

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