The Lavender Scare | Tony Guida’s NY


>>HELLO, I’M TONY GUIDA. THIS IS MY NEW YORK. THERE WAS A TIME IN THIS COUNTRY WHEN THOUSANDS WERE FIRED FOR THE HIGH CRIME OF BEING HOMOSEXUAL.>>HOMOSEXUALS MUST NOT BE HANDLING TOP SECRET MATERIAL. THE PERVERT IS EASY PREY TO A BLACKMAILER.>>THAT BRIEF CLIP IS FROM A NEW FILM “THE LAVENDER SCARE” A WRENCHING ACCOUNT OF PARANOID POLITICAL REPRESSION AND LIVES IT DESTROYED. JOSH HOWARD PRODUCED AND DIRECTED IT. HE TELLS US OF HIS JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY NEXT. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>JOSH HOWARD WELCOME.>>GOOD TO SEE YOU.>>WHAT A STRONG AND DISTURBING AND HATEFUL STORY. FILM IS GREAT BUT THE STORY IS HATEFUL. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON THIS?>>IT TOOK ABOUT 10 YEARS BEGINNING TO END. FROM THE TIME I FIRST MET THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK WE TALKED ABOUT POSSIBLY MAKING A DOCUMENTARY.>>DAVID JOHNSON.>>DAVID JOHNSON.>>WROTE THE BOOK CALLED, “THE LAVENDER SCARE”.>>HE DID. I CAME ACROSS IT AND KNEW NOTHING ABOUT IT. I THOUGHT I KNEW AMERICAN HISTORY AND GAY HISTORY, HAVING LIVED THROUGH A LOT OF IT, BUT THE IDEA THAT THE GOVERNMENT SYSTEMATICALLY WENT ABOUT FIRING PEOPLE WAS A SURPRISE TO ME.>>LET’S DEFINE “THE LAVENDER SCARE” IN ITS ROUGH OUTLINE.>>THE YEARS FOLLOWING WORLD WAR II THERE WAS A THEORY THAT GAY PEOPLE WERE SECURITY RISKS. THE IDEA WAS THAT THEY WERE SUSCEPTIBLE TO BLACKMAIL BY ENEMY AGENTS.>>IT GROWS OUT OF THE RED SCARE, COMMIES EVERYWHERE, MCCARTHY — STATE DEPARTMENT LOADED WITH COMMUNISTS AND HOMOSEXUAL ACTS WERE ILLEGAL AT THAT TIME. SO IF YOU WERE GAY OR LESBIAN AND WORKED FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT YOU WERE PRESUMABLY COMMITTING ILLEGAL ACTS AND THAT IS THE BASIS FOR THE IDEA THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE — >>YOU COULD BE BLACKMAILED.>>ITS LOGIC THAT KIND OF SOUNDS LIKE IT MAKES SENSE BUT IT IS REALLY A PERVERSE LOGIC.>>IN A WAY IT DOES MAKE SENSE. GAY PEOPLE WERE SUSCEPTIBLE TO BLACKMAIL. AS IT TURNED OUT THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE CASE OF A GAY MAN OR LESBIAN SUBMITTING TO BLACKMAIL BY A FOREIGN AGENT BUT IT WAS OUR OWN GOVERNMENT THAT WAS BLACKMAILING PEOPLE BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THEY GOT INFORMATION ABOUT WHO WAS GAY.>>LET’S HEAR FROM SOME OF THE VOICES. THIS IS A TEASER FROM THE FILM AND WE WILL GET FURTHER INTO THE DETAILS OF WHO THE PEOPLE WERE AND THEIR STORIES. WATCH THIS.>>I WAS CALLED TO THE F.B.I. OFFICE.>>THEY WOULDN’T ALLOW LEGAL REPRESENTATION.>>I WAS A SCARED KID.>>THEY WOULD NOT REVEAL THE EVIDENCE.>>THEY SAID WE HAVE INFORMATION. YOU ARE A HOMOSEXUAL. DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENT?>>THEY WOULD THREATEN EXPOSURE.>>I SUBMITTED MY RESIGNATION.>>I LOST MY JOB AT THE PATENT OFFICE.>>THAT WAS THE END OF IT.>>THAT LAST FELLOW IS DR. FRANKLIN KAMENY. IF THIS FILM HAS A HERO HE IS IT. WE WILL GET BACK TO THESE PEOPLE AND THEIR STORIES AND YOU WILL HEAR MORE FROM THEM. YOU SAY THE GOVERNMENT WAS BLACKMAILING PEOPLE. AND THEY WERE FINDING EVIDENCE THAT YOU OR I WAS A HOMOSEXUAL AND SAYING IF YOU DON’T LEAVE, NUMBER ONE WE’LL FIRE YOU BUT NUMBER TWO WE WILL TELL YOUR FAMILY, YOUR FRIENDS.>>IT WILL BE IN YOUR PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT RECORD SO WHEN YOU APPLY FOR YOUR NEXT JOB, THEY WILL KNOW WHY YOU WERE FIRED BY GOVERNMENT. IF YOU COOPERATED AND GAVE THE NAMES OF OTHERS THAT YOU KNOW TO BE GAY THE GOVERNMENT WILL GO EASIER BUT THOSE PEOPLE WILL BE DRAGGED IN.>>THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAD A LIE DETECTOR TEST PROGRAM AND THE F.B.I. SET UP A SEX DEVIATE PROGRAM?>>AT ONE POINT THERE WERE OVER 1,000 AGENTS ASSIGNED TO INVESTIGATE THE PRIVATE LIVES OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.>>HOW MANY — YOU SAY IN THE FILM TENS OF THOUSANDS. THAT’S A LOT OF PEOPLE WHOSE CAREERS AND LIVES WERE DESTROYED.>>IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT A NUMBER ON IT BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS HAVE A CERTAIN NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO WERE FIRED AND A CERTAIN NUMBER WHO RESIGNED FOR NO SPECIFIC REASON. BUT EVEN THOSE NUMBERS DON’T TELL THE STORIES. BECAUSE THAT DOESN’T INCLUDE THE PEOPLE WHO WERE DENIED EMPLOYMENT DURING PREEMPLOYMENT BACKGROUND CHECKS, PEOPLE WHO NEVER APPLIED BECAUSE THEY KNEW THEY WOULD BE FOUND OUT. THE GOVERNMENT POLICY APPLIED TO PRIVATE COMPANIES THAT DID BUSINESS WITH THE GOVERNMENT SO THERE’S NO WAY TO KNOW HOW MANY PRIVATE EMPLOYERS FIRED GAY EMPLOYEES. THROUGH NATO, OUR GOVERNMENT ASKED NATO ALLIES TO CONDUCT PURGES THERE SO THERE’S NO WAY IT FIND OUT HOW MANY WERE FIRED IN GERMANY, IN FRANCE, IN GREAT BRITAIN.>>DID THEY, OTHER GOVERNMENTS?>>THEY DID. THERE WERE GAY EMPLOYEES AT THE UNITED NATIONS AND OUR GOVERNMENT THREATENED TO CUT OFF FUNDING TO THE UNITED NATIONS IF THEY WERE NOT FIRED AND THEY WERE FIRED.>>WAS IT ABOUT THE TIME THAT THE KINSEY REPORT CAME OUT ON MALE SEXUALITY?>>IT WAS.>>1948.>>TO SOME DEGREE, THAT HELPED CREATE “THE LAVENDER SCARE” BECAUSE UP TO THAT POINT PEOPLE DIDN’T GIVE MUCH THOUGHT BUT KINSEY REPORT CAME OUT WITH A STARTLING STATISTIC THAT 37% OF AMERICAN MEN HAD AT LEAST ONE HOMOSEXUAL EXPERIENCE, THAT GOT PEOPLE’S ATTENTION. AND THAT COMBINED WITH THE FEAR ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY DURING THE RED SCARE IS REALLY WHAT COMBINED TO CREATE THIS LAVENDER SCARE.>>SO IT IS RAMPING UP IN THE LATE 1940s TO 1950s AND PRESIDENT EISENHOWER MAKES IT OFFICIAL.>>IT WAS A BIG CAMPAIGN ISSUE IN THE 1952 CAMPAIGN. THE STATE DEPARTMENT WAS UNDER PRESSURE FROM SENATOR MCCARTHY TO CLEAN OUT COMMUNISTS AND THE QUESTION WAS HOW MANY HAVE YOU FIRED? AND THE PROBLEM IS THERE WERE NOT THAT MANY COMMUNISTS IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT. BUT THEY WANTED TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THEY WERE TOUGH ON SECURITY SO THEY CAME UP WITH THIS IDEA LET’S GET RID OF HOMOSEXUALS BECAUSE WE CAN SAY THEY ARE SECURITY RISKS.>>I IMAGINE THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT HAVE RETHOUGHT MAKING THIS PUBLIC BECAUSE WITH LEAD TO THE QUESTION IF THEY WERE SECURITY RISKS –>>WHY DID YOU HIRE THEM? THAT IS WHY THIS STORY IS NOT WELL KNOWN. BECAUSE AS THE YEARS WENT ON THE GOVERNMENT STOPPED RELEASING NUMBERS OF HOW MANY WERE BEING FIRED FOR THAT REASON AND THE GAY PEOPLE WHO WERE BEING FIRED THEY DIDN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO STAY IN THE CLOSET AND GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES. THIS WAS HAPPENING IN SECRET. AND THERE WAS THIS CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE AND NO ONE WANTED TO TALK ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE BEING FIRED AND THAT IS THE REASON WE KNOW SO LITTLE ABOUT IT.>>ONE OF YOUR INTERVIEWEES, A VICTIM, A WOMAN NAMED JOAN CASSIDY WHO I BELIEVE BECAME A CAPTAIN IN THE NAVY, I THINK, TELLS A HARROWING STORY THAT GOES RIGHT TO YOUR POINT ABOUT THE SECRET — THE VICTIMS THEMSELVES KEEPING IT QUIET. LET’S LISTEN A BIT TO JOAN CASSIDY.>>WHEN I GOT THE TELEPHONE CALL IT SAID I HAD BEEN SELECTED FOR CAPTAIN. I KNEW I HAD BEEN SELECTED TO HOLD THE HIGHEST RANK A WOMAN COULD HOLD IN THE NAVY RESERVE. AFTER I WAS PROMOTED, THREE WOMEN CAPTAINS CAME TO ME AND SAID WE WANT TO TRY TO MAKE YOU THE FIRST WOMAN ADMIRAL IN THE NAVY RESERVE. I THOUGHT ABOUT IT, AND I THOUGHT, BUT WHAT IF, WHEN I TRY FOR THAT, WHEN I GO FOR THE GOLD RING, SOMEBODY GOES LOOKING AND THEY FIND WHAT I HAVE BEEN HIDING ALL THESE YEARS. I COULD NOT DO IT. I JUST COULDN’T DO IT. I WANTED IT SO BADLY. I HAD WANTED IT SO BADLY ALL OF MY LIFE, AND FINALLY GOT IT. AND I FOUND OUT THEY DIDN’T WANT ME.>>THAT IDEA THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT ONLY FIRE YOU BUT THAT THEY WOULD SEND A LETTER HOME.>>EXACTLY. THAT IS SUCH A GREAT EXAMPLE OF HOW THE DAMAGE DONE BY THIS POLICY GOES SO FAR BEYOND JUST THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE FIRED. HER NAME AND STORY WON’T SHOW UP IN ANY STATISTICS ABOUT THE DAMAGE DONE BY THE POLICY BUT IT IS JUST AN EXAMPLE OF HOW WIDESPREAD THE EFFECT OF THIS GOVERNMENT POLICY WAS.>>TO BUTTON UP THE EISENHOWER PART, HE ACTUALLY ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER.>>EXECUTIVE ORDER 10450 DIRECTED ALL AGENCIES OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TO REMOVE WHAT WERE CALLED SEXUAL PERVERTS FROM THE RANKS AND SEXUAL PERVERT REFERRED TO SPECIFICALLY TO HOMOSEXUALS. IT WAS A CAMPAIGN PROMISE FROM THE 1952 CAMPAIGN. EISENHOWER AND RICHARD NIXON, HIS RUNNING MATE, RAN ON A PLATFORM OF RESTORE MORALITY TO GOVERNMENT AND THAT MEANT GETTING RID OF GAY PEOPLE. THREE MONTHS INTO HIS PRESIDENCY HE SIGNED THE EXECUTIVE ORDER AND THAT REALLY MADE OFFICIAL WHAT HAD BEEN KIND OF THE AD HOC POLICY UP TO THAT POINT.>>IT IS A POLICY THAT IT BLOWS MY MIND AS I’M SURE ANYBODY ELSE WHO WOULD SEE THIS FILM — I HOPE YOU DO SEE THIS FILM — THIS POLICY WAS ON THE BOOKS UNTIL PRESIDENT CLINTON IN, WHEN, 1995?>>1995. IT WAS STILL GROUNDS TO BE DENIED SECURITY CLEARANCE, WHICH IN MANY POSITIONS IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MEAN YOU DIDN’T GET THE JOB. IT WAS CLINTON IN 1995 WHO FINALLY REVERSED THE LAST VESTIGES OF THE EISENHOWER EXECUTIVE ORDER.>>LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME MORE OF THE VICTIMS. ANDREW FERENCE. A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER.>>HE WAS. HE WAS THE SON OF IMMIGRANTS. HE WAS THE FIRST GUY IN HIS FAMILY TO GO TO COLLEGE. HE GOT A JOB AFTER COLLEGE, IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE AND HE WAS DISCOVERED TO BE GAY. HE WAS WORKING AT THE EMBASSY IN PARIS. HE WAS DISCOVERED TO BE GAY AND HE WAS FIRED. AND HE WAS TOLD TO REPORT WITHIN NEXT WEEK TO WASHINGTON WHERE HE WAS GOING TO BE INTERROGATED ABOUT HIS FRIENDS AND CONTACTS. AND HE NEVER MADE IT TO WASHINGTON.>>HE COMMITTED SUICIDE IS WHAT HE DID.>>HE DID.>>I WANT OUR AUDIENCE TO HEAR FROM CARL RIZZI WHO WORKED FOR THE POSTAL SERVICE.>>HE WAS A LOW LEVEL ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE POSTAL SERVICE.>>AND ALSO A DRAG QUEEN.>>AS A HOBBY HE PERFORMED IN DRAG ON WEEKENDS.>>IT IS A GREAT STORY.>>ONE DAY I WAS MINDING MY BUSINESS AT WORK AND TWO MEN CAME IN, COAT AND TIE. I ASKED IF I COULD HELP THEM. THEY SHOWED ME THEIR BADGES. THEY WERE THE DREADED POSTAL INSPECTOR.>>CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT BELIEVES SUBJECT TO BE A HOMOSEXUAL.>>I HAD BEEN GOING DOWN TO THIS PLACE CALLED THE GOLD KEY CLUB AT NORTH BEACH AND ON SUNDAY AFTERNOONS THEY HAD A DRAG SHOW DOWN THE CENTER OF THE TOP OF THE BAR. WELL, FOR SOME REASON I JUST FELT THAT WAS MY CALLING. THEY PULLED OUT THIS POLAROID AND SAID IS THIS YOU? WELL, I LOOKED AT IT AND I SAID YES. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY OR DO. THEY HAVE YOU OVER A BARREL. AT ONE POINT I TOLD THEM THAT THE PICTURE THEY HAD OF ME WAS TERRIBLE AND IF THEY WANTED ONE FOR THEIR FILES I CAN BRING THEM A DECENT ONE.>>THE FILM INCLUDES ONE OF THESE INVESTIGATORS BARTLEY –>>BARTLEY FUGLER.>>BARTLEY FUGLER. WHO DESCRIBES VERY COOLLY, COLDLY, HOW THEY DID WHAT THEY DID AND WHY THEY DID WHAT THEY DID. IT IS CHILLING TO LISTEN TO HIM.>>AND WITH PRIDE ALSO.>>YES.>>HE SAID WE HAD PEOPLE THAT WERE GOOD AT THIS. BARTLEY FUGLER IS ONE OF SEVERAL GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATORS WHO MY ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR JOE LANDIS WHO IS A FANTASTIC JOURNALIST WAS ABLE TO TRACK DOWN. WE MADE CONTACT WITH HIM AND WE WERE EXPECTING THAT THEY WOULD SAY WE DON’T WANT TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS MOVIE. WE ARE NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT WHAT WE DID BACK THEN. AND EVERY SINGLE ONE AGREED TO BE INTERVIEWED. WHICH PUZZLED US UNTIL WE DID THE INTERVIEWS AND REALIZED THAT THEY STILL DON’T SEE THAT THERE WAS ANY ISSUE HERE OR THAT THERE WAS ANY WRONGDOING. THEY BELIEVED THAT THEY WERE DOING — >>THEY WERE SERVING NATIONAL SECURITY. BARTLEY FUGLER. WATCH THIS.>>WE LOOKED AT EVERY PART OF THE PERSON’S LIFE. IT WAS AN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATION. WE SPOKE TO THEIR CURRENT SUPERVISORS, THEIR FELLOW EMPLOYEES, JUST ABOUT EVERYONE IN HIS WHOLE LIFE. HIS MINISTER, HIS CHURCH. YOU COULD SET UP A SCHEMATIC, HERE IS JOHN — HE IS A HOMOSEXUAL AND HE WAS A FRATERNITY BROTHER OF SO AND SO WHO IS HOMOSEXUAL. AND HE DID SO AND SO AND YOUR EMPLOYEE KNEW THESE PEOPLE AND SOCIALIZED SO YOU SET THEM UP AND IT GAVE YOU AN INDICATION THERE WAS SOME CONNECTION.>>WE SHOULD COME TO THE HERO OF THE PIECE, I GUESS. IS THAT FAIR? CALL HIM THE HERO, FRANKLIN KAMENY?>>A HERO IN THE PIECE AND A HERO IN THE HISTORY OF LGBTQ RIGHTS, CERTAINLY.>>LET’S LET FRANKLIN TELL HIS STORY AND WE WILL EMBELLISH. HE IS THE FIRST GUY TO SAY NO, HE WAS NOT GOING TO GO, HE WAS NOT GOING TO PUT UP WITH THIS. AND IN HIS WAKE EVERYTHING CHANGED.>>TWO CIVIL SERVICE INVESTIGATORS CAME IN AND SAID WE HAVE INFORMATION THAT LEADS US TO BELIEVE YOU ARE HOMOSEXUAL. DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENT? I SAID WHAT IS THE INFORMATION? THEY SAID WE CAN’T TELL YOU. I SAID THEN I HAVE NO COMMENT. BUT SPEAKING PURELY LEGALLY AND PROCEDURALLY THEY HAD NO PROBLEMS IN SIMPLY FIRING ME, DENYING ME A SECURITY CLEARANCE SO THAT WAS DENIED AND I WAS OUT.>>HE IS QUITE A GUY. HE IS A NEW YORKER. HE WENT TO RICHMOND HILL HIGH AND QUEENS COLLEGE. PhD AT HARVARD IN ASTRONOMY.>>BRILLIANT GUY BUT ALSO SINGLE MINDED AND DETERMINED AND HE KNEW WHAT WAS RIGHT EVEN IF THE REST OF SOCIETY DIDN’T. AND AS YOU SAY HE WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO FIGHT HIS DISMISSAL.>>HE MAKES IT CLEAR, WHEN HE WAS CONFRONTED, HIS FEELING WAS YOU ARE WRONG, I’M RIGHT AND I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU. AND HE DID.>>HE DID. HE WAS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO WAS CONVINCED THAT THEY ARE RIGHT AND HE SAID BACK IN THE 1950s HE WAS GOING TO BRING SOCIETY AROUND TO HIS WAY OF THINKING AND SURE ENOUGH HE MANAGED TO DO THAT. AND HE LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO SEE THE CHANGES THAT CAME ABOUT.>>I THINK THE GENIUS OF HIS OPPOSITION TO THIS WAS HE TURNED IT FROM AN ISSUE OF QUOTE UNQUOTE NATIONAL SECURITY TO AN ISSUE OF CIVIL RIGHTS.>>EXACTLY. HIS POINT WAS THAT HE WAS ENTITLED TO A JOB JUST AS ANY OTHER PERSON, ANY OTHER MINORITY GROUP WOULD BE. AND THAT WAS HIS ARGUMENT AND IT DID KIND OF REFRAME THE WHOLE DISCUSSION ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AT THE TIME.>>AND HE WAS ABLE TO — I WILL USE THE WORD FORCE — A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE TO HEAR HIS TESTIMONY. TALK ABOUT THAT.>>CONGRESSMAN FROM TEXAS INTRODUCED LEGISLATION TO PREVENT THE MANAGING SOCIETY WHICH WAS FRANK’S ORGANIZATION HE FOUNDED, TO PREVENT THEM FROM RAISING MONEY WHICH WOULD IN EFFECT PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS AND FRANK DEMANDED A PUBLIC HEARING ON THIS AND IT WAS GRANTED AND HE BECAME THE FIRST OPENLY GAY PERSON TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS. THAT IS ONE OF THE OTHER DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FRANK AND THE OTHER ACTIVISTS WHO CAME BEFORE. FRANK WANTED PUBLICITY. HE WANTED TO BE OUT THERE AND USE HIS REAL NAME. THERE WERE OTHER GAY RIGHTS GROUPS THAT CONTINUED TO WANT TO BE UNDER THE RADAR AND IN THE CLOSET AND FRANK SAID IF WE ARE GOING TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S OPINIONS WE HAVE TO BE OUT THERE PUBLICLY. AND SHOW PEOPLE WHO WE ARE. HE SAID HE WAS GRATEFUL FOR THIS LEGISLATION THAT HAD BEEN INTRODUCED BECAUSE IT GAVE HIM A CHANCE TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS, BUT EVEN BEYOND THAT THEY HAD A HUGE AMOUNT OF PUBLICITY AS A RESULT. AS FRANK TOLD US A YEAR LATER HE SENT THE CONGRESSMAN WHO INTRODUCED THIS LEGISLATION A FRAMED PARCHMENT CERTIFICATE THANKING HIM FOR THE GREAT SERVICE HE HAD DONE FOR THE — SOCIETY.>>HE WAS A WARRIOR WHO WAS OUT THERE IN THE WOODS BY HIMSELF. YOU HAVE FILM OF HIM CONDUCTING A PROTEST AT THE WHITE HOUSE WITH WHAT, EIGHT PEOPLE?>>EXACTLY. IT WAS 1965 AND IT WAS THE FIRST PUBLIC GAY RIGHTS PROTEST IN WASHINGTON AND IT WAS A VERY LONELY GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO REALLY GOT THE BALL ROLLING ON THE MOVEMENT AND STONEWALL IS RECOGNIZED AS THE START OF THE GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT. ONE REASON I WANTED TO MAKE THE FILM IS PAY TRIBUTE TO THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE AND WERE COURAGEOUS ABOUT SPEAKING UP YEARS BEFORE STONEWALL WHEN IT WAS DANGEROUS TO DO SO.>>IN THE 1960s THERE IS THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT, CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. YOU WERE NOT HEARING ABOUT THE — THERE WAS NO LGBTQ BACK THEN.>>NOT AT ALL. THERE WAS FRANKLIN KAMENY AND BARBARA AND A COUPLE OF OTHER NAMES THAT CAN BE FOUND IN THE HISTORY BOOKS.>>KAMENY WAS JETTISONED FROM THE DEPARTMENT, FROM — WAS HE WORKING FOR NASA?>>HE WAS WORKING FOR THE U.S. ARMY MAP SERVICE. THAT PREDATED NASA BY A BIT. BUT HE HAD DREAMS OF ONE DAY BEING AN ASTRONAUT. HE WAS A BRILLIANT ASTRONOMER, PhD FROM HARVARD AND IT WAS A TIME WHEN THERE WERE NOT MANY ASTRONOMERS AROUND. HE WAS FIRED ALMOST TO THE DAY THAT THE SOVIETS LAUNCHED SPUTNIK SENDING THE UNITED STATES INTO A PANIC OF HOW WE ARE GOING TO LOSE THE SPACE RACE AND THE RUSSIANS WILL CONTROL OUTER SPACE AND WE NEED SMART PEOPLE TO CATCH UP AND THEY ARE BUSY FIRING FRANKLIN KAMENY.>>I SHOULD BUTTON UP THE CARL RIZZI STORY. HIS SUPERVISOR STOOD UP FOR HIM AND HE WAS ABLE TO KEEP HIS JOB?>>HE DID.>>HOW?>>THE SUPERVISOR HAD ENOUGH JUICE TO MAKE THE POSTAL INSPECTORS BACK OFF. THE STORY IS THAT RIZZI WAS INTERVIEWED SEVERAL HOURS BY THE POSTAL INSPECTORS AND OFFERED TO SEND A BETTER PICTURE IF THEY WOULD LIKE. BUT AS HE TELLS IT, HE WENT BACK TO HIS OFFICE AND HE BURST INTO TEARS AT HIS DESK AND STARTED CLEANING OUT HIS DESK BECAUSE HE FIGURED I’M FIRED AND HE SAID HIS BOSS CAME OUT AND SAID CARL, WHAT’S UP? HE EXPLAINED AND THE BOSS WENT INTO HIS OFFICE AND CALLED THE POSTAL INSPECTORS AND SAID, I KNOW HE’S GAY. YOU DIDN’T NEED AN INVESTIGATION AND HE DOES A GOOD JOB, SO BACK OFF AND THEY DID.>>JOSH HOWARD IS THE PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR OF “THE LAVENDER SCARE.” WHERE CAN PEOPLE SEE IT?>>IT WILL BE RELEASED ON DVD LATER THIS YEAR. AND IT WILL BE AVAILABLE STREAMING. AND YOU CAN CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE THELAVENDERSCARE.COM.>>WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE RELEVANCY OR IS THERE A RELEVANCY OF THIS STORY TO OUR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL WORLD TODAY?>>THERE REALLY IS. WHEN I STARTED WORKING ON THIS 10 YEARS AGO, I REALLY SAW IT AS AN INTERESTING SLICE OF HISTORY. AND NOW AS IT TURNS OUT THE MESSAGE OF THIS FILM HAS REAL RELEVANCE. THE HOMEPHOBIA OF THE 1950s WAS A DIRECT REACTION TO A PERIOD THAT CAME BEFORE IN WHICH PEOPLE DIDN’T PAY AS MUCH ATTENTION TO HOMOSEXUALITY AND IT WAS MORE ACCEPTED. AND WE COULD BE GOING THROUGH ANOTHER PERIOD NOW IN WHICH THERE IS A PUSH BACK. WE NOW HAVE A BAN ON TRANSGENDER AMERICANS SERVING IN THE MILITARY. A NUMBER OF STATES HAVE RELIGIOUS LIBERTY LEGISLATION THAT CLEARLY IS AIMED AT LIMITING LGBTQ RIGHTS. WE SEE THE NUMBER OF FEDERAL COURT JUDGES ON THE DISTRICT LEVEL AND SUPREME COURT WHO HAVE HISTORIES OF RULING AGAINST THE INTERESTS OF GAY PEOPLE. I THINK IT WAS MARK TWAIN WHO SAID HISTORY DOESN’T REPEAT ITSELF, BUT IT OFTEN RHYMES AND I THINK WE ARE IN A PERIOD THAT RHYMES WITH THE 1950s IN MANY WAYS.>>ENDING WITH MARK TWAIN IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA.>>I ALWAYS TRY TO DO THAT.>>THE FILM IS SOMETHING YOU MUST SEE AND YOU HAVE TO GO TO THAT WEBSITE TO FIND IT. JOSH, IT HAS BEEN A DELIGHT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THIS AND TO BE EDUCATED ABOUT THERE.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>THANK YOU FOR WATCHING. WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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