What’s in the Closet of the U.S. Government?

The ‘Lavender Scare,’ a 40-Year Purge of Government Workers Suspected of Being Gay or Lesbian

Bruce Forbes

Bruce Forbes couldn’t believe his good luck. He had spent nearly 10 years as a Foreign Service officer with assignments from Palermo to Prague, but when he was appointed vice consul at the American embassy in Paris he felt as though he had won the lottery. For a man who enjoyed travel, spoke several languages, and loved public service, he couldn’t think of a better job.

On a sunny, late spring morning in 1953, his luck ran out.

Months earlier, President Eisenhower had issued an executive order that directed the firing of …

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