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Arts & Culture

Criminal: Lavender Scare

A drawing by Julienne Alexander
Julienne Alexander
The Lavender Scare was a period during the Cold War when hundred of military and federal personnel were outed and fired for being homosexual.

In the 1950's, men and women in the military across America were given dishonorable discharges after being outed as gay. It was called the Lavender Scare.

Helen James was serving in the U.S. Air Force when she realized that she was being investigated. The results of that investigation would change the course of her life.

"It wasn't okay to be gay or lesbian. An you could be outed and compromised by the enemy so to speak, and tell any secrets that we had," James told host Phoebe Judge. "You know, we were just considered to be a threat to national security. So they wanted us gone."

Criminal is recorded at WUNC.

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