Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Mattachine Society of Washington now researches LBJ Library in Austin for history of gay purges in the 1960s


The Washington Blade, in the February 26 issue, run a long, booklet length historical narrative by Lou Chibbaro, Jr., “LBJ’s Gay Purge”.   The article complements the mammoth book “Hoover’s War on Gays” reviewed on the Books blog (Feb. 9).

Specifically, the article talks about the research of documents at the LBJ Library in Austin, TX, from the modern resurrection of the Mattachine Society of Washington, headed now by Charles Francis.
 
 The name from the original organization founded in the early 1960s by Frank Kameny.  The site is here  and I will certainly explore it a lot more.

The most famous sacking was that of Walter Jenkins, who ventured into a men’s room at the YMCA near the White House in 1964, when I was living at home and going to GW after my own William and Mary expulsion in 1961 and period at NIH in 1962. Jenkins stayed at GWU Hospital (the old building, where my own mother was a patient once) for “nervous exhaustion”, all of this

Another aide was Robert Waldron, eventually dismissed, though, as a bachelor, having a female companion for show (Jenkins was married with kids).



Civil Service head John Macy referred to homosexuals as “perverts”; Dean Rusk told Mike Wallace in that horrid portrayal “The Homosexuals” in 1967, “when we find homosexuals in the State Department, we discharge them.”  Presidential adviser Bill Moyers, who would go on to become a famous journalist on PBS (especially during the time I worked on my first book) was said to have posted bond for Jenkins.
 
I recall a conversation on an outdoor lawn when working at the old National Bureau of Standards in 1963 (at a site rebuilt as UDC now), a classmate from GWU (now a dermatologist in Boston), saying, “Oh, they don’t want homosexuals working for the government.”  And I would nod my head.

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