The Lavender Scare is the first documentary film to tell the little-known story of an unrelenting campaign by the federal government to identify and fire all employees suspected of being homosexual.
In 1953, President Eisenhower declared gay men and lesbians to be a threat to the security of the country and therefore unfit for government service. In doing so, he triggered the longest witch hunt in American history. Over the next four decades, tens of thousands of government workers would lose their jobs for no reason other than their sexual orientation.
But the actions of the government had an unintended effect. They inadvertently helped ignite the gay rights movement.
In 1957, after thousands had lost their jobs, a Harvard-trained astronomer named Frank Kameny became the first person to fight his dismissal. His attempts to regain his job evolved into a lifelong fight for the rights of LGBTQ people.
The Lavender Scare is a compelling story of one man’s fight for justice. And it is a chilling reminder of how easy it can be, during a time of fear and uncertainty, to trample the rights of an entire class of people in the name of patriotism and national security.
“A must-see for anyone – especially LGBTQ viewers who want to learn more about their roots. This film belongs on LGBTQ studies syllabi nationwide.”
WINNER OF 16 AWARDS FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY
"A gripping, nimbly assembled documentary... vivid, disturbing and rousing."
Los Angeles Times
"Fascinating and horrifying — and timely."
The New York Times
“An essential and absorbing documentary."
"The touching finale leaves you with a sense of resiliency."
San Francisco Chronicle
“The eye-opening documentary should be required viewing."
“Josh Howard’s powerful film makes sure we don’t forget this lamentable time in history.”
“Completely engrossing… the film delivers its impact with honesty and heart.”
Gay Desert Guide, Palm Springs
“An exceptional documentary, beautiful, carefully constructed and inspiring."