Author, The Lavender Scare
A nationally recognized authority on gay and lesbian history, David K. Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of South Florida.
His first book, The Lavender Scare, is based on years of research in the National Archives, dozens of interviews with former civil servants, and newly declassified government files. It is the first scholarly work to document the powerful personal stories of the gay and lesbian Americans who became scapegoats in the Cold War hysteria over national security.
The Lavender Scare was honored with a Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, the Herbert Hoover Book Award (recognizing the best scholarly work on twentieth century U.S. history), and the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award (honoring works focusing on human rights).
David's research has been used to support the arguments of gay rights advocates in several court cases, including Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark Supreme Court decision that struck down laws prohibiting certain sexual acts by consenting adults that was mainly enforced against gay people. More recently, his work was used as supporting evidence in the Proposition 8 trial in California.
David earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Northwestern University. He has held fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, the Social Science Research Council, and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York.
His second book, The U.S. Since 1945, is an edited anthology of key speeches, articles, and government documents from modern American politics and culture. His current book project, Buying Gay, explores the history of gay consumer culture before Stonewall and the origins of the gay rights movement.