After two years of Freedom of Information Act requests and visits to the National Archives, at last we have uncovered the “suitability” files (“homosexuality”) of the Office of General Counsel (OGC) of the U.S. Civil Service Commission–the old Office of Personnel Management. These papers document decades of outrageous animus. We photocopied and have scanned more than 450 pages. We will be releasing them soon.
Rock Hudson with the Reagans, courtesy of the Reagan Library
Mattachine Society researchers discovered these Rock Hudson/Nancy Reagan documents at the Reagan Presidential Library, an illuminating 1985 time capsule from inside the Reagan White House. BuzzFeed did an amazing job reporting–worldwide–and providing the factual context. It is the Reagan White House nonchalance that galls us the most, in the midst of a raging epidemic. The Supreme Court should bear this kind of demonstrated animus in mind as they analyze the discrimination in same-sex marriage arguments.
When does a petition denied become a revolution? The answer is history’s judgment. Gay civil rights pioneer Frank Kameny, in 1961, was denied his day before the Supreme Court, and no one noticed. He read about his rejection in a one‐inch notice in the Washington Star. Kameny’s powerfully argued petition to the Court marked day one in a revolution of legal argumentation and law for a vast homosexual minority demanding equal citizenship. Read the document.
We discovered this gem of animus earlier this year at the Reagan Presidential Library: “I have opposed the notion that we should seek out a homosexual to be on your AIDS commission, for the following reasons…” (Memo, Bauer to Reagan, 1987, reprinted in Harper’s). So that no one forgets, we dedicate this message in a bottle from the Reagan White House to the coming World AIDS Day, December 1.
Eric and Inka Julber
Eric represented One Magazine before the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case One, Inc. v. Olesen (1958), helping secure free speech rights for homosexuals.
The U.S. Postal Service declared war on One in October 1954. When will the Postal Service release the documents? When will the Postal Service talk about what happened? The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. continues to file new Freedom of Information Act requests to uncover the deleted political history of LGBT civil rights.
No longer “immoral, infamous, scandalous and notoriously disgraceful.”
Charles W. “Charlie” Baker was fired in 1971 from his job at the National Bureau of Standards for being homosexual. The letter he received from the U.S. Civil Service Commission–sent to his parents’ house–was an outrage: “In view of the above described immoral, infamous, scandalous and notoriously disgraceful conduct, you are invited to show cause why you should not be disqualified from federal employment,” said the animus-drenched letter.
Charlie Baker, “scandalous” no more
Baker’s personal counsel was Frank Kameny who helped him get his job back after three years of litigation and a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge June Green. Green ruled to reinstate Baker with back pay, but upheld the right of the Civil Service Commission to discriminate, investigate and fire homosexuals if their homosexuality was directly related to job performance. Green miserably failed the test of history and let the brutal discrimination continue for years to come. This month, Baker returned to Washington to meet with the new Mattachine Society of Washington and our pro bono legal counsel McDermott, Will & Emery. He has come full circle and intends to “show cause” why Congress must act now on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Lilli Vincenz and Charles Francis with a crate of her historic films
From 16mm tins “bicycled” around the country for $30 rental fees to today’s Library of Congress digital global platform, Lilli Vincenz’ documentaries on the earliest gay rights demonstrations are now part of the “mainstream” American history. The two films, “2nd Largest Minority” (1968) and “Gay and Proud” (1971) were posted yesterday on the Library’s “Now See Hear!” blog of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. We look forward to seeing how schools and libraries across the country incorporate these films into their programs and teaching plans. Lilli was the first lesbian member of The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. and had the brilliance to shoot these two documentaries with a borrowed Bealieu and a vision of gay and lesbian history.