URLF Project: PromotingQueerLiteracy

1940's and 50's

The 1940's and 50's brought a time of simultaneous growth and harassment to the queer community. Queer people across Europe were rounded up by Nazi's and sent to concentration camps for their "deviant" behavior. Upon liberation of the camps, many queer people continued to be imprisoned by American and Soviet forces.
The war effort also represented a massive congregation of men from across the country in forts, barracks and squads, and the enlistment of women into the workforce in condensed social areas allowed gay men and women, who previously had felt totally alone in the world to discover others like them. Following the war, many queer service men and women entered into public service leading to a large population existing in Washington D.C., New York City, San Francisco, and other major metropolitan areas.
In the 50’s with the development of the Red Scare, conservative politicians used queer civil servants in the state department as an indicator of moral corruption and danger to national security, as queer people were viewed as inherently untrustworthy. This lead to the Lavender Scare that resulted in mass firings and the black-listing of queer people from government work.
From this, the nascent Queer rights movement was formed as disgraced queer people with nothing to lose began campaigning for equal protection under the law.

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