On 27 May 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order which ended the careers of gays in the US Public services. Executive Order 10450 authorized personal investigations by the FBI and Civil Service Commission for “sexual perversion” in all branches of the federal government. Some 800 homosexuals were fired or had resigned by 1955, and thousands more were hounded and banned from public service for decades to come.
Writing in The Huff, Charles Francis went to the Eisenhower Museum to see if he could get the background to the executive order which oddly does not get a mention in any of the major biographies of the man.
“The Eisenhower Museum’s version of events appears on a bright-red text board under the heading “Personal Freedom vs. National Security.” It reads, “Eisenhower believed that personal initiative and freedom lay at the heart of the American way of life.” Later it continues, “Eisenhower recognized that internal threats to American national security existed. … Investigators reviewed thousands of government workers deemed possible security risks, and dismissed around 1,500 between 1953 and 1957. Another 6,000 resigned rather than undergo often far-reaching questioning of their personal lives.”
I had found my answer. The Eisenhower Museum interprets the executive order by not mentioning the word “perversion.” The visitor must decode the phrase “questioning their personal lives.” LGBT Americans remain the invisible human wreckage. Newly declassified documents reveal that the “questioning” was a systematic, sometimes obsessive investigation, managed by Hoover himself, as part of the FBI’s “Sex Deviates in Government Service” program.”
Updated 18 November 2014: Photo resources are no longer available.