Coming to theatres today, Friday, June 7:
THE LAVENDER SCARE
qFLIX Philadelphia 2017
Virginia, Sun Valley, Frameline, Inside Out, LGBT fests in Sydney, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Rochester, Austin, Miami, and Palm Springs
A look back at the Cold War era panic over gays in the government.
In 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower declared war on homosexuals, specifically ordering their purge from the federal government. Motivated by fears over Communist espionage, the premise was that lesbians and gays, forced to break the law to indulge their desires, would be easy marks for blackmail by Russian agents seeking access to government secrets. The result was the destruction of careers, and in some cases lives, as explored through several brief profiles in Josh Howard’s serviceable if sometimes clunky project. While most individuals who were discriminated against had no choice but to go quietly, however, one man, astronomer Franklin Kameny, decided to fight back. Seeking redress for the injustice that ended his scientific career, he sought audience with any politician who might listen, and formed the Washington DC chapter of the gay rights activist organization The Mattachine Society. Howard provides viewers with a worthwhile history lesson about discrimination and resistance, particularly at a time of a present-day administration that is hostile to the victories won by LGBT people.