May 22, 2019 at 12:48 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
‘Lavender Scare’ to be shown in D.C. June 5
Frank Kameny, Lavender Scare, gay news, Washington Blade
Among those featured in ‘Lavender Scare’ is the late Frank Kameny. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

The award-winning documentary film “The Lavender Scare,” which tells the story of the little-known campaign by the federal government in the 1950s and ‘60s to identify and fire gay federal employees, will be shown for the first time in D.C. on June 5.

The 8 p.m. showing at the Avalon Theater at 5612 Connecticut Ave., N.W. will be followed by a panel discussion and a question-and-answer session with Lavender Scare filmmaker Josh Howard.

Also speaking will be gay historian David Johnson, the author of the book “Lavender Scare” on which the film is based; and former U.S. National Security Agency linguist Jamie Shoemaker, who became the first known gay NSA employee to be allowed to retain his security clearance and keep his job following an attempt by the agency to oust him.

Among those featured in the film is the late Frank Kameny, the D.C. gay rights pioneer who became the first known gay person to challenge the government’s decision to fire him for being gay in 1957.

The film has been credited with putting a human face on the consequences of a 1953 executive order by then President Dwight D. Eisenhower that declared homosexuals to be a threat to the country’s national security and unfit for government service.

Information on the availability of tickets for the one-time showing on June 5 can be obtained via

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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