In honor of Pride Month in June, the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD) partnered with glifaa (LGBT+ pride in foreign affairs agencies) to host a screening of the recently released documentary “The Lavender Scare” followed by a panel discussion and reception.
The film highlights the mass firings of gay and lesbian federal workers who were considered to be security risks because of their sexual orientation. Starting in the 1950s and continuing through the early 1990s, the risks were particularly acute at the Department of State, which gives the screening of this film added significance.
NMAD Public Affairs Officer Reva Gupta provided opening remarks, sharing the importance of such public programming in telling the diverse story and challenges of diplomats. glifaa President Liz Lee noted in her remarks that it was significant, considering this not-too-distant history, that this documentary was screened at the Department of State.
In a panel following the film, NMAD Associate Curator Katie Speckart, Liz Lee, and glifaa co-founder Jan Krc spoke about the creation of glifaa and how the era of the Lavender Scare will be presented in the museum. Mr. Krc also spoke about his personal saga of being fired from the Foreign Service in 1984 due to his homosexuality and his nearly ten-year legal battle to win back his job. He rejoined the Foreign Service in 1993 and retired in 2018.
For decades, a Department of State employee’s security clearance could be denied or revoked—effectively ending their careers— simply for their sexual orientation. Today there are countless LGBT+ employees, family members, and allies in U.S. foreign affairs agencies, roughly 1,000 of whom are members of glifaa, the employee affinity group that represents them. Developed…