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tv   This Is Life With Lisa Ling  CNN  November 14, 2021 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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sadness around the short life of diana -- what could have been from this extraordinary woman that frankly we hardly know. ♪ >> i was always different. i had always this thing inside of me that i was going somewhere different. now more than ever, gay americans are free to be out and proud. ♪ amazing ♪ >> we're all away of the zaeks-long fight for moral acceptance of homosexuality. but i was shocked that at one time, gay people were believed to be a threat to the united
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states itself. there was a time in american history when people accused of being gay were literally purged from their jobs by government mandate. and it all happened during this period that i had never heard of called the lavender scare. >> if you stood up and said that you were a homosexual, that was the equivalent of saying, i'm un-american. >> tonight we meet americans whose patriotism was questioned because of what they did behind closed doors. >> we were taken to be interrogated because we were gay. >> and find families that are still reeling from a witch hunt our government never wanted us to know about. >> there's been a progression of it being illegal to be gay in the government. and it was my relative who led
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this whole thing. ♪ >> so we are in fresno, california, and i'm on my way to meet a woman who is part of a group that the united states government once considered one of the greatest security threats to our country. in the 1950s, america was gripped by the red scare. >> even if there are only one
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communist in the state department, that would still be one communist too many. >> soviet spies were feared to be blackmailing government workers, and the feds were on the hunt for traitors. but the woman i'm meeting isn't a spy or a traitor. helen is a 94-year-old farmer. you ware 94 years old and i'm seeing you running all over this farm and driving that big tractor. what is your secret? >> i drove tractors when i was in high school. i love the farm. i was my mom's little boy/girl. >> in the 1930s, they had a word for little girls like helen -- tomboy. >> i wore shorts, and you had to wear dresses then. and that wasn't easy for me. i hated going shopping. >> as a young person, do you think the thought ever even occurred to you that you might be gay?
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>> gay? i don't know if we were talking about gay then. i don't remember the word. >> helen just knew she wanted to do what the boys did, and once she got older, she found her chance. >> there are hundreds of important army jobs which women can perform as effectively as men. >> in 1948, women became full members of the armed forces. >> oh, yes, it's your war too, miss and mrs. america. >> what did the military mean to you as a young person? >> oh, god, i loved the military. it was always sort of a wish for me, and the first airplane ride i had was going to -- air force base and enlisting in the air force. we learned to march. i loved the marching. it was cool. precision marching and being all together, i loved the feeling. i loved being able to serve. >> starting in world war ii,
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droves of young americans left family farms and small towns to serve on military bases. helen enlisted in 1952. is that you? >> yeah, it's me. there were airmen from all over the country, from alabama and florida and california. >> the air force was an awakening for helen. at her base in new york city, she discovered she had romantic feelings for women, and she wasn't alone. did you have any girlfriends in the air force? >> i don't know. you know, certain ones of us were closer than others. i don't know if you would call them -- we were -- >> just girls you had fun with. >> right. >> but helen had little time for romance. it was the korean war. >> outnumbered by overwhelming waves of communists, the troops sought new positions in an effort to halt the red tide. >> in the air force, i was a
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radio operator. we were tracking all of the airplanes in the area around new york. and if there was an airplane off course, within five minutes, we had jets up there. >> what did it feel like to be part of the united states air force during that time? >> it felt important. it felt as though we were defending this country. >> but while helen searched the skies for foreign planes, our nation's leaders were on a hunt for a different kind of enemy. >> homosexuals, most of course are morally weak. >> the pervert is easy prey to the blackmailer. they're dangerous to this country. >> we had heard some news that in some of the other bases, they were, you know, looking for homosexuals. >> when did you get the sense that you were being followed? >> my friend and i went to get a sandwich, and we stopped along the road, and the air police came up behind us. and they asked us what we were
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doing there. >> back at the barracks, helen was cornered. >> the officer came in and told us that we were arrested, and the interrogation began. >> and what were you being interrogated about? >> about being homosexual. you were asked questions that were embarrassing. you know, what did you think about your sister? what did you think about your mother? how do you answer a question like that? they told me that i was a threat to the united states of america. i was being questioned about my allegiance to my own country. >> helen says the officers threatened to expose her if she fought the accusation, so she just signed the papers they put in front of her. it was 1955, and her military career was over. >> i had two dishonorable
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discharges and left the base. i had no help, no money. >> when did you tell your family about what had happened to you? >> i never did. >> never? >> i -- i couldn't talk to my mom. sorry. >> an estimated 100,000 soldiers have been discharged for homosexuality since world war ii. it's one of those shameful facts you won't find in older history books, but there's plenty of evidence that it really happened. i want to know why, so i'm meeting eric servini, author of the deviance war, the homosexual versus the united states of america. what's this? washington's growing homosexual menace. it's wild that that would be on a cover of a magazine or a
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newspaper. >> right? >> look at these headlines. 400 perverts in u.s. jobs here named. so they named the perverts. >> absolutely. if you were caught, then very often the entire community would know that you were a sexual deviant. >> i'm hoping eric can shed light on what happened to helen, how a gay witch hunt became national policy. can you paint the picture of gay life in the '50s? >> mm-hmm. >> what were same-sex relationships even called? >> you have to remember very few people were talking about homosexuality to begin with. there wasn't even a queer cohesive community at all. >> before the 1930s, ef femme nat men were derided as sissies and mostly overlooked. >> put that in the trunk and don't wear it. >> a lot of people had dual identities. it was perfectly normal to be
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married to a woman with kids but then also to have sex with men. >> but times were changing. a sex crime wave in the '30s stoked fears about perverts with hidden lives. then in 1948, a sexologist named alfred kinsey released a best-selling book that set those fears ablaze. >> the kinsey report was groundbreaking. he found that 37% of men had reached orgasm with another man. it was really the first time that we had quantitative proof that homosexuals were everywhere, but it helped contribute to this paranoia of something is wrong with our country. >> these explosive findings told people that the bedrock of american values was crumbling. at a time when the soviet union was threatening to throw a literal bomb on our heads. why was the cold war a reason for such panic and paranoia?
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>> this was the atomic age after america detonated the very first atomic weapon and used it in world war ii, we thought that we were invincible. but then suddenly in 1949, it comes to light that the soviet union had detonated its own atomic weapon. and so there was a huge panic that, you know, we're no longer on top, and someone within our government likely allowed this to happen. >> amid the confusion and fear, politicians saw an opportunity. >> the people know the democratic party is the people's party, and it always has been. >> the democrats had been in the presidency for almost 20 years. so the republicans were searching for ways to persuade the american public that
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actually democrats were losing control of the country. they were immoral. and then on february 28th, 1950, the state department admits that they had removed 91 homosexuals from federal employment. republicans leap on that, and they say, wait a second. why were these sexual deviants hired in the first place? >> a story was spun. gay americans might leak secrets to soviet spies who threaten to out them. the nation was hungry to root out evil from within, and just like that, a public enemy had been found.
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the year 1950 was a turning point when gay paranoia became a targeted federal campaign. >> so in 1950, the cia director testified in front of some members of congress, and he gave them some theories as to why homosexuals should not work in government. homosexuals experience emotions stronger than heterosexual emotions. homosexuals have psychopathic tendencies which affect the soundness of their judgment. homosexuals are extremely vulnerable to seduction by another pervert employed by a foreign power. homosexuals have a definite similarity to other illegal groups such as criminals, dope addicts, and so forth. this is congressional testimony here. in case it's not obvious, none of these theories have any scientific foundation. the cia director relied on folktales and stereotypes. >> there was this confluence of
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so many different illogical -- you have to say silly examples of why homosexuals weren't fit to serve. >> it was easy to scapegoat sexual deviants because they were already living this kind of underground life, right? >> right. it was very easy to make the comparison between the homosexual underground and the communist underground. >> a sphere of subversives grew, one senator stepped in to root them out. >> kenneth wary was a senator from nebraska. he was a longtime opponent of the democrats and the new deal, who leads a two-man investigation into these claims that there may actually be homosexuals throughout the federal government, and he calls it a national emergency. >> the first time i heard about my great-great-uncle was my grandmother. she would talk about her uncle
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kenneth. she would talk about his larger-than-life persona. >> garrett is senator wherry's great-great-nephew. as a child, he knew nothing about his uncle's role in the lavender scare. only that he'd been a powerful man on capitol hill. >> he has always been a revered person in my family. he was friends with nixon. he was friends with eisenhower. >> let every last one of us here and now rededicate ourselves to the cause of freedom. >> senator wherry went on a crusade against what he called moral perverts and pressured government agencies to follow his lead. >> wherry was on the appropriations committee, and so what he was able to do is create this fear within all the bureaucracies that if there were homosexuals and they weren't doing enough to root them out, then they would lose their funding. and so administrators started
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implementing new systems to purge sexual deviants from the government. >> it was senator wherry who fostered the idea that homosexuals were likely to be soviet spies and used his political power to kick-start the pervert purge. do you know how these investigations would be conducted? >> a lot of it was just based on pure allegation. >> say, charlie, got a minute? >> your co-worker would go to your boss and say, i heard my co-worker went to a gay bar, and so that other employee would be called in and told, we have information indicating that you're a sexual deviant. so you have two options. you can either resign quietly, and no one will ever know, or you'll have to be terminated, and this will be on your record forever. >> wherry's hard-line conservative values were shared by garrett's own family. >> i grew up in an evangelical christian upbringing.
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my dad was a pastor at the local church. i think it was a very strong source of pride in that side of the family being conservative, republican. >> but when garrett took up figure skating as a boy, people started to talk. >> at a very early age, i knew i was gay, and i knew that -- >> like how old were you when you kind of felt -- >> i mean i think i always knew. when i would go to church retreats, like it would come up, and i was just so scared of that vulnerability, that sense of being different. >> how did that make you feel as a child? >> a lot of shame, yeah. my greatest memories being on the ice are the times where i was alone in the rink. i could just put on music and
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not care what anyone thought. it was a place where i could be fully me. >> when garrett started skating professionally, his travels left him curious about his roots. >> i was in my mid-20s, and the thought just came to me, i don't know that much about my uncle. i just did, you know, a google search, and there was a paragraph that talked about kenneth wherry openly opposing homosexuality. >> so when you read that, tell me what went through your mind. >> it was a gut punch. >> garrett joined me in washington, d.c. to take a firsthand look at his uncle's legacy. we're visiting a place that became a prime target in the government crackdown on gay employees. so have you ever been here to lafayette park?
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>> i've never been, no. i know that this was a place where gays and lesbians came, and when wherry was doing his first investigation, he enlisted the police squad to go all over the city. and they found 3,700 moral pervert, as they called it, that worked for the federal government. >> do you ever think, garrett, that if you both were alive at the same time, that you would have been one of the people that your great-great-junckle, kenneth wherry, would have targeted for arrest or even worse? >> yeah, and that's painful. and i also think if i lived in that time, would i have had the courage to come out? and i wrestle with that too.
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i'm making a detour to austin, texas, to ask two siblings about a man who vanished from historical memory. who's that? >> that's my mom and dad at some political function. you know, all the way with lbj. >> it was the early '60s. the purge of gays and lesbians had become so routine, no one really questioned them anymore. beth and walt came of age then and lived like american royalty. so this is your 17th birthday party in the white house. >> in the white house, yes. >> okay. that's pretty cool. >> yes t is pretty cool. that's me posing with friends and with the president. va >> to beth jenkins with love, lyndon johnson. >> back then, i could drive up to the white house unannounced, tell the guard that i was there and i wanted to see my dad. who's your dad? walt jenkins. go on through.
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>> how would you describe the work that your dad did when you were little kids? >> well, he was the first assistant to congressman johnson, senator johnson, and then president johnson. they didn't have the title back then of chief of staff. >> right. >> he was the guy you had to get to, to get to johnson always. he was his right-hand man. >> johnson took office on the heels of a tragedy. president kennedy had just been killed. walter jenkins helped support the transition. >> the night that the johnsons moved into the white house, my parents invited them over for dinner. >> so your dad didn't just work for president johnson. you all were really good friends. >> yeah. >> my father's loyalty to lbj was 110%. >> outside work, jenkins was the beloved patriarch of a big, all-american family. what was the relationship between your parents like? >> it seemed normal to us. i mean --
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>> they seemed loving and kind to each other. >> had a lot of kids? >> very catholic. >> and we always had dinner as a family at the table. >> we'd go around the table, how was your day? how was your day? what happened with you today? >> other than the fact that dad was not always home for dinner. >> jenkins' role on johnson's staff meant he put in long hours. but in october 1964, just three weeks before the presidential election, beth found out that at night, her dad did more than work. >> i was in my first year of college, and that night the dean of women came to my room, which was weird. i mean it was a big university. she said dad was arrested in the men's room of a ymca. >> jenkins was caught at a public restroom having sex with a man. police stings were common during the lavender scare, but with the election close at hand, the papers had a field day. >> politicians debate how much
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this may amplify goldwater's cry of moral decay, what weight voters may give this event. >> did you feel shocked that your father -- >> oh, totally. >> -- was arrested for homosexual sex? >> oh, yeah. i never had an inkling of thought that my dad might be homosexual? >> i don't think i disbelieved it as much as was just stunned by it. i thought, he had six -- remember, i'm pretty naive. i thought, well, he has six kids. >> once the story broke, there was no question jenkins would have to resign. the blowback was so severe, he had to be hospitalized. when he was in the hospital, he was there for, what, extreme fatigue? >> nervous breakdown. >> nervous breakdown, okay. >> is what they said. and i think that it was probably horribly hard for him. >> after his arrest and resignation, jenkins moved the family back to texas, where he found work as a management consultant. so you never talked about
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sexuality? >> we never talked about it at all. >> it made him very, very uncomfortable. >> how did all of this affect your mom? >> her alcoholism deteriorated rapidly after they moved back here. of course this must have aggravated it. there's no question. but she stood by him. they did love each other at one point. >> a unified america will find no limit to its achievement. >> president johnson continued on to victory without walter jenkins. the two never appeared in public together again. but newly released audio reveals that behind closed doors at the white house, there was concern for a friend. it's a conversation that president johnson was having with the first lady about your father. >> okay. >> you've never heard this?
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>> no. >> no, i never have. >> can you hear me now? i would like to do two things about walter. when questioned, i'm going to say that this is incredible for a man that i've known all these years, a devout catholic, a happily married husband. >> i wouldn't say anything because then you will prove that you're part of it, everything else. you can't do that to the president, honey. >> i think if we don't express some support to him, we will lose the entire love and devotion of all the people who have been with us. >> god, wow. imagine the courage for the first lady to stand up to the president, defending a man who had just been disgraced.
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>> -- can't understand knowing it and approving it. >> how many talented public servants like walter jenkins, who might have helped shape our history. >> my poor darling, my heart breaks for you too. >> i know it, honey. >> and how many millions of dollars must have been wasted trying to keep them out. >> i pray for you along with walter. good-bye. >> i can't imagine what it must be like for you all hearing this. >> for the first time. >> yeah, about your dad. >> oh, it just tears your heart out. >> but you know what's also interesting is neither the president or the first lady -- they didn't condemn your father for what he had done. they were compassionate about it. >> mm-hmm. >> the first lady kept her word and wrote a statement in "the washington post" wishing jenkins well. at a time when gay people were seen as depraved, this small
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public gesture would resonate. soon defiant voices would question why a person's sexuality posed a risk to their country. those voices would multiply and ring out. hoenix is committing to create 400 scholarships this month alone. if you're committed to earning your degree, we're committed to making it accessible. because we believe everybody deserves a chance. and sometimes one chance is all it takes to change everything. see what scholarship opportunities you may qualify for at
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by the time president johnson's closest aide got caught with a man in the bathroom, the lavender scare had been going on for more than a decade. the '60s were in full swing. the sexual revolution had begun. was walter jenkins' resignation a turning point? >> it wasn't a national scandal on the dreg that you would have expected 15 years earlier. lbj still won in a massive landslide. the way some media outlets put it, america just shrugged its shoulders. they said, okay, let's move on. >> the public seemed less shocked by jenkins' sex life than the manner of his arrest? >> there were organizations like the aclu saying, why were these police officers spying in a public restroom? wait a second. are there police officers spying on me while i'm in the restroom? and so it's not a coincidence that only a few months later, there was the very first protest, picketing demonstration outside the white house in april
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of 1965. >> news cameras captured this groundbreaking event. a group of admitted homosexuals marching in broad daylight. their leader was a man named frank cameni, a harvard trained astronomer. >> he would have been one of the founding fathers of the american manned space program. but when the government found out that he was gay, despite his ph.d. despite his government service, he was purged. but unlike so many thousands of federal employees and military service members, he was the first to fight back. >> cameni sought to change how america saw the gay community. they weren't perverts or traitors. they were citizens. >> he coined the phrase "gay is good." this was a year before the stonewall riots, which we think of as the beginning of pride. and what's so remarkable is look at what they're wearing.
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frank cameni said, if you want to be employed, then you've got to look employable. so he instituted these dress codes, pulling from the black freedom movement. >> this person is obviously very buttoned up. he looks like he could be a government worker. >> exactly. >> anywhere. you think it was a big risk for these people to be out there openly trying to demand rights for homosexuals? >> absolutely because, remember, at the same time that they're demonstrating, photographers are also getting photos of their license plates, getting photos of who may have dropped them off. >> unbelievable. how long did the lavender scare go on? >> arguably it's continued until this very year. trans service members were not allowed to serve in the military under the trump administration. >> long after the tirades of mccarthy and wherry, the ban on gay people in civil service would continue until 1975.
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openly gay soldiers couldn't serve until 2011. even today, only 2% of members of congress identify as lgbtq. >> we continue to grapple with the legacy of the lavender scare, even in 2021. >> this is ritchie torres. in his childhood, a black man elected to congress was a rare thing. a gay black man was unheard of. >> i was raised by a single mother who had to raise three children on minimum wage, which in the 1990s was a mere $4.25 an hour. >> ritchie grew up in a housing project in the bronx, a dilapidated building across the street from $100 million golf course. >> i know what it's like to grow up in poverty. i know what it's like to face housing insecurity and food insecurity. >> when did little ritchie start to think he might be gay? >> so as a kid, i was in
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professional wrestle, and i had a crush on the rock. and at that point i realized i was gay. >> really? >> yes. >> how old were you? >> i was in middle school. >> i mean we all had a crush on the rock. >> yeah. >> why did you feel you needed to repress it? >> i grew up in the rough and tumble of the bronx and lived in fear of violence and bullying. >> being gay, black, and latino made it hard for ritchie to find where he fit in. >> i mean some people thought being gay was immoral, was an abomination was a word you often heard. but what affected me most deeply was the lack of visibility. there was no one i could look to as a role model, and so i chose to remain in the closet. >> and what was that like to hold that inside? >> it creates a crisis of self-doubt. i never went on dates. i never had moments of affection with a boyfriend. there were moments when i thought of taking my own life.
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>> ritchie threw himself into schoolwork, but his fears followed him. depression derailed his college career. but a desire to fight for fair housing gave him something to live for. in 2013, he decided to run for city council and face his fears head-on. >> there were political consultants who were questioning running as an openly lgbtq candidate because the bronx had never elected an lgbtq person before. >> ritchie's opponent was notorious for making homophobic remarks. >> i've said it before. i'll say it again. this is new york. city council is controlled by the gay community. >> but ritchie's mind was made up. he would run as a gay man. how did that feel to come out to the world? >> i felt -- you know, you can only live a lie for so long. in order to be fully human, in order to be fully self-actualized, you have to be honest about something as
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fundamental as your sexual identity. and not only did i win, but i won so decisively that i sent him into retirement. >> ritchie's community supported him for seven years in the city council. then in 2020, they sent him to congress. he's one of the first openly gay black representatives, the sort of role model he so deeply needed as a kid. >> none of us should be denied accommodations and services simply because of who we are and because of whom we love. we are equal by nature, and we ought to be equal by law. >> living here in washington, d.c., what is it like to be in this city where there was literally a witch hunt for gay people for many, many years? >> i feel deeply the weight of history on my shoulders. we have a long distance to travel before fully overcoming the legacy of the lavender
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scare. we have to understand where we've been and how far we've come, and we have to reckon with america's long and ugly history of persecuting the lgbtq community. feel stuck with student loan debt? (phone chimes) ♪ ♪ ♪ i jump up on the stage ♪ move your student loan debt to sofi. earn a $500 bonus when you refi... and feel what it's like to get your money right. ♪ i do my money dance ♪
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the downfall of walter jenkins in 1964 was the most widely reported scandal of the lavender scare. >> you want a president who wouldn't bother to find out if his closest advisers are security risks? >> in all the years since, the jenkins family never received any acknowledgement from washington, until now. so beth and walt, i'd like to introduce you to someone. this is congressman ritchie torres. >> hi, ritchie. nice to meet you. >> it's a pleasure to meet you. >> so you live in a better time than my dad did, right? >> i know a better world than your father knew. you know, i'm part of a long history, and many people had to suffer deeply and senselessly, and i'm just grateful that i can be who i am. i can be a member of congress because of the sacrifices that were made by people like your
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father. >> well, i think my dad would be extremely surprised and proud of -- of what's going on right now. >> we've made progress, but we also have a distance to travel. the mission is far we have to tell the story of the lgbtq community. people like frank and walter should be household names. >> appreciate you saying so. >> it's been hard to find records of victims after the arrests. many like walter left town and started over in new careers. some took their lives. too ashamed to tell families what happened. >> watch your step. you're going to love this. >> it's a hidden forest. >> a special few lived long enough to see justice done. including helen. >> at 90 years old you decided
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to sue. the united states air force. why? >> a friend of mine was in my office at one time. and she was a veteran. we talked a minute and i said i got a bad discharge. and she said you have to do something about that. >> 64 years after her arrest, helen finally received an honorable discharge. it made waves in the air force. she was put in the air and space museum. >> air force expelled lesbian in 1955. she fights back at 90. >> yeah. >> great headline. >> my daughter put this all together. >> your daughter? >> my daughter. >> helen changed course after the air force dismissed her. she moved out west. met a wonderful woman. and raised a family. practiced and taught physical therapy. . >> so this is picture of
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physical therapy class that was given to me. >> thank you for sharing your knowledge and friendship with us. all our love the jr.s. >> you were beloved. professor. >> i know. yeah. >> incredible. >> seeing helen's entire life laid out in front of us, i finally grasp how it must have felt to have the gaping hole at its center. a secret shame. she couldn't talk about. >> you wrote this. >> yes. >> my discharge form. stated that i was undesirable as though i didn't exist. the dog tag that i hold in this bronze hand signifies i in fact survived and did not die. >> the supreme court delivering an historic victory to the lgbtq community today in a 6-3 landmark ruling the nations highest court now says that employers cannot fire their workers for being gay. or transgender. >> in june 2020 the supreme
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court ruled gay and transgender workers are protected under the civil rights act. the clearest sign yet that the lavender scare is over. since then, dozens of state bills were introduced that would restrict the freedoms of transgender americans. all these years since the 1950s the core questions haven't changed. whose identity can we accept? whose humanity can we see? [laughing and giggling] (woman) hey dad. miss us? (vo) reflect on the past, celebrate the future. season's greetings from audi. ♪ lisa here, has had many jobs.
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she's worked in retail during the holidays. as a barista during rush hour. and a nanny to a couple of rambunctious kids. now, all that experience has led her to a job that feels like home. with home instead, you too can become a caregiver to older adults, with a career that makes a difference. ♪ apply today. ♪
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the cold war incited mass firings of gays and lesbians in the name of national security. so i had to ask eric, did they make us safer? >> was there ever any evidence that there was some plot by homo sexuals. to betray the united states government. >> absolutely not. the government at no point during the investigations could point to an american who had betrayed his or her country. simply because they were gay. >> how much of the lavender scare was just political? >> i think it was the perfect storm of the political with also pure an mouse and disgust. i think the lavender scare shows
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just how easy it is to find a scapegoat. and say, this group is a threat to the american way of life. and now someone like me who is a gay white guy who has the ability to get married. now it's my turn to stand up for my queer asian brothers and sisters. and for black transwomen who otherwise wouldn't have their voices heard. >> the fbi destroyed most of the files in the 70s. hundreds of thousands of pages on suspected gays and lesbians. many were civil servants or soldiers. patriots who fought for a country that didn't fight for them. >> there are a few memorials to people who lived through the lavender scare here in d.c. they are reminders to us to continue to try and educate ourselves and fight so that this doesn't ever happen again. >> it will be up to new lgbtq
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voices. to decide how this story is told. whether the lavender scare makes the history books at all. >> and we're going to raise hometown. i'm trying to answer a question for myself. i'm putting together an audio story. i'm tracing the life of senator wary. and i want to understand why he ultimately led this purge. >> it's a story o of a relative he never met. who waged a war on people like him. and a battle going down the generations over who belongs in america. >> i want to see the full picture. i want to bring to light that this was a black stain on american history. i have an allegiance to my family. in keeping some sort of legacy alive in my great great uncle.
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yet, my lgbtq family i owe it to them to talk about it. so let's take a step back. and learn about the period in history. called the lavender scare. hello, welcome to our viewers. joining us here in the united states and around the world. just ahead on cnn "newsroom." the stakes are high as xi jinping and president joe biden prepare for the first meeting. >> plus. protesters in cuba gearing up for peaceful demonstrations in the coming hours as u.s.


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