State Department Apologizes for Decades of Anti-LGBTQ Persecution

John Kerry gave a formal apology on behalf of the State Department for decades of discrimination against LGBTQ employees.

During the time referred to as the Lavender Scare, the State Department systematically investigated and purged employees suspected of being queer. Thousands of people lost their jobs.

The Lavender Scare was kicked off by McCarthy’s Red Scare, as homosexuality and communism were thought to be linked.

Kerry’s statement, released Monday, read:

In the past — as far back as the 1940s, but continuing for decades — the Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire certain applicants in the first place. These actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today.

On behalf of the Department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm the Department’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBTI community.

The apology came in response to a call from many LGBTQ activist groups, including the Human Rights Campaign.