50 years on: remembering the first LGBT picket of the White House

How better to commemorate the first LGBT civil rights protest in front of the White House–50 years ago today–than by opening up the personal papers of John Macy, former head of the U.S. Civil Service Commission, still sealed up in the LBJ Presidential Library.

In an animus-drenched 1966 letter to the Mattachine Society of Washington D.C., Macy wrote:

“Pertinent considerations here (for maintaining the ban on homosexuals in government) are the revulsion of other employees by homosexual conduct and the consequent disruption of service efficiency, the apprehension caused other employees by homosexual advances, solicitations or assaults, the unavoidable subjection of the sexual deviate to erotic stimulation through on-the-job use of common toilet, shower and living facilities, the offense to members of the public who are required to deal with a known or admitted sexual deviate.”

Despite Macy’s role in continuing federal persecution and humiliation of gays and lesbians, his papers are not subject to FOIA requests because Macy donated them to the National Archives before the passage of the Presidential Records Act of 1978. According to the LBJ Presidential Library, 47 linear feet of Macy’s papers remain sealed and unprocessed–containing volumes of LGBT political history waiting to be told.

Read more about the new Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.’s archive activism in MSDC President Charles Francis’ latest opinion piece, published today in the Washington Blade.