The Fifties (1950 – 1959 CE)

1950

  • William H. Parker becomes chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. He makes stamping out homosexuality a priority for the city’s law enforcement.
  • Carlett Angianlee Brown — still living as a man — joins the Navy. A medical examination determines she is intersex.
  • lavender-rept-cover-lFebruary: Joseph McCarthy announces he has a list of Communists working in the Federal government — the list includes two homosexuals. The Red Scare and the Lavender Scare begin.
  • April 15: The Lavender Scare continues. The Republican National Chair Guy George Gabrielson claims that homosexuals are “perhaps as dangerous as actual Communists.”
  • May 10: The pilot version of the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) enacts its first program. Alan Turing is at Cambridge and not able to witness the event.

1951

  • October 8: Christine Jorgensen — partially through a series of gender confirmation surgeries in Europe — writes a letter to friends in the United States expressing how happy she is to be transitioning.

1952

  • Alan Turing begins a romantic relationship with 19 year old Arnold Murray. After a burglar breaks into Turing’s home, their relationship is discovered. Both men are charged with a crime.
  • Langston Hughes refers to Ma Rainey in his poem “Shadow of the Blues.”
  • March: The Lavender Scare continues. 162 United States Federal government employees are fired because they are suspected of being homosexuals.
  • March 31: Regina v. Turing and Murray goes to trial. Alan Turing is convicted, stripped of his security clearance, and put on probation and forced into hormonal treatment.
  • December 1: The New York Daily News puts Christine Jorgensen on its front cover, with the headline “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Bombshell: Operations Transform Bronx Youth”.

1953

  • Jole Bovio Marconi publishes her findings on the prehistoric rock art in the Addaura Cave. She believes one of the pictures is a homoerotic image.
  • Alan Turing completes a chess program for computers. The technology to run the program doesn’t exist, so he demonstrates with an actual chessboard.
  • Alfred Kinsey publishes “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female”.
  • April 27: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450 — officially banning homosexuals from being employed by the Federal government. The tactics of the Lavender Scare are heightened.
  • August: Carlett Angianlee Brown was scheduled to meet with Dr. Christian Hamburger in Berlin during this month — however, her plans went awry.

1954

  • April: Dale Olson — using the alias Curtis White — appears on an episode of “Confidential File” to defend homosexuality. It is the first time any LGBTQ+ appears on television to do so.
  • June 7: Alan Turing dies of cyanide poisoning.
  • June 19: Senator Lester Hunt commits suicide in his office after his son’s arrest for soliciting a male prostitute, and the viciousness of the Lavender Scare, ends his political career.

1955

  • Kurt Hiller returns to Germany.

1956

1958

  • The Florida Legislative Investigation Committee begins a localized Lavender Scare to drive homosexuals out of state universities.

1959

  • Christine Jorgensen becomes engaged to a man named Howard J. Knox, who loses his job as a result of the engagement. Their request for a marriage license is denied.
  • Althea Garrison moves to Boston.
  • May: Cooper’s Do-nut Riot.Cops attempt to arrest five LGBTQ individuals at Cooper’s Do-nuts in Los Angeles — when one of them objects to having five people shoved in the back of one cop car, a riot ensues.