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Why Lavender?

This website is named the Lavender History Project to honor LBGTQ+ historic and present-day activists who fought for social acceptance and legal protection for queer people. The color lavender has been reclaimed from its derogatory history. Gay people were targeted during the McCarthy era in the 1950s when the people of the United States were accusing each other of belonging to the Communist party. The paranoid culture of McCarthyism extended to the mass firing of gay people, known as the Lavender Scare, who worked for the federal government and was legal under Executive Order 10450. Later in the 1960s, the women’s liberation movement helped give lesbian women a platform for their activism. Since many feminists were openly homophobic, such as Betty Friedan, lesbian women labeled themselves as the “lavender menace” in order to fight the homophobia they suffered.

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