Dismantling Straight Government


ACLS Fellowship Program


Political Science


Before the 1940s, actors in the federal government did not organize and direct anti-gay affect. But abruptly, from 1941 into the early 1950s, the politicization of homosexuality emerged and was institutionalized in Congress, the armed forces, the White House, and the Civil Service Commission, with far-reaching state and local repercussions. That legacy of exclusions has decisively ended with repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. What happened when? Why? And why have the exclusions finally been dismantled now? Through focusing on the courts, litigation, changes in major party dynamics, and public opinion, this project seeks to answer these questions—and in the process also capture the exceptionally interesting voices, claims, arguments, and conversations within this historical arc.