Bringing Back Those Loyalty Oaths

The biggest reason I supported Hillary Clinton in the election was her commitment to LGBT rights across the globe. President Barack Obama and his first secretary of state created the first administration to support our rights to simply be in the world. Obama and Clinton never wavered on that.

I think we can safely say that commitment will be gone come January 20, 2017.

No more protests about gay genocide in the Third World. AIDS funding will be cut to the bone, and no one will be taught to be fruitful and multiply safely or maybe multiply a little less, but safely in any event. Abstinence programs will be pushed, and evangelicals will preach to the Free World about how God hates gays with the fervor of the late Fred Phelps.


Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is already staking out the territory. He’s pressing for a thorough State Department purging of gays and our allies. He’s calculating he has a friendly ear at the White House and, particularly with Mike Pence in the room, it looks like he may be right. Maybe next we’ll have the House Un-American Activities Committee resurrected with an emphasis on Muslims and gays. Might be interesting as to how we define a fellow traveler now. Joe McCarthy is getting his long-lost vindication for his brand of politics.

Seeing the story on Perkins took me back to the 1980s and a client of mine when I was an investigator at the State Crime Victims Board. His first name was Ernie, and he was a gentle little man living at an SRO in Manhattan. One fine day, someone took an iron pipe and fractured his jaw, and when it healed it was misshapen. That someone did that because he didn’t like gay people.

We got to talking, and there was a lot to Ernie. Back in the late ‘40s, he graduated from Columbia University with a degree in East Asian Studies. Columbia was the place you went to for that credential at the time. But there would be no place for him in the Foreign Service for which he studied and strived. Dean Acheson and John Foster Dulles, who served Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, respectively, as secretaries of state, were not employing anyone who did not think that Chiang Kai-shek was a sainted Christian freedom fighter.

And if you met Ernie even briefly, you knew there was no closet he could have retreated to. More than three decades after Ernie left Columbia, a young man, then in his late 30s, met him and got to personally see what the effect of McCarthyism was. I’m now older than Ernie was at the time and – God help me and all of us – I now see the return of an evil enforced orthodoxy that is infecting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as well as both house of Congress.

Gays shared top billing with godless Communism back when I was a lad. Now, we are at risk for sharing it with Muslims and immigrants. If Tony Perkins and his ilk have their way, creativity of thought about how to defeat those who practice terrorism will not be tolerated: unless you support a rigid fundamentalist Christianity – with Orthodox Jews given honorary Aryan status, as an exigency, like the Japanese were by the Axis Powers during World War II – they’ll be no place for you working at Donald Trump’s State Department.

The stage is set and as we wait to see who all the assigned players are, Trump’s Cabinet picks offer me no hope. I do hope, though, that Ernie is dead; I know he wouldn't have wanted to live to see this.

Bruce Kogan, a retired investigator at the New York State Crime Victims Board, is a longtime LGBT activist in Buffalo and the former president of the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York.