So many characters in 1960s sitcoms had a Terrible Secret which, if uncovered and made public, would have Disastrous Consequences: loss of livelihood, loss of position, loss of acceptance in society.

Fortunately, no 1960s sitcom character was actually a card-carrying Communist. No, the secret was something less political: a witch, a genie, a martian, a talking horse, an angel, a ghost, a talking car, a robot. etc.

Above: Ray Walston in a publicity photo for My Favorite Martian (CBS, 1963-1966).

Gladys Bentley (August 12, 1907 - January 18, 1960), c. 1930. Gladys Bentley, who was born one hundred and nine years ago today, built her singing career billed as a black, lesbian, cross-dressing wonder in the 1920s and 1930s. During the Prohibition era, Bentley’s performances at Harlem’s gay speakeasies–usually backed by a chorus line of drag queens, with Bentley donning her trademark white coat and tails–were infamous. An open lesbian for most of her life and throughout her career, Bentley claimed to have been “cured” of her homosexuality as the McCarthy era began; she married a man (though he later would deny the marriage ever officially took place), studied to be a minister, and wrote an essay for Ebony magazine called “I Am a Woman Again.” Gladys Bentley died of pneumonia on January 18, 1960; she was fifty-two. #lgbthistory #lgbtherstory #lgbttheirstory #lgbtpride #QueerHistoryMatters #HavePrideInHistory #GladysBentley

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On this day in History December 2, 1954: The United States Senate has censured Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy by a vote of 67 to 22, with all the Democrats and about half the Republicans voting against him. He was censured for conduct unbecoming to a senator.

The investigation into McCarthy was undertaken by The Watkins Committee, chaired by Republican Senator Arthur Watkins which deliberated from August 31 until September 13.The charges included:

  • Contempt and abuse of a Senate committee that looked into his financial affairs in 1952
  • Insulting members of this committee on national television thereby bringing the Senate “into dishonour and disrepute” and obstructing the constitutional process.

The lynchpin was the manner in which McCarthy attacked both Secretary of the Army Robert T Stevens and General Ralph Zwicker in a hearing about espionage at Fort Monmouth Army base in April of the same year. 

This was the beginning of the end of the McCarthy era. McCarthy himself would pass away from cirrhosis of the liver September 1, 1957.

For Further Reading:

“#OnThisDay in 1971, Congress designated August 26th as Women’s Equality Day, an effort spearheaded by Bella Abzug. The daughter of Russian immigrants, Abzug became involved in community and student government as a young woman. She attended Hunter College and Columbia University and became a lawyer, specializing in civil rights and liberties cases. 

During the McCarthy Era, Abzug was one of the few attorneys willing to stand up to the House Un-American Activities Committee. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1970, and was able to bring attention to many liberal initiatives. Abzug was unsuccessful in her subsequent bids for elected office, but she served as co-chair of the National Advisory Committee for Women in 1978. She also founded a number of other political action organizations, including the National Women’s Political Caucus.” 

(Photo Credit: Library of Congress)  

As seen on the  National Women’s History Museum Facebook page

Happy Women’s Equality Day everyone! 



Women’s Equality Day is on this date because of the celebration of the passing of the 19th Amendment.

Don’t waste all the work that went into getting women  the vote - U.S. READERS REGISTER TO VOTE HERE

If you have trouble getting to the polls physically, or can’t take the day off, YOU CAN DO AN ABSENTEE BALLOT, you can usually mail your vote in advance!


On This Day in History May 31, 1957: Writer and Playwright Arthur Miller was found guilty of contempt of Congress. The charge of contempt came in relation to an investigation by the House of Representatives’ Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) into a Communist conspiracy to misuse American passports. 

While Miller (who was married to actress Marilyn Monroe) was cooperative with HUAC during the hearing on June 21, 1956, especially when concerning his own personal dealings with Communists, he refused to divulge any names of those writers who attended meetings and activities related to the Communist Party. Why did he refuse to give any names? Very simply, Miller was quoted as stating: “I could not use the name of another person and bring trouble on him.”

After appealing the charge of contempt of Congress, Miller had the charged quashed on August 7, 1958 by Washington’s Court of Appeals. 

For Further Reading:


Edward R. Murrow on Senator McCarthy, from See It Now, March 1954.


Okay, here’s the deal with “Traveler."  I already have a thing for this period of history and so my opinion in no way can be trusted, but I thought they did a fabulous job on this one. It’s deliciously disturbing to see how far back the conspiracy goes, and some of the motivation behind it. Mulder’s father being in on it— we sort of knew but hadn’t really seen in flashbacks— was just icing on the cake, which was already chock-full of McCarthy being in on it.

Oh, and David Moreland, the man who played Roy Cohn— magnificent job, sir.

Grandpa Walton, AKA Will Geer - Artist Unknown - Photo by Laura

In the 1950s, Will Geer moved his family to Topanga Canyon to escape the evils of McCarthy era persecution in Hollywood. Once there, he began what eventually became the Theatricum Botanicum, an open air theatre complex surrounded by gardens and the magical woods of the Santa Monica mountains. The “secret garden” served as safe haven for his family, as well as other notables, like musician and union organizer Woody Guthrie. Today, in addition to staging summertime Shakespeare and other great plays for Los Angeles theatre lovers, the Theatricum staff, headed up by Geer’s descendents, offers dramatic arts education to children throughout the city, helping ensure that true theatrical freedom of expression remains alive for generations to come.

(PS - this photo is a bit unfocused - my apologies for that:)

someone just compared trans people escaping and stigmatizing terfs to McCarthy era, the red scare, anti communist. tell me the next time the trans people rise up and start to imprison people for being terfs. like you guys aren’t being hated for some arbitrary economic models…. you’re being hated for treating people like they aren’t people. that’s gross.