It was Joan Cassidy’s life-long dream to join the Navy, following in the footsteps of just about everyone in her family — her father, mother, sister and brother. She not only joined, but rose to the rank of Captain. But when the government stepped up its drive to rid both the military and civilian agencies of gay men and lesbians, she feared the worst. If she was identified as a lesbian, she would receive a dishonorable discharge, and she couldn’t face the prospect of having to explain that to her parents. And so she made the most wrenching decision of her life: she resigned from the Navy.
But her love for the Navy couldn’t keep her away, and she would come back to fight another day. Captain Cassidy’s story is told in the upcoming documentary The Lavender Scare, a film that focuses on the government’s attempt to identify and fire all gay and lesbian employees. Over four decades, thousands and thousands of people lost their jobs; careers were ruined and lives were destroyed.
For more on the film, visit thelavenderscare.com.