Lavender Scare


  • NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has been named after James Webb, who ran the US space agency from 1961 to 1968, and allegedly had a role to play in the “Lavender Scare” at NASA.

What was the Lavender Scare?

  • The Lavender Scare was the marginalisation of LGBTQ employees working in the US government’s offices during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • It is often described as a “witch-hunt”, where those suspected of being from the LGBTQ community were fired from their jobs.
  • One such case was of NASA’s Clifford Norton, reported the Guardian.

    Lavender Scare
    Photo Credit: Indian Express
  • Norton was fired in 1963 for “immoral, indecent, and disgraceful conduct” after being interrogated for allegedly being a homosexual man.
  • The common perception at the time of those in the US administration, and in society at large, was that homosexuality and queerness were linked to a lack of morals or perversion.

Who was James Webb and what was his role?

  • James Webb, as the head of NASA during that period, is alleged to have played a role in the dismissal of LGBTQ employees for their identity.
  • In 2021, four astronomers in the US wrote about the demand for renaming the telescope in ‘Scientific American’.

Reference: IE

Visit Abhiyan PEDIA (One of the Most Followed / Recommended) for UPSC Revisions: Click Here

IAS Abhiyan is now on Telegram: Click on the Below link to Join our Channels to stay Updated 

IAS Abhiyan Official: Click Here to Join

For UPSC Mains Value Edition (Facts, Quotes, Best Practices, Case Studies): Click Here to Join

Leave a Reply