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Home U.S. How Naming the James Webb Telescope Turned Into a Fight Over Homophobia

How Naming the James Webb Telescope Turned Into a Fight Over Homophobia

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The controversy, in a thoroughly modern fashion, has become deeply personal. brought up baseless wrongdoing accusations from his time as a university professor.

Dr. Oluseyi, 55, came out of extreme poverty to complete his Ph.D. He earned a doctorate in physics from Stanford University and was the first in his family to graduate from high school. Many students at Florida Tech described him as an inspiring teacher with a vibrant voice and outsized personality.

But the last few years have been a tough road. He strongly denied his misbehavior as a professor and repeatedly urged reporters to question him about his past.

“Revolutionaries have become prosecutors,” Dr. Orsay said in an interview.

Webb, who died in 1992, cuts a complex figure. He worked with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to consolidate his NASA and bring in black engineers and scientists. In 1964, after Alabama’s segregationist Governor George Wallace attempted to block such recruitment, Mr. Webb allegedly poached top scientists and executives from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. threatened.

But 15 years earlier, as undersecretary of State under the Truman administration, Mr. Webb faced a variety of pressures. The Right, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, sought to dismantle the legacy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In attacking the State Department, they targeted employees they claimed to be communists and what they called “perverts,” namely gay Americans who came to be known as Lavenderphobia. I tried to find it.

Professor of History at the University of South Florida and author of The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Federal Lesbians. ”

“Then it turned into a moral panic,” he added.

These were miserable times. In 20 years, between 5,000 and 10,000 of his gay employees were exiled from the government, ruining their careers and lives.

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