Helen James – Fighting Against USAF Discrimination of LGBTQ People

Check out the fascinating new blog from Patti Williams, archivist at the National Air and Space Museum. She has recently obtained and made available an interesting collection of material from Helen James. In the 1950s, Helen James was a radio operator and crew chief in the USAF, but was arrested and discharged as part of the “Lavender Scare,” a sweep of anti-gay sentiment in the U.S. which resulted in the mass dismissal of gay and lesbian government employees. In recent years, Helen James fought back against her dishonorable discharge. You can read more about her story here, and for an even deeper dive, you can look at her archival collection online here, and go through her photo scrapbook.