🏳️‍🌈 Gayskool: Naval Gazing

Hey, did you know that Judy Garland was indirectly responsible for a multi-year taxpayer-funded anti-gay witch-hunt? Not only is this story true — it’s also hilarious!

Back when it was dangerous to come out of the closet, introducing yourself as a “friend of Dorothy” was a surreptitious way of letting other people you know you were gay.

Dorothy, of course, was a reference to Dorothy Gale, the character Judy Garland played in the Wizard of Oz.

Other LGBTQ people knew exactly what the reference meant; straight people had no idea.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Naval Investigative Service connected some of the dots — that “friends of Dorothy” were gay men — but not all the dots. They were clueless about the Wizard of Oz connection. They believed there was a real woman named Dorothy running a cabal of gay military personnel.

Needless to say, the investigation went nowhere and was eventually called off. The whole thing got swept under the rug till Randy Shilts wrote about it in “Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military.”

Dorothy is presumably still at large, and the cabal was able to complete its secret mission: weaponizing brunch.