Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-05-13
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



New biography details secret gay life of Eisenhower advisor
by Jake Wittich

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450 in April 1953, effectively banning gay people from working in the federal government. While thousands of gay men and women lost their jobs in what's now known as the "Lavender Scare," one closeted gay man, Robert Cutler, sat atop the National Security Council, having helped draft the order.

Cutler's sexual orientation comes to light in a new biography, "Ike's Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler," by Peter Shinkle, Cutler's great-nephew. Shinkle, a reporter of 19 years at various news outlets, shared details of Cutler's dual life during a book talk Feb. 12 at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, 104 S. Michigan Ave.

Shinkle said he first learned of Cutler's secret sexual orientation in 2006 when asking his mom and aunt what they knew about their uncle.

"I was shocked," Shinkle said. "He was a friend and advisor of President Eisenhower in the 1950s, an era in which homosexuality was widely condemned. It was viewed as criminal, a disease, a dangerous sign of subversion and kept in the closet. Could it be true that a top aide to Ike was gay?"

Cutler was a retired brigadier general who served in the U.S. Army in World War I and World War II. Following Eisenhower's inauguration, Cutler proposed reform of the National Security Council, which Eisenhower approved, appointing Cutler as the nation's first ever National Security Advisor, Shinkle said. In this role, Cutler helped shape U.S. strategy during the Cold War.

According to Shinkle, Cutler got involved with the Eisenhower administration while on the campaign trail in 1942. He helped Eisenhower secure the Republican presidential nomination and was hired to write speeches and deal with other matters.

Shinkle said that during the campaign, Cutler met a young speechwriter and secretly gay man Steve Benedict, and the two became close friends. Shinkle said he met with Benedict in 2008 while researching Cutler's life, and Benedict gave Shinkle a set of Cutler's private diaries. Inside was the key to the family secret.

The diaries revealed that Benedict had introduced Cutler to another young gay man, Skip Koons, a former Navy intelligence officer who Cutler hired as a staffer for the National Security Council, Shinkle said. Cutler quickly developed romantic feelings for Koons, beginning "the greatest adventure of my life," he wrote.

Shinkle said his biography follows Cutler's secret life as a gay man and contributions to the Eisenhower White House, showing how the two stories were intertwined. For instance, Koons and Benedict eventually fell under investigation for homosexuality under the same executive order that Cutler helped draft five years earlier, Shinkle said.

"The ultimate lesson to be drawn from this sorry saga is that politicians may seize upon a vulnerable minority, drum up fears about them and use those fears to their own political advantage," Shinkle said. "Furthermore, even those who by reason of their personal or professional experience should know better, can stand by silently as tremendous wrongs unfold."

"Ike's Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler" was published on Dec. 4, 2018, by Penguin Random House and can be purchased online at .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

PASSAGES A tribute to H.G. Carrillo 2020-05-18 - Afro-Cuban writer/professor Herman "H.G." Carrillo ( known for his 2004 novel Loosing My Espanish, which deals with the experience of a Cuban immigrant ...

Gay News

Gerber/Hart Library hosts virtual panel on The 10% Show 2020-05-16 - The 10% Show was the focus of a May 13 virtual panel hosted by Gerber/Hart Library and Archives. A cable access Chicago-based LGBTQ ...

Gay News

Comedian Cameron Esposito's new memoir digs into queer liberation, Catholic upbringing 2020-05-12 - Cameron Esposito's new memoir, Save Yourself, is the story she needed when she was younger. The lesbian comedian tracks the story of her ...

Gay News

BOOKS New book explores life of astronomer-turned-activist Kameny 2020-05-12 - Dr. Eric Cervini—a Harvard and Cambridge-trained historian sometimes known as the "Hunky Historian"—reveals the secret history of the fight for LGBTQ rights that ...

Gay News

Autobiography reflects on heyday of Chicago LGBT media 2020-04-29 - Fort Lauderdale-based author Rick Karlin, a native Chicagoan who for many years wrote about food and entertainment, among other topics, for LGBT papers ...

Gay News

BOOKS Jen Manion talks 'Female Husbands' and writing process 2020-04-15 - In their new book, Female Husbands: A Trans History, Jen Manion illuminates the stories of people assigned female at birth who transed gender ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW An Indefinite Sentence: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex 2020-04-15 - Coming out was difficult enough. Even if everyone supported you and very little changed, you changed; still, though you had doubts and fear, ...

Gay News

Virtual reading of Terrence McNally work on April 16 2020-04-15 - In honor of Terrence McNally, who recently passed away at age 81 of complications from COVID-19, four actors—each participating from a remote location—will ...

Gay News

36th annual Printers Row Lit Fest put off to Labor Day weekend 2020-04-10 - CHICAGO ( April 10, 2020 ) Out of an abundance of caution, and prioritizing the safety and well being of its guests, authors ...

Gay News

Historians seek responses from LGBTQ people 2020-04-06 - Writers/historians St Sukie de la Croix and Owen Keehnen are again seeking responses—this time for a third volume of the Tell Me About ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.