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 2019-03-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos 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

NATIONAL Couples' eviction, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, dancer sentenced 2019-03-20 - A lesbian couple filed a complaint against the transitional housing facility they once called home after they were forced out, LGBTQ Nation reported. ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls 2019-03-17 - By T Kira Madden $27; Bloomsbury Publishing; 304 pages Anyone who came of age in the late 1990s and early 2000s ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Dugan's Bistro and the Legend of the Bearded Lady 2019-03-15 - By Owen Keehnen $17; Out Tales, Publishing; 148 pages Bob Theiss contained multitudes—most under a completely different name. Known as the Bearded ...

Gay News

Clarence Darrow Symposium in Chicago on March 13 2019-03-13 - CHICAGO—The annual Chicago tradition marking the anniversary of the death of famed Chicago attorney Clarence Darrow will take place Wed., March 13—and will ...

Gay News

Gerber/Hart hosts Black Lesbian Archives stop 2019-03-12 - Kru Maekdo is a 26-year-old creative director, archivist, and artist. She is the owner of Maekdo Productions, a multimedia production and event programming ...

Gay News

BOOKS Chicago author talks space opera, queer representation 2019-03-09 - Chicago author/Hollywood stuntwoman SL Huang ( author of the science-fiction novel Zero Sum Game ) has recently teamed with fellow authors Becky Chambers ...

Gay News

BOOKS Kimberly Dark's 'Daddies' issues 2019-03-08 - Writer and raconteur Kimberly Dark plucks the fig leaf off the patriarchy in her latest work. In The Daddies, writer and raconteur Dark ...

Gay News

BOOKS Sissy Pride, Talking With Gender Activist and Author Jacob Tobia 2019-03-07 - Sissy: A Coming of Gender Storyis a smart, compelling, honest and very funny new memoir by Jacob Tobia. In the book, the ...

Gay News

Women & Children First March events include noted authors 2019-03-06 - Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. Am I Man Enough? Storytelling Show & Podcast ( This is the rescheduled date due ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Tyler Blackburn, Ellen Page, Isaac Mizrahi, Annie Lennox 2019-03-06 - Former Pretty Little Liars actor Tyler Blackburn recently talked with Entertainment Weekly about the same-sex relationship his character, Alex, has on the new ...


Copyright © 2019 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 Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos 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.