The Society's officially stated purpose was as vague as its name, saying simply that it aimed to "promote and protect the interests of people who by reasons of mental and physical abnormalities are abused and hindered in the legal pursuit of happiness which is guaranteed them by the Declaration of Independence." But the group's nature could only stay a secret for so long. Its vice president, unbeknownst to Gerber, had a wife, and when she heard what SHR was all about, she wasn't too pleased. She reported it to a social worker, who in turn reported it to the police. And so the police broke into Gerber's house (the group's headquarters) in 1925 and arrested him in the middle of the night.
The papers reported this raid under the headline "Strange Sex Cult Exposed." The group performed sex acts in front of children, said the media! (They did not.) Their newsletters encouraged men to leave their wives! (This too was false.) The police made sure to destroy all copies of the group's newsletters, declaring the publication to be an obscene work, and they confiscated Gerber's typewriter to make sure he couldn't write more of them.
At Gerber's trial, the prosecutor produced a powder puff found in his home as proof that he was gay. They'd apparently planted this, since Gerber never used powder puffs or makeup of any kind (shockingly, many gay men don't). The charges against him were finally dismissed on the grounds that the police hadn't had a search warrant, but this wasn't exactly a triumph of justice. It only happened because Gerber resorted to bribing the judge and prosecutor.
SHR remained shut down, the trial cost Gerber all of his savings, and he lost his job. But he did manage to reenlist in the Army, which is probably about as happy an ending as we were going to get here.
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