Queer Places:
Cook-Walden Capital Parks Cemetery and Mausoleum Pflugerville, Travis County, Texas, USA

Image result for Walter JenkinsWalter Wilson Jenkins (March 23, 1918 – November 23, 1985) was an American political figure and longtime top aide to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Jenkins' career ended after a sex scandal was reported weeks before the 1964 presidential election, when Jenkins was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct with another man in a public restroom in Washington, D.C.

Jenkins was born in Jolly, Texas, and spent his childhood in Wichita Falls, Texas. There he attended Hardin Junior College and then spent two years at the University of Texas, though he did not earn a degree.[1] In 1945, following his discharge from the Army, he converted to Roman Catholicism and married Helen Marjorie Whitehill.[1]

Jenkins and his wife had six children, four boys and two girls.[1] They separated in the early 1970s but never divorced. She died in 1987.

Jenkins began working for Lyndon B. Johnson in 1939 when Johnson was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives as the member from Texas's 10th congressional district. For most of the next 25 years, Jenkins served as Johnson's top administrative assistant, following Johnson as he rose to become a Senator, Vice President under John F. Kennedy, and President.

A month before the 1964 presidential election, on October 7, District of Columbia Police arrested Jenkins in a YMCA restroom. He and another man were booked on a disorderly conduct charge,[4] an incident described as "perhaps the most famous tearoom arrest in America."[5] He paid a $50 fine.[6] Rumors of the incident circulated for several days and Republican Party operatives helped to promote it to the press.[7] Some newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Cincinnati Enquirer, refused to run the story.[8] Journalists quickly learned that Jenkins had been arrested on a similar charge in 1959,[9] which made it much harder to explain away as the result of overwork or, as one journalist wrote, "combat fatigue."[10]

After leaving Washington, Jenkins returned to Texas and lived the rest of his life in Austin, where he worked as a Certified Public Accountant and management consultant and ran a construction company. He died in 1985, at the age of 67, a few months after suffering a stroke.[38]

A made-for-television film, Vanished, loosely based on the Jenkins resignation, aired in 1971.[39]

The Tony-award winning play and HBO docudrama, All the Way, that aired on May 21, 2016, about President Lyndon Johnson's first year in office from the Kennedy assassination on November 22, 1963 through the 1964 election on November 3, depicts the 1964 scandal involving Jenkins.


  1. New York Times: "Storm Center in Capital," October 16, 1964. Retrieved November 13, 2010
  2. Al Weisel (December 1999). "LBJ's Gay Sex Scandal". Out Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-07-11. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  3. New York Times: "Johnson Gives Wife, 51, Gift that Helped Him to Win Her," December 23, 1963. Retrieved November 13, 2010
  4. White, 367; Time: "The Jenkins Report," October 30, 1964. Retrieved November 15, 2010
  5. Laud Humphreys, Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1974), 19
  6. Perlstein, 489
  7. Dallek, 181
  8. White, 367
  9. Dallek, 179, 181. The FBI had reported the 1959 arrest in April 1961,
  10. Perlstein, 490. The journalist was William White.
  11. White, 368
  12. Fortas later emphasized that at the time he did not know the validity of the morals charge against Jenkins. The New York Times: "Fortas Asserts Police Need Time to Question Suspects," August 6, 1965. Retrieved November 13, 2010
  13. White 369
  14. Perlstein, 491
  15. Evans and Novak, 480
  16. White, 369-70
  17. Dallek, 180
  18. White, 367. Dallek evaluates various claims that Jenkins was set up and dismisses them. Dallek, 180-1
  19. Thomas W. Benham, "Polling for a Presidential Candidate: Some Observations on the 1964 Campaign," in Public Opinion Quartery, v. 29 (1965), 192
  20. Updegrove, Mark (2012). Indomitable Will. Random House. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-307-88771-9.
  21. New York Times: James Reston, "Setback for Johnson," October 15, 1964. Retrieved November 13, 2010
  22. Dallek, 181; White 371
  23. "Goldwater Says Morality is Demanded by the Nation". The New York Times. October 15, 1964. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  24. Dallek, 178; White, 369
  25. New York Times: E.W. Kenworthy, "Goldwater Asks F.B.I. to Explain Check on Jenkins," October 20, 1964. Retrieved January 24, 2011
  26. Perlstein, 493
  27. New York Times:James Reston, "Washington: Barry Goldwater Examples of Morality," October 23, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010
  28. New York Times: Charles Mohr, "Johnson Refers to Jenkins Case," October 298, 1964. Retrieved November 13, 2010
  29. New York Times: Gladwin Hill, "Miller Asks Data on Jenkins Case," October 16, 1964. Retrieved January 24, 2011; The New York Times: Wallace Turner, ""Miller Stresses the Jenkins Case," October 22, 1964. Retrieved January 24, 2011
  30. The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon): Drew Pearson, "Homosexuality bipartisan problem in U.S. capital," October 19, 1964. Retrieved November 13, 2010
  31. Michael Beschloss, Reaching for Glory (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2001), 98
  32. Johnson's San Diego comment is discussed briefly at Evans and Novak, 481
  33. TIME: "Johnson & the Jenkins Case," November 6, 1964. Retrieved January 18, 2011
  34. New York Times: "Jenkins Defended by Mental Group," October 22, 1964. Retrieved November 13, 2010
  35. Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary (University of Texas Press, 1970), 204
  36. C. David Heymann, The Georgetown Ladies' Social Club: Power, Passion, and Politics in the Nation's Capitol (NY: Atria Books, 2003) 47
  37. New York Times: "Air Force Reserve Accepts Walter Jenkins' Resignation," February 3, 1965. Retrieved November 13, 2010
  38. Barnes, Bart (1985-11-26). "LBJ Aide Walter Jenkins Dies". The Washington Post. p. C4.
  39. Internet Movie Database: [Vanished (TV 1971)"]. Retrieved November 13, 2010