BOISE, Idaho — An all-female production crew is working on a documentary telling the story of ‘The Boise 7’.
In 1977, seven women — Mary Morris, Janine Townsend, Lavonne Woody, Vardell Laursen, Judith Baker, Theresa Silva, and Sue Krohn — were fired from the Boise Police Department for “suspected lesbianism.” The firing followed an internal investigation where the seven were wiretapped on a telephone used for personal conversations. The wiretap was later ruled illegal by a judge.
Mary Morris was Boise’s first female patrol officer.
Sue Krohn said her supervisor at the time called her into his office where he played a recording of a phone call between Krohn and another woman. The call was recorded on a phone designated for personal calls.
“I said, ‘What is this all about?’, and he said some of the women had been inappropriate, I think is the word he used at that time with me, at work so we’ve let them go, and I don’t think you’re a part of it, I don’t think you’re a lesbian, but you lived in the house with all these women and plus that phone call — you need to make a decision. Either you can quit, or we’ll terminate you.”
The story quickly garnered national attention. The women had to not only deal with being fired but also being publicly forced out of the closet.
“I couldn’t tell my parents, but I had to. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to tell them I was gay, that I was fired, and then my dad disowned me. He wouldn’t talk to me. It was too much. I couldn’t deal with that,” said Janine Townsend.