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Making Gay History

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Paulette Goodman

Paulette Goodman’s experience of growing up as a Jewish child in Paris during the Nazi occupation gave her a unique perspective as the parent of a gay child who faced discrimination in the country where Paulette’s family sought refuge. Paulette knew what it meant to be different, to be demonized, and to have your life threatened because of who you were. And she brought all that experience to bear in her work with PFLAG (formerly known as Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and...

Duration: 00:21:13

Morris Kight

Morris Kight was a whirling dervish champion of LGBTQ civil rights. He cut his activist teeth in the labor, civil rights, and anti-war movements, and from 1969 on brought all his passion to bear on catapulting himself and L.A.’s gay liberation efforts onto center stage.To learn more about Morris, have a look at the information, links, photographs, and episode transcript that follow below. Mary Ann Cherry, Morris Kight’s biographer, maintains a website about Morris. There is also a Morris...

Duration: 00:19:27

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin were the originals. With six other women, they co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis - the very first lesbian organization in the US. DOB seems tame and timid today, but in 1955 it was risky and radical for a fearful time. Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin’s papers are housed with the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco . Find an overview of the collection here. Watch a trailer for It’s No Secret Anymore: The Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. The 2003 film...

Duration: 00:21:57

Larry Kramer

Until 1981, Larry Kramer was best known for his Academy Award-nominated screenplay for “Women in Love” and Faggots, his controversial novel about New York City’s gay subculture in the post-Stonewall 1970s. And then he picked up the New York Times on the morning of July 3 and read about a rare cancer found in forty-one gay men. It was in that moment that Larry Kramer was—to quote gay rights champion Frank Kameny—radicalized. Larry went on to co-found GMHC (originally known as the Gay Men’s...

Duration: 00:23:10

Deborah Johnson & Zandra Rólon Amato

In 1983, Deborah Johnson and Zandra Rólon Amato went to a Los Angeles restaurant for what was supposed to be a romantic dinner. Instead they wound up in court, and won. Represented by Gloria Allred. their landmark discrimination case has particular resonance today, as a growing number of Americans claim they have a legal right to discriminate against LGBTQ people, most famously in the case of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, which you can read about here.

Duration: 00:18:56

J.J. Belanger

You may know his face from an iconic 1953 photo booth photo. But there’s a full life’s story behind that photo that includes love, heartbreak, Alfred Kinsey, and fighting for trans rights.

Duration: 00:21:41

Ellen DeGeneres

Everybody loves Ellen. But that wasn’t always so. When she came out on screen and in real life the backlash was fierce and her future cast in doubt. In this 2001 interview hear a beloved icon at a crossroads.

Duration: 00:25:40

Perry Watkins

Sergeant Perry Watkins played by the rules. The U.S military did not. Drafted in 1968, he was thrown out fifteen years later despite his honesty and stellar record of service. He fought back and won.

Duration: 00:21:12

Sylvia Rivera Part 2

Welcome back to Sylvia’s kitchen, for the second part of a never-before-heard interview from 1989. Pull up a chair for a conversation with the Stonewall veteran and trans rights pioneer who reflects on a life of activism while she cooks a pot of chili.

Duration: 00:18:34

Season Three Preview

We’re back with more stories from queer history as told by the people who lived it. Drawing on decades-old archival audio tape, you’ll hear intimate, personal interviews with LGBTQ civil rights pioneers.

Duration: 00:03:41

Edythe Eyde's Gay Gal's Mixtape

Already a visionary with her pioneering lesbian 'zine Vice Versa in the 1940s, "Gay Gal" Edythe Eyde broke the mold again when she started singing positive ballads and gay-friendly parodies in LA's gay clubs in the 1950s.

Duration: 00:12:53

Rewind: Sylvia Rivera

Season 3 arrives Oct 22nd! While you wait, here's another chance to hear trans icon, and Stonewall uprising veteran Sylvia Rivera relive that June 1969 night in vivid detail and describe her struggle for recognition in the movement.

Duration: 00:10:28

Tom Cassidy

CNN business anchor Tom Cassidy kept his “private life” strictly separate from his public life. Three decades ago he had to. But then he was diagnosed with AIDS.

Duration: 00:22:51

Joyce Hunter

Joyce’s childhood and adolescence were stolen from her. Determined to keep that from happening to other LGBTQ youth, she survived years in an orphanage, suicide attempts, and a brutal anti-gay attack to change the lives of countless of young people.

Duration: 00:22:05

Smith and Donaldson

Four years before the 1969 uprising at NYC’s Stonewall Inn, a San Francisco confrontation between the police and that city’s LGBT community proved a turning point. Gay attorneys Herbert Donaldson and Evander Smith were among the night’s heroes.

Duration: 00:21:44

Gittings and Lahusen

When the Stonewall uprising upended the 1960s homophile movement, Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen refused to be put out to pasture. They brought all their passion, humor, and determination to the gay lib ‘70s and showed the youngsters how it was done.

Duration: 00:19:50

Herb Selwyn

Herb Selwyn never hesitated to stick his neck out for others. That included gay people at a time when other straight attorneys cashed in on the persecution of homosexuals and gay attorneys were too frightened to represent a despised minority.

Duration: 00:21:32

Morris Foote

On November 2, 1955, when 30-year-old Morris read on the front page of the newspaper that Boise police were rounding up and arresting gay men, he did the only thing he could think of. He ran. He didn't feel safe setting foot in Boise for the next 20 years.

Duration: 00:16:46

Jean O'Leary - Part 2

Jean O’Leary had a vision for the national LGBTQ civil rights movement. On March 26, 1977 she led the first delegation of lesbian and gay activists to the White House. And in 1988 she co-founded National Coming Out Day.

Duration: 00:14:57

Jean O'Leary - Part 1

Jean O’Leary was passionate—about women, nuns, feminism, and equal rights. She left an indelible mark on the women’s movement and the LGBTQ civil rights movement, but not without causing controversy, too. After all, she was a troublemaker. And proud of it.

Duration: 00:17:35

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