Stonewall 50 - Episode 2 - ”Everything Clicked… And The Riot Was On”
At 1:20 a.m. on June 28, 1969, the New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, an unlicensed gay club in New York’s Greenwich Village. I wasn’t there. Of these two facts I feel certain. The first one, because the police report from that night states the time that the police entered the Stonewall Inn. And the second, because I was ten years old at the time and didn’t see Greenwich Village for the first time until I’d graduated from Hillcrest High School in Queens, New York, in June 1976. (I’m shocked now by what an incurious teenager I was back then.)But there’s plenty about the raid on the Stonewall Inn and the subsequent uprising that’s less certain and often the focus of disagreements and heated debate. I like to think that the story of Stonewall is big enough for all the recollections and memories and inevitable myths that have taken shape in the five decades since Stonewall became a key turning point in the history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement and the birthplace of the “gay liberation” phase of the fight for equality.So in this second episode of our special Stonewall 50 season, we’re bringing you multiple voices—and multiple and often conflicting memories—from people who were inside and outside the Stonewall Inn a half-century ago. Voices drawn from my three-decade-old archive and from other archival audio unearthed by Making Gay History’s team of archive rats—including some tape dating back to the first year after the raid. Have a listen and decide which memories ring true for you.
Conflict has context. In this first episode of Making Gay History’s Stonewall 50 season, we hear stories from the pre-Stonewall struggle for LGBTQ rights. We travel back in time to hear voices from the turbulent 1960s and take you to the tinderbox that was Greenwich Village on the eve of an uprising. If you’d like a primer on Stonewall, here is a handy factsheet that Making Gay History co-produced. The final page has more resources if you’d like to dig a bit deeper.To find out more about some of the people featured in this episode and the times in which they lived, check out the following Making Gay History episodes and the accompanying episode notes: Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen (part 1 and part 2), Randy Wicker and Marsha P. Johnson, Ernestine Eckstein, and Sylvia Rivera (part 1 and part 2). Craig Rodwell will be featured more extensively in upcoming episodes, but he also makes an appearance in our episode about Dick Leitsch, with whom Craig Rodwell was in a relationship during their early days at Mattachine.Many of our previous episodes include interviews with LGBTQ trailblazers who became active in the movement pre-Stonewall. To learn more about the founders of some of the early U.S. homophile organizations, have a listen to our episodes with Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine Society; Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, co-founders of the Daughters of Bilitis; and Dorr Legg, Martin Block, and Jim Kepner, who spearheaded ONE.
Coming Soon: A special season of Making Gay History to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Hear the voices of the rioters, and of the activists who turned a riot into Gay Liberation—a new and expansive phase in the LGBTQ rights movement.
Brooklyn-born Martha Shelley was a rebel. She didn’t like being told what to do, wear, or say. She hated the lesbian bars, and after joining the Daughters of Bilitis she strained against the self-imposed limits of the homophile movement. Coming of age in the 1960s, she was ready for revolution.Learn more about Martha Shelley in this interview for the website “Stonewall: Riot, Rebellion, Activism, and Identity” (the audio file is embedded at the bottom of the transcript page). Martha’s oral history is included in Eric Marcus’s book Making History.In this episode, Martha mentions how the FBI monitored DOB's activities. To see samples of their investigative work, check out the declassified files collected on this webpage.Martha Shelley was one of the participants in the July 4th Annual Reminders, picket lines organized by homophile organizations from 1965 to 1969 at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. You can see footage of the 1968 Annual Reminder in “The Second Largest Minority,” a short documentary by Lilli Vincenz, here.Martha Shelley has written fiction and poetry, and her short stories, essays, and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women's Liberation Movement, edited by Robin Morgan. You can hear Martha discuss her novel The Throne in the Heart of the Sea on Portland radio station KBOO here.
Read about Dick Leitsch’s life in his New York Times obituary and check out our special “In Memoriam” episode about him here. Dick Leitsch donated his personal papers to the New York Public Library (NYPL) archives. Read the New Yorker article on Leitsch and the NYPL, and explore the Mattachine Society of New York archives available at the NYPL. In the episode, Dick Leitsch talks about the picket he participated in across from the United Nations. To learn more about that protest, check out the website of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project here. The June 1966 issue of the Daughters of Bilitis magazine The Ladder, which featured Ernestine Eckstein on the cover, reported on the issue of police entrapment in New York City. You can read the article, which contains a reference to Dick Leitsch, here on pages 12 and 13.
See the June 1966 issue of The Ladder with Eckstein on the cover here and read the interview that Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen conducted with her. Gittings and Lahusen were featured in two MGH episodes here and here. And Kay was featured in a bonus episode about her monthly “gay” dinner table at the retirement facility where she now lives. For information about The Ladder, the magazine published by the Daughters of Bilitis, read Malinda Lo’s AfterEllen.com article and Marcia Gallo’s account of its history here. Also, take a tour of a GLBT Historical Society exhibit about The Ladder in this video. To learn more about the Daughters of Bilitis, read Marcia Gallo’s Different Daughters—A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Movement and be sure to listen to our episode with DOB co-founders Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, too.Ernestine Eckstein was one of the first participants in the July 4th “Annual Reminders,” picket lines organized by homophile organizations—under the leadership of Frank Kameny—from 1965 to 1969 at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. You can see a glimpse of Eckstein picketing at 28:50 in “The Homosexuals,” a controversial CBS program from 1967 hosted by “60 Minutes” veteran correspondent Mike Wallace. You can see footage of the 1968 Annual Reminder in “The Second Largest Minority,” a short documentary by Lilli Vincenz, here. Following her involvement with the gay rights movement, Eckstein focused her energies on black feminist issues and became active with BWOPA (Black Women Organized for Political Action). Read about the organization’s mission and history here.
Bayard Rustin was a key, behind-the-scenes leader of the black civil rights movement—a proponent of nonviolent protest, a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the principal organizer of the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. And he was gay and open about it, which had everything to do with why he remained in the background and is little known today in comparison to other leaders of the civil rights movement.Read Bayard Rustin’s 1987 New York Times obituary here. It identifies his partner Walter Naegle as his “administrative assistant and adopted son.” To read Rustin’s own words, explore Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin here. Rustin’s papers reside at the Library of Congress.PBS’s award-winning POV documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin can be found here.For a biography of Rustin, check out John d’Emilio’s Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin here. Listen to this episode of the State of the Re:Union podcast to learn about Rustin’s indelible contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. PBS’s award-winning POV documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin here. Read Senator Strom Thurmond’s August 13, 1963, denunciation of Rustin in the congressional record here, starting on page 14836. The New York Times reported on Rustin’s rebuttal here. Rustin’s partner Walter Naegle was featured in a short film by Matt Wolf titled “Bayard and Me.” You can watch it here. In her interview with Rustin, Peg Byron inquires about Rustin’s recent D.C. visit with Black and White Men Together. Learn more about the group here. Watch President Obama honor Bayard Rustin at the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony. Watch Walter Naegle accept the medal here. Gay astronaut Sally Ride was honored alongside Rustin that same year; find out more about Ride here. Eric Marcus’s interview with Walter Naegle was conducted at the home he shared with Rustin, which in 2016 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can see the building on the website of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project here. The webpage has some great photos of Rustin, including one in his apartment with his extensive cane collection. For educator resources related to this episode of Making Gay History, check out the website of our education partner History UnErased here.
For a history of the transgender movement in the U.S., check out Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution by Susan Stryker.For a biographical overview of Erickson and his contributions to the homophile and transgender movements, check out this article by Aaron Devor and Nicholas Matte. To explore some of the Erickson Educational Foundation’s publications and other Reed Erickson materials, visit the University of Victoria Transgender Archives Collection here.The Milbank mansion and estate figures prominently in the story of ONE and Reed Erickson. Learn more about the mansion, which was built in 1913 in L.A.’s Country Club Park neighborhood, here and here. Read about Reed Erickson’s involvement with ONE Incorporated in this article by Aaron Devor and Nicholas Matte. Listen to our episode on some of the key figures of ONE here. Read Dr. Harry Benjamin’s New York Times obituary here. Read his 1966 The Transsexual Phenomenon in its entirety here.One from the Vaults, a trans history podcast by Morgan M Page, did a special episode on Reed Erickson. You can hear it here. Learn more about Morgan M Page and her work on her website. To find out more about AJ Lewis, listen to his testimony from the NYC Trans Oral History Project, a collaboration with the New York Public Library, here. Listen to other collected voices here. In 2012 video maker and interdisciplinary artist Chris E. Vargas produced ONE for All... about the tempestuous end of the partnership between Reed Erickson and ONE. The story focuses on the Milbank Estate and on the expansive but unrealized dreams that Erickson had for the future of queer activism. The video was part of Transactivation: Revealing Queer Histories in the Archive, an event at the ONE Archives. To learn more about Vargas’s work, check out his website. Find out more about his MOTHA (Museum of Trans Hirstory & Art) project here and on the website of the New Museum in New York here.
Read a biographical overview of Stella Rush by Judith M. Saunders in this chapter from Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context, edited by Vern L. Bullough. In the same book,Rush herself also contributed a chapter on her longtime partner and fellow activist Helen Sandoz (aka Helen Sanders) here.Watch a May 15, 1987 interview with Stella Rush and Helen Sandoz (off-camera) from the Lesbian Herstory Archives’ Daughters of Bilitis Video Project.In the late 1980s, Jim Kepner wrote an essay on Stella Rush, Helen Sandoz, and the other women who contributed to ONE, which you can read here. For a historical overview of ONE magazine, ONE Inc., and the ONE Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries, go here. Be sure to check out our episode on the founders and early contributors to ONE, including Kepner, here. You can read Rush’s resignation letter from ONE here.You can read a snippet of Rush’s reporting on the 1960 Daughters of Bilitis convention in San Francisco in The Ladder here. For information about The Ladder, the magazine published by the Daughters of Bilitis, read Malinda Lo’s AfterEllen.com article. And take a tour of a GLBT Historical Society exhibit about The Ladder in this video. To learn more about the Daughters of Bilitis, read Marcia M. Gallo’s Different Daughters—A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Movement and be sure to listen to our episode with DOB co-founders Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, too.
Season Four - Dorr Legg, Martin Block and Jim Kepner of ONE
ONE, the first national gay magazine, attracted the attention of the FBI and was at the heart of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case. Dorr Legg, Martin Block, and Jim Kepner were key to ONE’s success. But don’t expect them to agree on its origin story. **For a historical overview of ONE magazine, ONE, Inc., and the history of the ONE Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries go here. The website has other useful LGBTQ educational links as well. *To explore the ONE Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries, go here. In 2010 NPR’s Tell Me More did a short piece on the archives, which you can listen to here. It features the voices of Jim Kepner and Edythe Eyde, the subject of this season one MGH episode.*For a biographical sketch of Dorr Legg from the GLBTQ Archives, go here. Please note that the bio misidentifies Legg’s lover at the time Legg moved to Los Angeles as Merton Bird, who was the founder of an early gay organization called the Knights of the Clock. According to Legg in his original MGH interview, his then lover’s name was Marvin Edwards. A 2010 article from the Gay & Lesbian Review set out to uncover the history of the little-known Knights of the Clock, of which Legg was an early member. The article also provides additional details about Legg’s life.*Check out Homophile Studies in Theory and Practice, edited by Legg, here. *While Dorr Legg, Jim Kepner, and Martin Block may not have been on the same page about ONE magazine’s origin story, they all chose to leave their personal papers to the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. Dorr Legg’s papers can be found here. Jim Kepner’s papers can be found here. And to see what Martin Block’s papers contain and to read a brief bio of Block, go here.
Investigated by the FBI, blackmailed, but bold enough to keep going, Billye Talmadge was one of the early members of the earliest lesbian rights organization in the U.S., the Daughters of Bilitis. Read a brief biography of Billye Talmadge in this proudqueer.com article by Billye’s friend Suzanne Deakins. A short obituary of Billye appeared in the Bay Area Reporter. Billye Talmadge’s oral history can be found in Eric Marcus’s book Making Gay History.Watch a May 12, 1987 interview with Billye Talmadge from the Lesbian Herstory Archives’ Daughters of Bilitis Video Project.Check out Beyond the Mist, a book of Billye’s musings and poetry here. To learn more about the Daughters of Bilitis, read Marcia M. Gallo’s Different Daughters A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Movementand be sure to listen to our episode with DOB co-founders Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, too. For information about The Ladder, the magazine of the Daughters of Bilitis, read Malinda Lo’s AfterEllen.com article. And take a tour of a GLBT Historical Society exhibit about The Ladder in this video. The episode talks about the risk of arrest for male impersonation faced by women wearing fly-front jeans. In our MGH Shirley Willer episode, Willer, who was the one time president of DOB, talks about how wearing masculine attire made her the target of police brutality.
Read more about Harry Hay in his San Francisco Chronicle obituary. For a more in-depth look at the early days of the Mattachine Society, check out C. Todd White's Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rightsand James T. Sears’sBehind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Hal Call Chronicles and the Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation , and listen to our episodes featuring Chuck Rowland, Herb Selwyn, and Hal Call, who wrested control of the Mattachine from Hay, Rowland, and the other original members of the group.In the episode, Hay mentions the “call to the society” that the early Mattachine Society used to gauge the interest of potential new members in joining; you can see the prospectus in its entirety here. And you can listen to an episode from Devlyn Camp’s Mattachine Podcast about “The Call” here.In 1983 Vito Russo (whom you can hear in this MGH episode) interviewed Hay and Barbara Gittings (who was featured, along with her partner Kay Lahusen, in MGH episodes nine and 18) for his Our Time TV program. Here are part one and part two.Hay is featured in the 1984 documentary Before Stonewall, which also includes interviews with Edythe Eyde, Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny, Chuck Rowland, and Dr. Evelyn Hooker.As he says in the episode, Hay had a fondness for the word “fairy” and in 1979 he would go on to co-found the Radical Faeries. Philippe Roques made a documentary short about the movement titled Faerie Tales. The Radical Faeries website has a tribute page to founders Harry Hay and John Burnside.
On the occasion of Magnus Hirschfeld’s 150th birthday in May 2018, Eric Marcus traveled to Germany to find out more about this early champion of LGBTQ civil rights. Eric found a story of queer resistance, resilience, and a fascinating mystery involving a suitcase and a mask. From Eric Marcus: When I wrote the original 1992 edition of Making Gay History (which was then called Making History), my oral history book about the LGBTQ civil rights movement, I devoted just one paragraph to Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld’s work in the opening to the first chapter: More than four decades before World War II, the first organization for homosexuals was founded in Germany. The goals of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, as the organization was called, included the abolition of Germany’s anti-gay penal code, the promotion of public education about homosexuality, and the encouragement of homosexuals to take up the struggle for their rights. The rise of the Nazis put an end to the Scientific Humanitarian Committee and the homosexual rights movement in Germany. And that was it. Not even a mention of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld himself or his sexuality institute, which he founded in 1919. Considering that the focus of my book was the gay rights movement in the United States, that’s not so surprising. But given what I’ve come to learn about Dr. Hirschfeld and his pioneering work, as well as his influence on the founding of the movement here in the U.S., I’m sorry I didn’t at least include his name!So as you can hear in this episode of Making Gay History, three decades after I first started conducting interviews for my book, I took a deep dive into the life of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld. That included traveling to Berlin in May 2018 for the huge celebration in honor of the 150th birthday of Magnus Hirschfeld, interviews with Magnus Hirschfeld experts, an interview with a Canadian pack rat/citizen archivist who saved a suitcase full of long-lost Magnus Hirschfeld’s belongings, and a reenactment of Hirschfeld’s 1918 silent film, Different from the Others.As we traced the threads of history back in time, I came to discover that one of the threads of Magnus Hirschfeld’s history came back to the present day and had a direct connection to our Making Gay History family. Here’s the story. Before I left for Berlin, I found out that our photo editor, Michael Green (who also happened to be the original publicist on the Making History book back in 1992) was going to be in Berlin with his partner, Ilan Meyer, too. Ilan was heading to Berlin for a family reunion. It wasn’t until Michael and I were having lunch after our tour of the Schwules Museum and we were waiting for Ilan to join us that I discovered the reunion Ilan was attending was for Magnus Hirschfeld’s family, which had been decimated during the Holocaust and the survivors scattered across the globe. Turns out Ilan, who grew up in Israel, is a cousin of Magnus Hirschfeld.
This season, Making Gay History uncovers voices from the early movement for LGBTQ civil rights. Eric Marcus introduces trailblazers from as far back as Germany in the late 1800s to the folks who stood up and stepped up for equal rights in the US in the 20th century. Photo information,clockwise from upper left: Martha Shelley at the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, 1969. Credit: Photo by Diana Davies courtesy of Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. Bayard Rustin at a news briefing on the Civil Rights March on Washington in the Statler Hotel, August 27, 1963. Credit: Photo by Warren K. Leffler courtesy of Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsc-01272. Ernestine Eckstein on the cover of The Ladder in June 1966. Credit: Courtesy of Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library . Harry Hay press release still for Clifford Odets' "Til the Day I Die," May 1935. Credit: ONE Archives at the USC Libraries
Season Four of Making Gay History will feature more never-before-heard archival interviews with trailblazers from LGBTQ history. This season will trace some of the earliest moments and movements. These are powerful, life-affirming and life-changing conversations.*Support our show by donating here*That’s according to our listeners - who made this trailer. Episode Transcript:I’m Eric Marcus and this is...MGH listeners: Making Gay History.Eric: I know, I know, it’s been a while. But Season Four of Making Gay History is almost here! And while we’ve been working on it, tens of thousands more of you have found the show. Karen: My name is Karen Havelin.Mary: I’m Mary Rand.Daltin: I’m Daltin.Margaret: Hi, my name is Margaret.Eve: My name is Eve.Patrick: Patrick Keller.Mike: This is Mike Wegner.Sama: Hello, my name is Sama Belomo, I’m from Baltimore, Maryland.Karen: And I’m a 37-year-old writer from Bergen, Norway.Mike: I’m a truck driver in Texas.Mary: I’m an 18-year-old college student from Rochester, New York.Eve: I’m from Heber City, Utah.Daltin: I’m 15 years old.Margaret: I am 54 years old, I live in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and I identify as a dyke.Eric: You’ve been downloading our first three seasons and hearing first-hand the stories of queer struggle, resistance and resilience that have shaped America. And you’ve been contacting us to tell us how you’ve been affected by the show. And we wanted to share some of what you’ve told us. Mary: After quietly coming out a year ago, I found that tapping into my newfound history as a trans person was the best way to break a feeling of isolation that I’d felt since childhood. I listen to Making Gay History because it tells me that I am not and never was alone.Karen: It reminds me that people have lived their lives and shown courage in the face of terrible times before - that they had love, friends, and lives even if no one was encouraging them.Daltin: As a teenager, I feel kids my age can often forget the importance of the past. Many of these LGBT and ally voices have been buried and forgotten.Margaret: And if it wasn’t for all of them, I would not be a wife, and being Kelly’s wife is everything. We should all know our history.Carson: We can’t move forward without knowing where we’ve been. Making Gay History tells stories from a time when it wasn’t possible or safe to tell the whole truth. What makes this podcast incredible is that they tell stories that might have otherwise gone untold, and that’s powerful.Eric: Thirty years ago, I was lucky enough to meet scores of people from out of our past who have inspired me to do the work I do. And now I’m inspired by all of you because you all are making gay history. Patrick: Making Gay History is the first podcast I listen to when it pops up in my player. And I listen to a ton of podcasts. Not many of them have moved me to tears, though.Sama: I read along with the podcast transcripts, which makes it accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing like me. And sometimes I have to take breaks because it’s so emotionally charged.Rachel: I weep through each episode and always come out the other side feeling more included, more knowledgeable, and more in control of my own sense of history.Mike: Â And it’s just been fantastic and I can’t wait to get more episodes.Eric: Thanks for showing up. Thanks for being you. And thanks for listening. Now go tell everyone you know to subscribe to Making Gay History. And if they don’t know what a podcast is, send them to our website, makinggayhistory.com, where there’s a handy how-to guide for new listeners. We’ll be back soon with Season Four. So long, until next time!Blaine: I think of Morris Kight saying “I never thought that I was inferior, no matter what anyone told me.” So thanks. I hope you have a listen.
May 11, 1935 - June 22nd, 2018. Dick Leitch, Kentucky native, New Yorker at heart, one-time president of the Mattachine Society of New York, was an early gay rights advocate who challenged police entrapment and championed the rights of gay people to get a drink without fear of harassment or prison.
Join us as Making Gay History pulls up a chair at Kay Tobin Lahusen’s monthly gay dinner table. Spend some time with this gang of elders and hear how love, friendship, and activism live on for these trailblazers—even in their retirement community.
Four stories of the moments that changed everything. The right to love and be loved for who we are has always been a driving force in the fight for LGBT civil rights and in this special bonus episode Eric shares love stories from his archive featuring activists who helped change the course of history. Happy Valentines Day! And if V-Day is Me-Day for you, treat yourself to reading about the incredible lovers in this episode here: http://makinggayhistory.com/podcast/bonus-episode-love-is-love/First aired February 14th 2017.
Teenaged Morty Manford came of age in the 1960s, at a time when psychiatrists often did more harm than good with young people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality in a world that had nothing nice to say about homosexuals. But once Morty settled his internal civil war, he jumped with both feet into a social justice movement that would change how he saw himself and how the world thought of and treated LGBTQ people.From 1970 until he returned to college at Columbia University in the mid-1970s, Morty’s primary involvement was with the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), where he ultimately became president. He also co-founded, with his mother Jeanne Manford, an organization for parents of gay people that today is known as PFLAG. You can hear Morty and Jeanne tell that story in their Making Gay History Season One episode, which I recommend listening to before listening to this episode. Morty Manford’s papers are housed at the New York Public Library. You can learn more about the collection and read a summary of Morty’s life and contributions to the movement here. CountyHistorian.com also offers an overview of Morty’s life and includes a long list of articles for anyone interested in more detailed background on Morty, his contributions, and the times in which he lived. You can find the entry about Morty here.You can read Morty’s oral history in the 1992 edition of Making Gay History.Morty speaks about both the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA). For a brief summary about the two organizations and their differences, read this article by Linda Rapp from the GLBTQ Archive. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) kept files on the GAA and the organization’s activities.From 1971 to 1974, GAA was headquartered in this firehouse in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. You can read about GAA members storming the offices of Harper’s Magazine in 1970 to protest a recently published a homophobic article here.A pivotal event in Morty’s life was witnessing a 1970 march through Greenwich Village in protest against a police raid of the Snake Pit bar. In his Making Gay History interview Morty states that the raid took place in February 1970. It was in fact March 8, 1970. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project has an entry for the Snake Pit bar on their website, which includes photographs of the raid, a flyer calling for a protest (the one that caught Morty’s attention), and an article published in the New York Times the day after the protest.
Greg Brock blazed a trail for LGBTQ journalists by being himself at a time when doing that could sabotage your career or cost you your job. But Greg didn't just come out on the job, he came out to everyone on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" for the first National Coming Out Day on October 11, 1988. ———In 2012, Greg was awarded the Silver Em by the University of Mississippi. The article provides a great overview of Greg’s career as a journalist.*Read Greg Brock’s oral history in Making Gay History, which includes his account of two gay bashings that contributed to his determination to live his life out of the closet.*The June 1989 “Gay In America” sixteen-day San Francisco Examiner newspaper series that Greg Brock championed along with editor Carol Ness can be found in the collection of the Oakland Museum of California. You can see a closeup of the series’ cover poster here.*To hear about the experiences of journalists who came out on the job when most journalists working in mainstream media were still closeted, have a listen to our episode featuring the late CNN anchor Tom Cassidy. We also recommend a terrific audio documentary about New York Times journalist Jeffrey Schmalz called “Dying Words: The AIDS Reporting of Jeff Schmalz and How It Transformed the New York Times.”
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 Gays).During Paulette’s years heading PFLAG’s Washington, DC, chapter and subsequent tenure as president of the national PFLAG Federation, from 1988 to 1992, she used her powers of persuasion, the media, and her standing as a gray-haired mom to carry the ball forward in the fight for LGBTQ equal rights.To learn more abou Paulette’s role in the movement, have a look at the information, links, photographs, and episode transcript that follow below.———For a quick summary of Paulette Goodman’s work with PFLAG and numerous honors, have a look at her Wikipedia entry.In 1992 Paulette gave a speech on “Why Our Kids Need Civil Rights” to the City Club of Portland, Oregon. Have a listen and you’ll see why Paulette was such an effective advocate..You’ll find Paulette Goodman’s oral history in Making Gay History, the book. For more information about PFLAG national, visit the organization’s website. We also recommend listening to the Making Gay History episode that features PFLAG co-founders Jeanne and Morty Manford. Have a look at this collection of PFLAG buttons and photos from PFLAG covering the period from 1972 to 1992. In 2003, Paulette founded PFLAG Riderwood, the first PFLAG chapter based in a retirement community. Read an article about Paulette and the group here. And watch a short 2014 video in which Paulette talks about the Riderwood chapter.
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 Kight Facebook page.The LGBT_History Instagram account offered a concise summary of Morris Kight’s life and contributions on November 19, 2017, what would have been Morris’ 98th birthday .Morris Kight’s papers and photographs are housed at the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.In his Making Gay History interview, Morris talks about the horrific March 1969 beating death at the hands of Los Angeles police, which galvanized local activists. You can read about the murder here and here.Morris Kight was a co-founder with the Rev. Troy Perry, of the Christopher Street West parade, which was held to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York City. Read more about the organization that oversees the annual L.A. Pride Parade and Festival here.The fight over an anti-gay sign at Barney’s Beanery, a Los Angeles restaurant, figured prominently as the first major protest organized by the Los Angeles Gay Liberation Front, which was co-founded by Morris Kight (and was a sister organization of the Gay Liberation Front organization founded in New York City immediately after the Stonewall uprising in June 1969).Morris Kight co-founded the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center in 1969. Today the Los Angeles LGBT Center is the world’s largest.In 1975, Morris co-founded the Stonewall Democratic Club..Morris Kight’s house (where he lived before his Making Gay History interview), is listed as an historic site by the Los Angeles Conservancy.Morris played the grumpy poet in Leather Jacket Love Story (1997), a film about a gay aspiring poet in L.A. He’s also the subject of the short film Live on Tape: The Life & Times of Morris Kight, Liberator (1999).Morris Kight died on January 19, 2003. His obituary appeared in the the L.A. Times.
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 documents both their relationship and their public life.The Gay and Lesbian Review published an article in 2012 about Del, Phyllis, and the history of DOB. The article includes a fun caricature of Del and Phyllis.In this picture book for children, Del and Phyllis point out landmarks they can see from the window of their home in San Francisco. They also talk about the changes they have seen throughout their lives for women and gay people.Here’s a brief overview of the history of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB). To learn more about the Daughters of Bilitis, we recommend Marcia Gallo’s book, Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Birth of the Lesbian Rights Movement.
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 Health Crisis) and ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), two of the leading organizations that responded to the AIDS epidemic.To learn more about Larry Kramer’s activism and his career as a writer, have a look at the information, links, photos, and episode transcript at www.makinggayhistory.com
In 1983, Deborah Johnson and Zandra Rolón 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hal Call never minced words. The midwestern newspaperman and WWII vet wrested control of the Mattachine Society from its founders and went on to fight police oppression and champion sexual freedom. He also made more than a few enemies along the way.
Shirley Willer had good reason to be angry—she was beaten by the police and a dear friend was allowed to die. Because they were gay. She channeled that anger into action, traveling the country in the 1960s to launch new chapters of gay rights organizations.
A never before heard interview with Marsha P. Johnson and Randy Wicker - two very different heroes of the early LGBT civil rights movement. Marsha was a founder of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. Randy led the first gay demonstration in 1964 in coat and tie.
Making Gay History is back with more hidden histories mined from Eric Marcus’s 30-year-old audio archive. Ten new episodes featuring intimate, personal interviews with pioneers in the struggle for LGBTQ civil rights—some known and some long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to queer history.
The right to love and be loved for who we are has always been a driving force in the fight for LGBT civil rights. Eric shares four special love stories from his archive featuring activists who helped change the course of history.
The late author and activist Vito Russo is best known for his 1981 landmark book, The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies, and for co-founding both GLAAD (originally known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).
A dynamic duo, self-described gay rights fanatics and life partners Barbara Gittings and Kay “Tobin” Lahusen helped supercharge the nascent movement in the 1960s and brought their creativity, passion, determination, and good humor to the Gay Liberation 1970s, leaving behind an inspiring legacy of dramatic change.
A generation ago, tens of millions of people turned to “Dear Abby” in her daily newspaper column for advice. Long before others did, and at considerable risk, she used her platform and celebrity in support of gay people and their equal rights.
A WWII veteran who co-founded one of the first LGBT rights groups, the Mattachine Society, in 1950—a time when gay people were considered sick, sinful, criminal, and a threat to national security. Dr Evelyn Hooker described Chuck as “a natural organizer”.
A mother's love turns her into a quiet revolutionary. When Jeanne Manford’s son Morty (himself a leader in the movement) was badly beaten at a protest in 1972, she took action and founded an organization for parents of gays known today as PFLAG.
Frank Kameny lived a long and extraordinary life. He was fired from his federal government job in 1957 because he was gay. He didn’t just go home and pull the covers over his head. He fought a successful eighteen-year-battle with the government to change the law so the same thing didn’t happen to other gay people.
In 1945 Dr. Evelyn Hooker’s gay friend Sam From urged her to do a study challenging the commonly held belief that homosexuals were by nature mentally ill. It was work that would ultimately strip the “sickness” label from millions of gay men and women and change the course of history.
Edythe Eyde moved to Los Angeles in 1945 and by 1947 was working as a secretary at RKO Pictures where she used her office typewriter as a printing press to publish her landmark “magazine” for lesbians, “Vice Versa.” In the 1950s, when Edythe started writing for the The Ladder, the Daughters of Bilitis magazine (DOB was an organization for lesbians founded in 1955), she took the pen name “Lisa Ben” (an anagram for “lesbian”). Her first choice for a pen name had been “Ima Spinster,” but that idea was shot down by the magazine’s editors. Edythe told Eric Marcus, “I thought that was funny and they didn't. I don't know whether they thought it was too undignified or what, but they objected strongly. If I had been as sure of myself then as I am these days I would have said, ‘Alright, take it or leave it.’ But I wasn't. So I invented the name Lisa Ben.”
We don’t know much about Wendell Sayers beyond what he shared in his original 1989 interview for the Making Gay History book and the little we found in our research. He was born in Western Kansas on April 29, 1904, and died on March 27, 1998. He was, as he notes in the interview, the first black attorney to be hired to work in the Colorado State Attorney General’s office. Wendell’s specialty was in real estate. In the late 1950’s he attended several meetings of the Denver chapter of the Mattachine Society, an early gay rights organization, and briefly attended the Mattachine Society’s sixth annual national convention, which was held in Denver in September 1959.
A never before heard conversation with trans icon, self-described “drag queen,” and Stonewall uprising veteran Sylvia Rivera. Sylvia relives that June 1969 night in vivid detail and describes her struggle for recognition in the movement.Sylvia would have loved knowing that in the years since her death in 2002 she’s become an icon—a symbol of LGBTQ people fighting back against police repression and fighting for respect and equal rights. But she’d also want you to know that she was a human being, born Ray Rivera in the Bronx in 1951. Eleven years later the self-described effeminate child found himself homeless and hustling on 42nd Street to scratch out enough money to get by. Sylvia was all of seventeen when she crossed paths with history at the Stonewall Inn on the night of June 28, 1969. She died at 51, having struggled with addiction and homelessness for much of her life, even as she continued to fight for trans rights and LGBTQ equality.
Coming up in the first season of Making Gay History - personal stories mined from Eric Marcus's rare audio archive of interviews with LGBTQ champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.Music: "Divider" by Chris ZabriskieLicense: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode