DiscoverMaking Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive
Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive
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Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive

Author: Eric Marcus

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Intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history brought to you from rare archival interviews.

67 Episodes
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Season 1: Preview

Season 1: Preview

2016-10-0500:03:39

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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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).
Bonus: Love is Love

Bonus: Love is Love

2017-02-1400:11:401

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.
Season 2: Preview

Season 2: Preview

2017-02-2300:04:08

Making Gay History is back with more hidden histories mined from Eric Marcus’s 30-year-old audio archive.  Ten new episodes featuring intimate interviews with pioneers in the struggle for LGBTQ civil rights—some known and some long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to queer history.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Comments (3)

Matthew Cibellis

so great to have you back, Mr. M!!!!

Oct 24th
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Julie A. Fischer

I love MAKING GAY HISTORY - it's amazing to hear these people tell their stories.

Feb 26th
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Liz Richardson

I love this show. Listening to these stories gives me hope for our future in these bizarre ugly times. keep up the good work! these stories make us real to the people who need to come to grips with it. #pride

Dec 22nd
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