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Watch: What Was It Like to Come Out in the 1950's?


Can't wait to see more of these.

David Mixner writes:

"Phil Siegel, who was co-communications director at the National Equality March on Washington, was inspired watching the young marchers interacting with some of our pioneers. Upon his return to San Francisco, he organized a group of young people and created the Gay History Video Project. In the videos, the young activist interviewed the pioneers and in the process saved a valuable part of our LGBT history. This is a very exciting project."


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  1. Sadly, I could not hear anything from the clip - was all muffled...


    Posted by: turnipHed | Feb 1, 2011 2:25:09 PM

  2. The clip's audio played fine for me.

    What an amazing video.

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 1, 2011 2:34:36 PM

  3. I'd love to see more posts like this - substantial and provocative. I'm age-wise right between the two generations shown in these interviews, and I was fascinated by how different from my life things were for the people 30 years older than I am and how different from my life they are the people 30 years younger.

    Posted by: Sancho | Feb 1, 2011 3:06:34 PM

  4. I'm surprised there hasn't been a mainstream documentary like this before. Someone call Ken Burns! That would be great. Kudos the these kids for running with it. It's like the WWII documentaries, better do them now before that generation dies out.

    Posted by: IAN F | Feb 1, 2011 3:36:28 PM

  5. Fascinating. I can't imagine what things were like for the people of the 50s. At least, I couldn't, this helps a lot.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Feb 1, 2011 5:19:36 PM

  6. It's a shame we can't go back even further to get testimony from the generations before these folks. There was a bit of opening in the 20s and 30s, utterly squelched in the 50s, that goes undocumented. You can find evidence of it in movies with characters who are often mocked but seem quite out.

    Posted by: BobN | Feb 1, 2011 6:27:20 PM

  7. Loved the video. My only wish was that they'd been able to talk to more people who'd lived through the 50's.

    Me...I was the 70's group, when all hell was tearing loose. Sometimes chaos can be fun.

    Posted by: Kyle Sullivan | Feb 1, 2011 6:49:54 PM

  8. What an incredibly inspiring video. We need more of these verbal histories from those who have struggled before us, reminding us of where we've come from. We must always remember.

    Posted by: Keppler | Feb 2, 2011 12:39:13 AM

  9. Excellent initiative - well done to the film makers!

    Posted by: John | Feb 2, 2011 2:30:27 AM

  10. What a wonderful documentary. I'm bisexual and I was in the military when Don't Ask, Don't tell was first initiated. What a trying time that was. Thank you to all the interviewees and to the young kids that asked the questions. It is sad that here we are 60 years later and homosexuals still have fewer rights than their straight counterparts. Thanks again for posting this.

    Posted by: Bri | Feb 9, 2011 9:32:01 AM

  11. For me, it was a time of change, excitement, innocence, friends, bars, dancing.."Who Cares" bar was one of the fun bars (1956) Great times, scary at times...Del and Phylis were well known in S.F. as leaders in our community..There was Tommy Vasu, Duff Edwards, crazy fun times. Great memories of youth. Almost got caught in a raid....scary and living on edge! I had it easier as a femme..oh and the dykes were dykes. Handsome women!

    Posted by: Lei | Feb 20, 2011 12:27:59 AM

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