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Since 2016, Making Gay History* has been bringing the largely hidden history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement to life through the voices of the people who lived it. We’ll be back in October 2020 for our eighth season, which will draw from the Studs Terkel Radio Archive. Till then, we hope you enjoy—and find inspiration in—our earlier episodes.

*Making Gay History operates under the 501(c)(3) non-profit umbrella of GLSEN, an organization that  believes that every student has the right to a safe, supportive, and LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 education.

Season 8

Meg Christian

Olivia Records cofounder Meg Christian helped ignite the women’s music movement of the 1970s with lesbian classics like “Ode to a Gym Teacher.” Meet Meg, in song and conversation, in our final episode drawn from the Studs Terkel Radio Archive.

Leonard Matlovich

When Leonard Matlovich was thrown out of the Air Force for being gay, he sued for reinstatement. It was 1975 and it was the first case of its kind. Hear the LGBTQ rights pioneer—and startlingly frank one-time racist—in conversation with Studs Terkel.

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Jill Johnston

Sparks flew when radical lesbian feminist Jill Johnston sat down for an interview with Studs Terkel in 1973. Jill had just published a controversial manifesto called “Lesbian Nation,” which advocated that women break with men entirely. It was provocative stuff—even for the usually unflappable Studs.

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Mattachine Midwest

A half-century ago, Studs Terkel interviewed three members of the homophile group Mattachine Midwest: the organization’s president, a student activist, and lesbian pulp author Valerie Taylor. Join them for a wide-ranging and laugh-filled conversation about gay liberation both personal and political.

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Quentin Crisp

From a young age, Quentin Crisp was determined to be himself—makeup, painted nails, dramatically dyed hair, and all—even if it consigned him to a life of poverty and isolation. Hear the author, raconteur, and provocateur in a 1970 conversation with Studs Terkel before he found late-in-life fame.

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“Les-Lee”

During a career that spanned more than three decades, Canadian female impersonator John Falk Tomkinson appeared around the globe under the stage name Les-Lee. In 1967 Studs Terkel sat down with the performer to talk about his art and upbringing, and his experiences of being “different.”

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Lorraine Hansberry

In 1959 Lorraine Hansberry became the first Black woman to have a play produced on Broadway. Soon after “A Raisin in the Sun” made history, the 28-year-old writer and activist talked to Studs Terkel about racial and gender inequity and the role of art in confronting difficult truths about our world.

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Christopher Isherwood

Author Christopher Isherwood left England for Germany in 1929. His stories about his years there inspired the musical “Cabaret,” which shaped the image of decadent interwar Berlin in the popular imagination. But as he told Studs Terkel in this 1977 interview, to him, Berlin meant, above all, boys.

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Season 8 — Preview

Making Gay History is back! Join us as we mine the Studs Terkel Radio Archive in Chicago for stories from our proud LGBTQ past to bring you eight intimate conversations conducted between 1959 and 1981 by the legendary oral historian.

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