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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.  During the unfolding pandemic, we’re revisiting people from our episode archive who inspire us and give us hope.  Find these latest episodes below or by subscribing here.

*Making Gay History operates under the 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 7

Revisiting the Archive — Episode 13 — Larah Helayne & Jean O’Leary

When high schooler Larah Helayne heard MGH’s episode with Jean O’Leary, it changed the course of her life. Plans to become a nun gave way for a new role as an LGBTQ trailblazer. In this season finale, we celebrate the history-makers who came before and those who follow in their footsteps.

Revisiting the Archive — Episode 12 — Bayard Rustin

Making Gay History stands with the countless Americans protesting systemic racism and the deaths of black and brown people at the hands of the police. And we draw inspiration from civil rights heroes like Bayard Rustin, an out and proud black gay man who dedicated his life to fighting injustice.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 11 — Larry Kramer

June 25, 1935 - May 27, 2020. In the early ’80s, author and playwright Larry Kramer was one of the first people to sound the alarm about AIDS. He became one of the loudest voices in the fight against the epidemic, calling an indifferent world to account.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 10 — Perry Watkins

When Perry Watkins was drafted in 1968, he assumed the Army would reject him for being gay. They didn’t. When they got rid of him after 15 years of service, he fought back. As we face the systemic inequalities Covid-19 has once again laid bare, an enraging tale of prejudice, triumph, and tragedy.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 9 — Joyce Hunter

In 1939 Joyce Hunter was born into a world so hostile it’s a wonder she wasn’t crushed. Instead, the challenges and brutality she faced proved to be the launchpad for an expansive life of pioneering activism and accomplishment. A guiding light in tough times.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 8 — Morris Foote

In late 1955, the police of Boise, Idaho, started a sweeping investigation into an alleged “homosexual underground.” Fearing arrest, Morris Foote fled town, not to return till 20 years later. A story of Pride from the U.S. heartland to remind us that what unites us transcends red/blue state divides.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 7 — Ellen DeGeneres

Today, Ellen DeGeneres needs no introduction. But as she explained in a 2001 MGH interview, her very public 1997 coming out took a dramatic professional and personal toll. When life goes off the rails, there’s no knowing what the future holds. We’re challenged to push ahead to fight for better days.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 6 — Kay Lahusen’s Gay Table

When did you make gay history? Join host Eric Marcus, pioneering photojournalist Kay Lahusen, and a group of LGBTQ history-making elders for their monthly retirement community dinner. Happy memories from the recent pre-pandemic past.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 5 — Vito Russo

Vito Russo’s legacy is hard to overstate. In this 1988 interview, legacy was also very much on Vito’s mind: it was the height of the AIDS epidemic, and Vito was sick. As we remember those lost to the current pandemic, listen to Vito reflect on what it means to leave something behind.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 4 — Shirley Willer

Shirley Willer had witnessed the devastating effects of homophobia, and she was angry. She channeled her outrage into activism. Let’s listen to her story as we face the challenge of what to do with our own anger during this pandemic.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 3 — Wendell Sayers

Wendell Sayers understood isolation. As the first black lawyer to work for Colorado’s attorney general, living openly as a gay man wasn’t an option. When he attended 1950s meetings of the Mattachine Society, his race set him apart. Yet Wendell created a world for himself where he found meaning.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 2 — Edythe Eyde

Musical uplift for anxious times. When Eric Marcus interviewed lesbian publishing pioneer Edythe Eyde in 1989, she treated him to a concert for one on her front porch singing her gay songs from the '50s and '60s. You can’t not smile.

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Revisiting the Archive — Episode 1 — Frank Kameny

In 1957, Frank Kameny was fired from his job at the U.S. Army Map Service for being gay. He went on to fight the federal government for 14 years and never lost his resolve. And he won! Inspiration for us all in these challenging times.

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