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Making Gay History is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that brings the history of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement to life through the voices of the people who lived it.

Season 12

Season 12 — Preview

The decade between Stonewall and the 1979 March on Washington lives in the shadow of the AIDS crisis and all that came after. In this six-part season, Eric Marcus explores the heady years of gay liberation and the backlash that followed against the backdrop of his own coming of age as a gay teen.

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Coming of Age During the 1970s — Chapter One: A Surge of Energy

The Stonewall uprising ignites an explosion of protests and organizing that transforms a small, often tentative homophile movement into a newly assertive national force that demands gay liberation and equality. In a Puerto Rico hotel pool, 12-year-old Eric experiences a transformation of his own.

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Coming of Age During the 1970s — Chapter Two: Fire Island and Other Stories

While activists are demonstrating, filing lawsuits, and pushing for anti-discrimination laws, 16-year-old Eric is on a ferry to Fire Island, a legendary gay refuge off Long Island, with his neighbor Rev. Mullen—a trip that would introduce him to a vivid slice of mid-1970s gay life, ready or not.

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Coming of Age During the 1970s — Chapter Three: Family Ties

When Jeanne Manford’s gay son is badly beaten at a 1972 GAA protest, the shy elementary school teacher takes a stand. She cofounds the organization now known as PFLAG and launches a movement that harnesses the strength of our fiercest allies: parents and the other people who love us.

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Coming of Age During the 1970s — Chapter Four: Respectable

Gay rights activists in NYC are first out of the gate to propose anti-discrimination legislation, confident it will sail through the City Council. Instead, they hit a wall of ignorance and bigotry. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Eric happens upon some revelatory literature in his dentist’s waiting room.

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Coming of Age During the 1970s — Chapter Five: Thank You, Anita

Eric gets an A on his freshman sociology paper, “Marginal Man: The Alcoholic and the Homosexual.” But his sunny predictions for the future of the gay rights movement are met with skepticism from his professor. Mere weeks later, Anita Bryant launches her anti-gay “Save Our Children” campaign.

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Coming of Age During the 1970s — Chapter Six: Marching On

In 1978 Harvey Milk calls on gay people to gather in D.C. the next year to protest the anti-gay campaigns of Anita Bryant and her ilk. Organizers are stymied by internal conflicts until Milk’s assassination galvanizes them and a date for a national march is set. But will anyone show up?

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