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Watch: Gay Teens Interview Gay Elders Who Came Out in The 1950s

by David Badash on February 22, 2011

in Civil Rights,Coming Out,Successes

In this video, LGBTQ teens interview two gay men and a lesbian who came out in the 1950s. The video is an interesting peek into a world six decades ago, when people were fired for being gay, or kicked out of the military/ROTC for acknowledging their orientation. (Well, those things haven’t totally changed yet, but the gravity and magnitude is a world of difference.)

Via a press release:

“In the video, three teen journalists interview gay elders about their experiences in coming out during the McCarthy era, when there was no visible gay community.  Stories include Hadley Hall, an ROTC member who was outed and summarily discharged;  Ron Rebholz, an academic who gave up a promising relationship to pursue an education because of the fear he experienced if the relationship continued;  and Phyllis Lyon, on her experiences founding of the first lesbian organization in America, the Daughters of Bilitus.”

“The Pye/Harris Project was founded by 94-year old Edgar Pye, whose sixty-year life partner Robert Harris died in 2006.  In Mr. Harris’ honor, Pye created the project to show young gay people that a simple life of commitment and dignity can be used as a powerful political statement in and of itself.”

Even though we have so much work to do, we’ve come a long way. This is an inspiring reminder, and tribute to three people who helped pave our way. Thanks to them, the teens who interviewed them, and the Pye/Harris Project for making this possible.

For an example of what homophobia was like in the 1950s, how homosexuals were equated with pedophiles, and how the pro-Prop 8 people are using this approach today: “Watch: 1950′s Film Used In Today’s Prop 8 Trial “Boys Beware







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