Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive show

Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive

Summary: Intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history brought to you from rare archival interviews.

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Podcasts:

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 10: Perry Watkins | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1303

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. Visit our Season Three episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 9: Joyce Hunter | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1369

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. Visit our Season Two episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 8: Morris Foote | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1091

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. Visit our Season Two episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 7: Ellen DeGeneres | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1723

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. Visit our Season Three episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 6: Kay Lahusen's Gay Table | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1051

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. To see photos from the dinner, visit the webpage of our original Season Three bonus episode. To hear our two episodes featuring Kay Lahusen and her partner, Barbara Gittings, go here and here.

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 5: Vito Russo | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1326

Vito Russo’s legacy—as a film historian, activist, and co-founder of GLAAD and ACT UP—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, which had claimed Vito’s boyfriend, and now Vito was sick, too. As we remember the people lost to the current pandemic, listen to Vito reflect on what it means to leave something behind. Visit our Season One episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 4: Shirley Willer | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1279

“I’ve spent a large percent of my life being angry.” That was Shirley Willer, reflecting on the death of a close friend and fellow nurse who in 1947 received fatally inadequate hospital care because he was gay. Shirley channeled her anger into activism in the early homophile movement—let’s listen to her story as we face the challenge of what to do with our own anger during this pandemic that has upended our lives.  Visit our Season Two episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 3: Wendell Sayers | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1208

Wendell Sayers understood isolation. Born in western Kansas in 1904, Wendell was the first black lawyer to work for Colorado’s attorney general; living openly as a gay man wasn’t an option. When he attended meetings of the Mattachine Society in the 1950s, his race set him apart. Yet Wendell created a world for himself where he found purpose and meaning. Visit our Season One episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 2: Edythe Eyde | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1052

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. Visit the webpage of our Season One episode featuring Edythe Eyde for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Revisiting the Archive: Episode 1: Frank Kameny | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1052

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. Visit our Season One episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Bonus: From the Vault: Sylvia Rivera & Marsha P. Johnson, 1970 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1357

In 1970, a young radio reporter recorded an interview with Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and other members of the newly formed Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries—STAR. Nearly 50 years later, MGH unearthed their remarkable conversation in a basement archive.  Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Season 6: Episode 5: Damien Martin | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1966

Damien Martin grew up in foster care and on the streets of Philadelphia, so he knew all too well about the needs of vulnerable youth. In 1979, when he and his partner, Dr. Emery Hetrick, heard about a 15-year-old gay kid thrown out of a shelter after being gang-raped, they decided to take action. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Season 6: Episode 4: Nancy Walker | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1579

In 1976 Nancy Walker joined the Gay Community News, an influential Boston-based weekly paper. She was in her 40s, an outspoken New Yorker, and a moderate pragmatist. Not surprisingly, Nancy and the younger, more radical GCN staff often locked horns... Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Season 6: Episode 3: Barbara Smith | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1413

For nearly half a century, Barbara Smith has been speaking truth to power—as a woman against misogyny, as an African American against racism, as a lesbian against homophobia, and as a black lesbian against those in the gay rights movement who sideline the concerns of LGBTQ people of color.  Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

 Season 6: Episode 2: Vernon E. "Copy" Berg III | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1589

In 1975, long before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Navy asked, and Officer Copy Berg told: “Yes, I am gay.” When Copy chose to challenge the military’s ban on homosexuals, the Pentagon fought back with all guns blazing.  Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

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