History

Making Gay History

Eric Marcus

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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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Season Four - Martha Shelley

24:18 | Feb 21st

Brooklyn-born Martha Shelley was a rebel. She didn’t like being told what to do, wear, or say. She hated the lesbian bars, and after joining the Daughters of Bilitis she strained against the self-imposed limits of the homophile movement. Coming of ag...Show More
Season Four - Dick Leitsch

26:25 | Feb 7th

Read about Dick Leitsch’s life in his New York Times obituary and check out our special “In Memoriam” episode about him here. Dick Leitsch donated his personal papers to the New York Public Library (NYPL) archives. Read the New Yorker article on Leit...Show More
Season Four -Ernestine Eckstein

34:14 | Jan 24th

See the June 1966 issue of The Ladder with Eckstein on the cover here and read the interview that Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen conducted with her.  Gittings and Lahusen were featured in two MGH episodes here and here.  And Kay was featured ...Show More
Season Four - Bayard Rustin

34:09 | Jan 10th

Bayard Rustin was a key, behind-the-scenes leader of the black civil rights movement—a proponent of nonviolent protest, a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the principal organizer of the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom...Show More
Season Four - Reed Erickson

28:51 | Dec 27th, 2018

For a history of the transgender movement in the U.S., check out Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution by Susan Stryker.For a biographical overview of Erickson and his contributions to the homophile and transgender movements, check out...Show More
Season Four - Stella Rush ("Sten Russell")

21:40 | Dec 13th, 2018

Read a biographical overview of Stella Rush by Judith M. Saunders in this chapter from Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context, edited by Vern L. Bullough. In the same book,Rush herself also contributed a chapter ...Show More
Season Four - Dorr Legg, Martin Block and Jim Kepner of ONE

31:42 | Nov 29th, 2018

ONE, the first national gay magazine, attracted the attention of the FBI and was at the heart of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case. Dorr Legg, Martin Block, and Jim Kepner were key to ONE’s success. But don’t expect them to agree on its origin story...Show More
Season Four - Billye Talmadge

22:59 | Nov 15th, 2018

Investigated by the FBI, blackmailed, but bold enough to keep going, Billye Talmadge was one of the early members of the earliest lesbian rights organization in the U.S., the Daughters of Bilitis. Read a brief biography of Billye Talmadge in this pro...Show More
Season Four - Harry Hay

25:17 | Nov 1st, 2018

Read more about Harry Hay in his San Francisco Chronicle obituary. For a more in-depth look at the early days of the Mattachine Society, check out C. Todd White's Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rightsand James T. Sears’...Show More
Season Four - Magnus Hirschfeld

28:06 | Oct 25th, 2018

On the occasion of Magnus Hirschfeld’s 150th birthday in May 2018, Eric Marcus traveled to Germany to find out more about this early champion of LGBTQ civil rights. Eric found a story of queer resistance, resilience, and a fascinating mystery involvi...Show More
Season Four - Introduction

17:19 | Oct 25th, 2018

This season, Making Gay History uncovers voices from the early movement for LGBTQ civil rights.  Eric Marcus introduces trailblazers from as far back as Germany in the late 1800s to the folks who stood up and stepped up for equal rights in the US in ...Show More
Season Four - Trailer

04:05 | Oct 11th, 2018

Season Four of Making Gay History will feature more never-before-heard archival interviews with trailblazers from LGBTQ history. This season will trace some of the earliest moments and movements. These are powerful, life-affirming and life-changing c...Show More
Farewell Dick Leitsch

11:51 | Jun 23rd, 2018

May 11, 1935 - June 22nd, 2018.  Dick Leitch, Kentucky native, New Yorker at heart, one-time president of the Mattachine Society of New York, was an early gay rights advocate who challenged police entrapment and championed the rights of gay people to...Show More
Pride Bonus: Kay Lahusen’s Gay Table

15:21 | Jun 21st, 2018

Join us as Making Gay History pulls up a chair at Kay Tobin Lahusen’s monthly gay dinner table. Spend some time with this gang of elders and hear how love, friendship, and activism live on for these trailblazers—even in their retirement community. 
Love is Love

11:55 | Feb 14th, 2018

Four stories of the moments that changed everything. The right to love and be loved for who we are has always been a driving force in the fight for LGBT civil rights and in this special bonus episode Eric shares love stories from his archive featurin...Show More
Morty Manford

24:40 | Dec 28th, 2017

Teenaged Morty Manford came of age in the 1960s, at a time when psychiatrists often did more harm than good with young people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality in a world that had nothing nice to say about homosexuals. But once Morty s...Show More
Greg Brock

18:52 | Dec 21st, 2017

Greg Brock blazed a trail for LGBTQ journalists by being himself at a time when doing that could sabotage your career or cost you your job.  But Greg didn't just come out on the job, he came out to everyone on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" for the first N...Show More
Paulette Goodman

21:44 | Dec 14th, 2017

Paulette Goodman’s experience of growing up as a Jewish child in Paris during the Nazi occupation gave her a unique perspective as the parent of a gay child who faced discrimination in the country where Paulette’s family sought refuge.  Paulette knew...Show More
Morris Kight

19:58 | Dec 7th, 2017

Morris Kight was a whirling dervish champion of LGBTQ civil rights. He cut his activist teeth in the labor, civil rights, and anti-war movements, and from 1969 on brought all his passion to bear on catapulting himself and L.A.’s gay liberation effort...Show More
Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin

22:27 | Nov 30th, 2017

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin were the originals. With six other women, they co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis - the very first lesbian organization in the US. DOB seems tame and timid today, but in 1955 it was risky and radical for a fearful time.Ph...Show More
Larry Kramer

23:40 | Nov 23rd, 2017

Until 1981, Larry Kramer was best known for his Academy Award-nominated screenplay for “Women in Love” and Faggots, his controversial novel about New York City’s gay subculture in the post-Stonewall 1970s.  And then he picked up the New York Times on...Show More
Deborah Johnson & Zandra Rolón Amato

19:26 | Nov 16th, 2017

In 1983, Deborah Johnson and Zandra Rolón Amato went to a Los Angeles restaurant for what was supposed to be a romantic dinner.  Instead they wound up in court, and won. Represented by Gloria Allred. their landmark discrimination case has particular ...Show More
J.J. Belanger

22:11 | Nov 9th, 2017

You may know his face from an iconic 1953 photo booth photo.  But there’s a full life’s story behind that photo that includes love, heartbreak, Alfred Kinsey, and fighting for trans rights.
Ellen DeGeneres

26:10 | Nov 2nd, 2017

Everybody loves Ellen.  But that wasn’t always so.  When she came out on screen and in real life the backlash was fierce and her future cast in doubt. In this 2001 interview hear a beloved icon at a crossroads.
Perry Watkins

21:42 | Oct 26th, 2017

Sergeant Perry Watkins played by the rules.  The U.S military did not.  Drafted in 1968, he was thrown out fifteen years later despite his honesty and stellar record of service.  He fought back and won.
Sylvia Rivera Part 2

19:04 | Oct 22nd, 2017

Welcome back to Sylvia’s kitchen, for the second part of a never-before-heard interview from 1989. Pull up a chair for a conversation with the Stonewall veteran and trans rights pioneer who reflects on a life of activism while she cooks a pot of chil...Show More
Season Three Preview

04:12 | Oct 19th, 2017

We’re back with more stories from queer history as told by the people who lived it.  Drawing on decades-old archival audio tape, you’ll hear intimate, personal interviews with LGBTQ civil rights pioneers.
Edythe Eyde's Gay Gal's Mixtape

13:23 | Oct 11th, 2017

Already a visionary with her pioneering lesbian 'zine Vice Versa in the 1940s, "Gay Gal" Edythe Eyde broke the mold again when she started singing positive ballads and gay-friendly parodies in LA's gay clubs in the 1950s. 
Rewind: Sylvia Rivera

10:58 | Oct 5th, 2017

Season 3 arrives Oct 22nd! While you wait, here's another chance to hear trans icon, and Stonewall uprising veteran Sylvia Rivera relive that June 1969 night in vivid detail and describe her struggle for recognition in the movement.
Tom Cassidy

23:21 | May 4th, 2017

CNN business anchor Tom Cassidy kept his “private life” strictly separate from his public life.  Three decades ago he had to.  But then he was diagnosed with AIDS.
Joyce Hunter

22:36 | Apr 27th, 2017

Joyce’s childhood and adolescence were stolen from her. Determined to keep that from happening to other LGBTQ youth, she survived years in an orphanage, suicide attempts, and a brutal anti-gay attack to change the lives of countless of young people. 
Smith and Donaldson

22:14 | Apr 20th, 2017

Four years before the 1969 uprising at NYC’s Stonewall Inn, a San Francisco confrontation between the police and that city’s LGBT community proved a turning point. Gay attorneys Herbert Donaldson and Evander Smith were among the night’s heroes.
Gittings and Lahusen

20:20 | Apr 13th, 2017

When the Stonewall uprising upended the 1960s homophile movement, Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen refused to be put out to pasture.  They brought all their passion, humor, and determination to the gay lib ‘70s and showed the youngsters how it was do...Show More
Herb Selwyn

22:02 | Apr 6th, 2017

Herb Selwyn never hesitated to stick his neck out for others. That included gay people at a time when other straight attorneys cashed in on the persecution of homosexuals and gay attorneys were too frightened to represent a despised minority.
Morris Foote

17:16 | Mar 30th, 2017

On November 2, 1955, when 30-year-old Morris read on the front page of the newspaper that Boise police were rounding up and arresting gay men, he did the only thing he could think of. He ran. He didn't feel safe setting foot in Boise for the next 20 ...Show More
Jean O'Leary - Part 2

15:27 | Mar 26th, 2017

Jean O’Leary had a vision for the national LGBTQ civil rights movement.  On March 26, 1977 she led the first delegation of lesbian and gay activists to the White House.  And in 1988 she co-founded National Coming Out Day. 
Jean O'Leary - Part 1

18:05 | Mar 23rd, 2017

Jean O’Leary was passionate—about women, nuns, feminism, and equal rights.  She left an indelible mark on the women’s movement and the LGBTQ civil rights movement, but not without causing controversy, too.  After all, she was a troublemaker.  And pro...Show More
Hal Call

21:58 | Mar 16th, 2017

Hal Call never minced words.  The midwestern newspaperman and WWII vet wrested control of the Mattachine Society from its founders and went on to fight police oppression and champion sexual freedom.  He also made more than a few enemies along the way...Show More
Shirley Willer

18:19 | Mar 9th, 2017

Shirley Willer had good reason to be angry—she was beaten by the police and a dear friend was allowed to die. Because they were gay. She channeled that anger into action, traveling the country in the 1960s to launch new chapters of gay rights organiz...Show More
Marsha P. Johnson and Randy Wicker

17:06 | Mar 2nd, 2017

A never before heard interview with Marsha P. Johnson and Randy Wicker - two very different heroes of the early LGBT civil rights movement. Marsha was a founder of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries.  Randy led the first gay demonstration...Show More
Season Two - Preview

04:29 | Feb 23rd, 2017

Making Gay History is back with more hidden histories mined from Eric Marcus’s 30-year-old audio archive.  Ten new episodes featuring intimate, personal interviews with pioneers in the struggle for LGBTQ civil rights—some known and some long-forgotte...Show More
Bonus Episode - Love is Love

11:55 | Feb 14th, 2017

The right to love and be loved for who we are has always been a driving force in the fight for LGBT civil rights. Eric shares four special love stories from his archive featuring activists who helped change the course of history.
Vito Russo

21:42 | Dec 15th, 2016

The late author and activist Vito Russo is best known for his 1981 landmark book, The Celluloid Closet:  Homosexuality in the Movies, and for co-founding both GLAAD (originally known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and ACT UP (the ...Show More
Barbara Gittings and Kay "Tobin" Lahusen

21:07 | Dec 8th, 2016

A dynamic duo, self-described gay rights fanatics and life partners Barbara Gittings and Kay “Tobin” Lahusen helped supercharge the nascent movement in the 1960s and brought their creativity, passion, determination, and good humor to the Gay Liberati...Show More
Dear Abby

15:14 | Dec 1st, 2016

A generation ago, tens of millions of people turned to  “Dear Abby” in her daily  newspaper column for advice.  Long before others did, and at considerable risk, she used her platform and celebrity in support of gay people and their equal rights.
Chuck Rowland

18:49 | Nov 23rd, 2016

A WWII veteran who co-founded one of the first LGBT rights groups, the Mattachine Society, in 1950—a time when gay people were considered sick, sinful, criminal, and a threat to national security. Dr Evelyn Hooker described Chuck as “a natural organi...Show More
Jeanne and Morty Manford

18:25 | Nov 17th, 2016

A mother's love turns her into a quiet revolutionary. When Jeanne Manford’s son Morty (himself a leader in the movement) was badly beaten at a protest in 1972, she took action and founded an organization for parents of gays known today as PFLAG.
Frank Kameny

19:55 | Nov 10th, 2016

Frank Kameny lived a long and extraordinary life.  He was fired from his federal government job in 1957 because he was gay.  He didn’t just go home and pull the covers over his head.  He fought a successful eighteen-year-battle with the government to...Show More
Dr Evelyn Hooker

17:34 | Nov 3rd, 2016

In 1945 Dr. Evelyn Hooker’s gay friend Sam From urged her to do a study challenging the commonly held belief that homosexuals were by nature mentally ill.  It was work that would ultimately strip the “sickness” label from millions of gay men and wome...Show More
Edythe Eyde a.k.a. Lisa Ben

15:33 | Oct 27th, 2016

Edythe Eyde moved to Los Angeles in 1945 and by 1947 was working as a secretary at RKO Pictures where she used her office typewriter as a printing press to publish her landmark “magazine” for lesbians, “Vice Versa.”  In the 1950s, when Edythe started...Show More
Wendell Sayers

15:51 | Oct 20th, 2016

We don’t know much about Wendell Sayers beyond what he shared in his original 1989 interview for the Making Gay History book and the little we found in our research.  He was born in Western Kansas on April 29, 1904, and died on March 27, 1998.  He wa...Show More
Sylvia Rivera

13:03 | Oct 13th, 2016

A never before heard conversation with trans icon, self-described “drag queen,” and Stonewall uprising veteran Sylvia Rivera. Sylvia relives that June 1969 night in vivid detail and describes her struggle for recognition in the movement.Sylvia would ...Show More
Season 1: Preview

04:00 | Oct 5th, 2016

Coming up in the first season of Making Gay History - personal stories mined from Eric Marcus's rare audio archive of interviews with LGBTQ champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.Music: "Divider" by Chris ZabriskieLicense: https://creativecommon...Show More