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Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive

Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive

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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Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 6: Making History

Being HIV+ was a virtual death sentence. So why get tested? But by 1988 there is a promising, if toxic, drug shown to extend life. Eric and Barry schedule their first test just as Eric starts work on his oral history book about the gay and lesbian civil rights movement. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2021-09-10
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Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 5: In or Out

?You?re doing too many stories on AIDS.? The word had come down from on high at CBS This Morning. Eric didn?t want anyone to think he was biased, but as the only out gay person on the production staff, he felt an obligation to cover the growing epidemic. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2021-08-27
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Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 4: Complications of AIDS

?I hope you both die of AIDS,? the young man in the pickup truck yells at Eric and Barry as they wait for the light to change while on a run in Central Park. By 1985, the AIDS crisis has arrived on their doorstep. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2021-08-12
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Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 3: 318 West 22nd Street

A straight drug addict. A gay waiter on a ventilator. Eric is confronted with the reality of AIDS when he volunteers for the Gay Men?s Health Crisis. Decades later, he speaks with his client?s widow, for whom AIDS is a daily reality. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2021-07-30
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Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 2: Not Alone

Even as the epidemic spreads, a rousing AIDS fundraiser at the circus, a new boyfriend, and journalism school combine to bring joy, a sense of community, and purpose into Eric?s life. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2021-07-15
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Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 1: Buried Headline

?Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals,? said the New York Times headline on July 3, 1981. It was the first time Eric Marcus read about what came to be known as AIDS. Nothing for me to worry about, he decided, and turned the page. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2021-07-01
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Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Preview

AIDS first made national news 40 years ago. MGH host Eric Marcus was 22 at the time, a gay kid in search of love and a career in New York City. In this six-part audio memoir, Eric explores his memories of the early years of the epidemic and reconnects with people whose lives intersected with his. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2021-06-24
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Bonus: Remembering Kay Lahusen

In memoriam: Kay Lahusen, January 5, 1930 - May 26, 2021. Kay was a monumental figure in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. From the earliest homophile protests to gay liberation and beyond, she never stopped fighting for equality?with Barbara Gittings, her partner in life and activism, by her side. Visit our episode webpage for the episode transcript and for links to background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2021-05-27
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MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 8: Meg Christian

Olivia Records cofounder Meg Christian helped ignite the women?s music movement of the 1970s with lesbian classics like ?Ode to a Gym Teacher.? Meet Meg, in song and conversation, in our final episode drawn from the Studs Terkel Radio Archive.  Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2021-01-07
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MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 7: Leonard Matlovich

When Leonard Matlovich was thrown out of the Air Force for being gay, he sued for reinstatement. It was 1975 and it was the first case of its kind. Hear the LGBTQ rights pioneer?and startlingly frank one-time racist?in conversation with Studs Terkel. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-12-24
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MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 6: Jill Johnston

Sparks flew when radical lesbian feminist Jill Johnston sat down for an interview with Studs Terkel in 1973. Jill had just published a controversial manifesto called ?Lesbian Nation,? which advocated that women break with men entirely. It was provocative stuff?even for the usually unflappable Studs. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-12-10
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MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 5: Mattachine Midwest

A half-century ago, Studs Terkel interviewed three members of the homophile group Mattachine Midwest: the organization?s president, a student activist, and lesbian pulp author Valerie Taylor. Join them for a wide-ranging and laugh-filled conversation about gay liberation both personal and political. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-11-26
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MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 4: Quentin Crisp

From a young age, Quentin Crisp was determined to be himself?makeup, painted nails, dramatically dyed hair, and all?even if it consigned him to a life of poverty and isolation. Hear the author, raconteur, and provocateur in a 1970 conversation with Studs Terkel before he found late-in-life fame. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-11-12
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MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 3: "Les-Lee"

Canadian female impersonator John Falk Tomkinson appeared around the globe under the stage name Les-Lee for over three decades. In 1967 Studs Terkel interviewed the performer to talk about his art and upbringing, and his experiences of being ?different.?   Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-10-29
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MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 2: Lorraine Hansberry

In 1959 Lorraine Hansberry became the first Black woman to have a play produced on Broadway. Soon after ?A Raisin in the Sun? made history, the 28-year-old writer and activist talked to Studs Terkel about racial and gender inequity and the role of art in confronting difficult truths about our world. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-10-15
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MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 1: Christopher Isherwood

Author Christopher Isherwood left England for Germany in 1929. His stories about his years there inspired the musical ?Cabaret,? which shaped the image of decadent interwar Berlin in the popular imagination. But as he told Studs Terkel in this 1977 interview, to him, Berlin meant, above all, boys. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-10-01
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MGH & Studs Terkel Radio Archive: Preview

Making Gay History is back! Join us as we mine the Studs Terkel Radio Archive in Chicago for stories from our proud LGBTQ past to bring you eight intimate conversations conducted between 1959 and 1981 by the legendary oral historian. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-10-01
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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. Visit the webpages for our Season Two episodes with Jean O'Leary?part 1 and part 2?for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-06-18
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Introducing Those Who Were There: Voices from the Holocaust: Leon Bass

MGH is Eric Marcus?s first love. But he also co-produces Those Who Were There. Have a listen to this episode featuring Leon Bass. He faced racism growing up in 1930s Philadelphia, in the Army during WWII, and discovered its ultimate endpoint at a German concentration camp. Subscribe to Those Who Were There: Voices from the Holocaust wherever you get your podcasts, or visit thosewhowerethere.org.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-06-14
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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. Visit our Season Four episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-06-07
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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. Visit our Season Three episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-05-29
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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. Visit our Season Three episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-05-23
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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. Visit our Season Two episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-05-16
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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. Visit our Season Two episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-05-09
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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. Visit our Season Three episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-05-02
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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. 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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-04-25
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Revisiting the Archive: Episode 5: Vito Russo

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-04-18
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Revisiting the Archive: Episode 4: Shirley Willer

?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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-04-11
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Revisiting the Archive: Episode 3: Wendell Sayers

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-04-04
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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. Visit the webpage of our Season One episode featuring Edythe Eyde for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-03-28
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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. Visit our Season One episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2020-03-21
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Bonus: From the Vault: Sylvia Rivera & Marsha P. Johnson, 1970

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-12-27
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Season 6: Episode 5: Damien Martin

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-12-19
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Season 6: Episode 4: Nancy Walker

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-12-05
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Season 6: Episode 3: Barbara Smith

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-11-21
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Season 6: Episode 2: Vernon E. "Copy" Berg III

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-11-07
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Season 6: Episode 1: Ruth Simpson

There?s a war on out there. That was Ruth Simpson?s Stonewall takeaway?and she was ready to fight. But when Ruth pushed the NY chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis to be more political, the FBI and the police took note. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-10-24
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Season 6: Preview

Making Gay History mines Eric Marcus?s 30-year-old audio archive of rare interviews to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to LGBTQ history. In this preview, we offer a taste of what?s to come in season six, featuring the compelling voices of Ruth Simpson, Copy Berg, Barbara Smith, Nancy Walker, and Damien Martin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-10-24
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Bonus: Stonewall 50 Minisode: Craig Rodwell

This was the moment Craig Rodwell had been waiting for. He?d been bumping up against the limits of how far the Mattachine Society was willing to challenge the status quo. And when the Stonewall uprising blew things wide open, Craig grabbed the reins and never looked back. Visit our website for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-06-28
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Bonus: Stonewall 50 Minisode: Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen

Stonewall turned the page on the homophile movement. Pre-Stonewall activists like Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen were dinosaurs in the eyes of some of the gay liberationists, and they found themselves fighting for a place in the new chapter of LGBTQ history that unfolded after the riots.  Visit our website for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-06-28
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Bonus: Stonewall 50 Minisode: Morty Manford

Nineteen-year-old Columbia University student Morty Manford thought it was just another night at the Stonewall Inn, but then the police swept in and the raid was on. Morty shared his memories of that night with Eric Marcus in this archival interview from 1989.  Visit our website for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-06-28
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Bonus: Stonewall 50 Minisode: Marsha P. Johnson & Randy Wicker

A rebroadcast of Eric?s 1989 interview with Marsha P. Johnson and Randy Wicker. Hear conflicting perspectives on Stonewall from this pair of unlikely roommates. Marsha co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries after Stonewall; Randy had led the way in the earlier homophile movement. Visit our website for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-06-28
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Stonewall 50: Episode 4: Live from Stonewall

What made Stonewall different? How can we carry the lessons of the uprising with us today? Eric is joined by one archivist and four activists to answer those questions in an intergenerational conversation recorded at the Stonewall Inn on May 23, 2019. Visit our episode webpage for background information, photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-06-27
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Stonewall 50: Episode 3: "Say it Loud! Gay and Proud!"

Like so many other acts of queer resistance, the 1969 Stonewall riots could have become a footnote in history. But the protests and organizing that followed launched a new phase in the fight for LGBTQ rights. Hear how queer anger found its voice and how joy propelled the first pride marches. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-06-20
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Stonewall 50: Episode 2: ?Everything Clicked? And The Riot Was On?

The Stonewall uprising began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. Revisit that moment, and the hours and days that followed, with voices from the Making Gay History archive. Relive in vivid detail the dawning of a new chapter in the fight for LGBTQ rights. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-06-13
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Stonewall 50: Episode 1: Prelude to a Riot

Conflict has context. In the first episode of Making Gay History?s Stonewall 50 season, we hear stories from the pre-Stonewall struggle for LGBTQ rights. We travel back in time to hear voices from the turbulent 1960s and take you to the tinderbox that was Greenwich Village on the eve of an uprising. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-06-06
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Stonewall 50: Preview

A special season of Making Gay History to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Hear the voices of the rioters, and of the activists who turned a riot into Gay Liberation?a new and expansive phase in the LGBTQ rights movement. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-05-24
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Season 4: Episode 11: Martha Shelley

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 even after joining the Daughters of Bilitis she strained against the self-imposed limits of the homophile movement. All along, the 1960s revolution called to her. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-02-21
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Season 4: Episode 10: Dick Leitsch

Dick Leitsch came to New York City in the early 1960s to smoke cigarettes, drink cocktails, and pick up handsome young men. He got his wish and then some, but the native Kentuckian also took on the police and political power brokers to successfully fight entrapment and discrimination. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-02-07
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Season 4: Episode 9: Ernestine Eckstein

Ernestine Eckstein is an iconic figure from the 1960s homophile movement?from photos showing her as the only African American woman at the earliest protests, to her trailblazing cover story in The Ladder. Now we can put a voice to those images with a never-before-heard 1965 interview. Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
2019-01-24
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