About

This is an excerpt from an hour-long 1967 CBS documentary, narrated by anchor Mike Wallace, which was the first network documentary that dealt with the topic of homosexuality. It aired only once. The documentary calls homosexuality “a subject that people find disturbing and embarrassing” and describes public opinion regarding homosexuality using words and phrases like “repelled by the mere notion,” “hatred,” “and more harmful to society than adultery, abortion, and prostitution.”  Wallace interviews mental health experts (who then believed homosexuality to be a disease), law enforcement personnel (who deemed it criminal), average persons on the street, as well as individuals from within the gay community.

Discussion

What did you find surprising about this video? How does it compare to popular media discussions of homosexuality 50+ years later?

How would you describe the tone of the documentary? Does the tone change throughout the course of the documentary?  

What are the “takeaway” characteristics of a homosexual person that the viewer may learn from this video?

What impact do you think the airing of documentaries like this had on public perceptions of homosexuality in the 1960s and beyond?