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Coming Out: The LGBT Cultural Revolution Before Stonewall

In this short documentary by Orlando Bedolla and presented by California State University Los Angeles, three experts in LGBT history talk about the LGBT movement from after World War II to the 1970s. The researchers discuss early LGBT activist organizations including the Mattachine Society, the Tavern Guild in San Francisco, the Council for Religion and the Homosexual, the Daughters of Bilitis, and the Gay Liberation Front. The final frame of the film states, “The early work of these activist groups paved the way to the LGBT Rights Movement of today…”

discussion

Why does this short documentary use archival photos and testimonies of real people to tell this history? Is this history typically visible/known or invisible/unknown?

According to the documentary, how did LGBT communities surface and solidify as a result of industrialization, specifically after WWII?

What are some of the ways gays and lesbians were discriminated against historically? Specifically, how did institutions like law, psychiatry, and religion discriminate against LGBT individuals?

How did the events described in this video “[pave] the way to the LGBT Rights Movement of today?” How might discrimination against LGBT folks parallel discrimination against other groups? Do you see remnants of the historical discrimination today?