Even though PBS dropped the ball when it came to the sequel to their hit miniseries, Tales of the City, (History Note: PBS broadcast the British produced television production of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City novel back in 1993 to cheers from the gay community, huge ratings and public protests about the “promotion” of homosexuality, nudity and drug use in the series. PBS got nervous and pulled the plug on co-producing the sequel.) But, PBS has also offered hours of positive reporting on LGBTQ issues over the years, including the news magazine series, In the Life. The public network steps up to the plate again, on Monday, April 25 with the local telecast of the American Experience documentary, Stonewall Uprising, a moving look at the event that sparked the Gay Rights Movement. It airs at 8pm on KCTS (and at various other dates and times nationally) and will be followed by another LGBTQ documentary, Out in Silence which airs at 10:30pm, Monday. As for the American Experience film:
“Stonewall Uprising” explores the dramatic event that launched a worldwide rights movement. Told by those who took part, from drag queens and street hustlers to police detectives, journalists and a former mayor of New York, and featuring a rich trove of archival footage, this film revisits a time when homosexual acts were illegal throughout America, and homosexuality itself was seen as a form of mental illness. Hunted and often entrapped by undercover police in their hometowns, gays from around the U.S. began fleeing to New York in search of a sanctuary. Hounded there still by an aggressive police force, they found refuge in a Mafia-run gay bar in Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn. When police raided Stonewall on June 28, 1969, gay men and women did something they had not done before: they fought back. As the streets of New York erupted into violent protests and street demonstrations, the collective anger announced that the gay rights movement had arrived.
The documentary that follows, Out in Silence, “follows the story of a small American town confronting a firestorm of controversy ignited by a same-sex wedding announcement in the local newspaper. This gripping documentary illustrates the challenges of being an outsider in a conservative rural community and the change that is possible when courageous people break the silence and search from common ground.”
If that wasn’t enough PBS generated attention for the LGBTQ community, the locally produced KCTS Connects with Enrique Serna will devote their next episode, tomorrow, Friday April 22 at 7pm, to “A Fight for Rights” which focuses on Seattle’s own version of Stonewall. A conservative backlash against LGBTQ rights in 1978 led to the proposal of “Initiative 13”, a measure to repeal laws protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation. This local chapter of LGBTQ Rights history had national ramifications in an area dominated by the bigotry of Anita Bryant. It’s a must see film.
Check out all three of these programs on KCTS Channel 9.