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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two PBS Programs Are A Must See To Understand Gay Experience In America

Gay rights in America have a long way to go.
This week, if you're looking for something fascinating and enlightening on television or to view online, two PBS programs are a must see to understand the Gay experience in America. 

Stonewall Uprising

The first program is part of the American Experience series, which runs regularly on PBS. It is titled "Stonewall Uprising".

This documentary profiles the event that launched the gay rights movement in America - an uprising at the Stone Wall Inn gay bar in New York City in 1969.

In 1969, homosexuality was a crime in all fifty states except Illinois. Being outed as a gay or lesbian person could wind you up in jail, cost you your job, get you thrown out of your dwelling and would also subject you to severe public abuse or even death.

You'll see how the Mafia took over and ran all of the gay bars in NYC, paid off the police and took advantage of its customers.

Being gay in 1969 was dangerous and could have fatal consequences. I highly recommend seeing this show so that you will get a better understanding of how things began in the gay rights movement in America. 1969 was a tumultuous time in America and the tinder was ripe for a spark. Stonewall Uprising is the result and shouldn't be missed.

Anyone and Everyone

Originally produced in 2007 by Susan Polis Schutz, this PBS program profiles a broad spectrum of parents of gay children and their children. It deals with the experience of accepting a gay child. The following came from the website. 

Connected by having a son or daughter who is gay, parents across the country discuss their experiences in the documentary Anyone and Everyone. In it, filmmaker Susan Polis Schutz, depicts families from all walks of life. Individuals from such diverse backgrounds as Japanese, Bolivian, and Cherokee, as well as from various religious denominations such as Mormon, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Hindu, and Southern Baptist, share intimate accounts of how their children revealed their sexual orientation and discuss their responses. 

The parents also talk about struggling with the pain of their sons and daughters dealing with not being accepted by relatives or friends, and being ostracized by religious congregations. 
"It was so evil and so bad that we almost couldn’t talk about it... You just had the idea it was so terrible that it was unspeakable," said a Mormon mother in the film.

"Having heard all these awful things and what homosexuality was and then having a member of your family, a person that you have seen, a child that you have seen since the child was born, a person that was absolutely wholesome, good, kind, gentle and that put together with the word lesbian didn’t add up," said a hispanic mother.

This film is especially important since up to 26% of gay teens who come out to their parents or guardians are told they must leave home. Of the approximately 1.6 million homeless American youth, 20-40% identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Nearly 40% of LGBT (GLBT) students report being physically harassed. In a 2001 Department of Health study of youth in Massachusetts, about 40 percent of gay and lesbian students attempted suicide, compared to about 10 percent of their heterosexual peers.
I could not locate the video on the PBS website or online. Although the site does have a way to acquire the film. I think it is also available on Amazon and eBay. 

Below is the trailer for the video, taken from YouTube.

What touched me most in this film was the Mormon mother's challenge of accepting her gay son. Being a second or third generation Mormon family, this was a big shock to her and to her husband. However, the way they proceeded with such logic, grace, reasoning and love is worth the time to watch this program.

A line the Mormon mother offered best summed up the gay experience. "It's not about sexuality. It's about how we love. ... What people do in their bedroom is their own business, but everyone needs someone to go to the pharmacy to pick up medication, everyone needs someone to share the popcorn with, everyone needs someone to grow old with, everyone needs and should have the right to love."

We still have a long way to go in America to grant the gay community the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. There is still a lot of hate and misunderstanding. If you're confused or have questions, I recommend these two PBS programs. They are a must see to understand the Gay experience in America.

Links to:

PBS American Experience: Stonewall Uprising

Related article:
Facebook Protection Of Marriage Page Hacked. Hysterics Ensued.

Gay Man Comes Out Of Closet As A Heterosexual

Study Shows Unplanned Pregnancy Rate In Gay Community Is Zero


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