Learn your history.! It may come in handy one day.
“Before Stonewall” is a groundbreaking documentary released in 1984, directed by Greta Schiller and Robert Rosenberg, which explores the history of LGBT+ life in the United States before the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Through interviews, archival footage, and personal stories, the film paints a vivid picture of the struggles, triumphs, and resilience of the LGBT+ community in the face of discrimination, oppression, and invisibility.
The narrative then traces the early gay rights movements, exploring the establishment of clandestine gay organizations, such as the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, which provided spaces for community building and political activism. The film highlights key figures like Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine Society, and Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, pioneering lesbian activists.
The documentary also examines the role of LGBT+ individuals in the arts and entertainment industry. It explores the lives of openly gay artists and writers who defied societal norms and pushed boundaries, including poet Allen Ginsberg, novelist Ann Bannon, and playwright Tennessee Williams.
As the documentary nears its conclusion, it portrays the events leading up to the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a pivotal moment in LGBT+ history. The uprising, sparked by a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City, marked a turning point in the fight for LGBT+ rights, igniting a wave of protests, demonstrations, and the birth of the modern LGBT+ rights movement.
Before Stonewall” is a powerful documentary that illuminates the hidden history of LGBT+ life before the Stonewall Riots. Through personal stories, historical context, and interviews with key figures, the film sheds light on the struggles, triumphs, and contributions of the LGBT+ community.
You can watch the full documentary below and Happy PRIDE!
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