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January 17, 2012 10:20 AM   Subscribe

The Gay Rights Movement in 7 minutes. [SLYT]
posted by schmod (25 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Powerful video. Here is the filmmaker's kickstarter page for more information on his project. He is a little over halfway to his goal of $50,000 to fund the documentary.
posted by robstercraw at 10:24 AM on January 17, 2012


A US-centric caveat applies to this video, if it wasn't already obvious.

Also, I'd somehow never seen the press conference where Dianne Feinstein announced the deaths of Harvey Milk and George Moscone (at 1:08 in the video from the FPP). The shriek from the crowd sent chills down my spine -- in the age of Twitter and 24-hour news, seeing a crowd collectively react like that was really jarring to me.
posted by schmod at 10:27 AM on January 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


That brought tears to my eyes.
posted by explosion at 10:56 AM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like this video, but I agree with this analysis highlighting the almost total lack of women or people of color being represented.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 10:57 AM on January 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Besides the overrepresentation of white gay men, I'm surprised there was no footage relating to the first legal same-sex weddings in the US, in MA, on the 50th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education.

The city of Cambridge began issuing marriage licenses just after midnight, and there was a huge supportive crowd there, straight and gay, and only a few protesters (Phelps family, mostly). I was there and stayed to cheer every couple that came out with a marriage license, up until the last folks came out of city hall at something like 0400 in the morning. One of the last couples were gay men who had been together for 49 years and had a bunch of photos of them together through the years taped to a poster. Positively heartwarming and well-worth the long night.

I like to think I helped create good publicity for that night - on my way over to Cambridge city hall, I bought some little American flags and handed them out to folks I knew. So when some big weekly (Time? Newsweek? whatever my parents were subscribing to at the time) mentioned that members of the crowd were waving American flags, well, I like to think that was partly my doing.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:59 AM on January 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


The shriek from the crowd sent chills down my spine -- in the age of Twitter and 24-hour news, seeing a crowd collectively react like that was really jarring to me.

I've seen that scene more times than I can count (I've seen The Times of Harvey Milk a lot, and it's been used in other places, I'm sure), and it never fails to make my eyes well up.
posted by rtha at 11:02 AM on January 17, 2012


Oh, and as for more women and people of color, I totally hope they try for and get rights to bits from The Children's Hour. I think of that as the classic OH NOOO! LOOK OUT IT'S LESBIANS! media image.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:03 AM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


GLbt

Totally neglects huge segments of the GLBT rights movement. I guess it's labeled "the gay rights movement", but that's a misnomer -- there is no gay rights movement without the broader GLBT movement.

It's a good start, though.
posted by jiawen at 11:06 AM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


A US-centric caveat applies to this video, if it wasn't already obvious.

Yeah. Too bad the title implies otherwise.

We've had same-sex marriage in some provinces in Canada for NINE YEARS. It's been legal coast to coast to coast since 2005. And it doesn't even merit a sound bite in this mess?

I do love Sara Silverman and add: If you're committed to marrying your opposite-sex partner, at least make the effort to get married in a jurisdiction where same-sex marriage (or something approaching it) is permissible as well.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 12:30 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Its inclusiveness or lack thereof is problematic but it still reduced this 28 y.o. white gay man to sobbing.
posted by khedron at 1:29 PM on January 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh, and as for more women and people of color, I totally hope they try for and get rights to bits from The Children's Hour. I think of that as the classic OH NOOO! LOOK OUT IT'S LESBIANS! media image.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:03 PM on January 17 [+] Favorite removed! [!]


I think of it as being anti-"Oh, no it's lesbians," given that the villain of the film (as well as the play) is the little girl who wants to wreck their lives and the town who ostracizes them. I know it does have the dreaded dead-lesbian ending, but in the context of the film, it's tragic, not problem-solving. (Or maybe it's just that I was half-in love with Shirley McLaine's Martha). Anyways, it was one of the more important things I watched/read as part of my coming out (as bi) process, along with Maurice (book and film), The Well of Loneliness and Patience and Sarah.
posted by jb at 2:07 PM on January 17, 2012


I can't wait to watch this at home with a box of tissues.
posted by desjardins at 2:13 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've seen that scene more times than I can count (I've seen The Times of Harvey Milk a lot, and it's been used in other places, I'm sure), and it never fails to make my eyes well up.

I was too young to know about the import of this event when it happened and I didn't see and visit and move to San Francisco till many, many years later, but that one event still seems to haunt City Hall, no matter how much time has passed and how different a city SF is now. I was never able to look at the windows of City Hall without thinking about one of them being the window that Dan White sneaked through to evade the metal detectors and another of them being a window in a supervisor's office looking out at the War Memorial Opera House, probably the last sight Harvey Milk saw before he fell.
posted by blucevalo at 2:29 PM on January 17, 2012


The ghost of Magnus Hirschfeld is trying very hard not to sneer.

It's a gay rights movement, but it's not the gay rights movement.
posted by sonascope at 2:30 PM on January 17, 2012


Sort of entirely skips over all the battles for legitimacy fought for and won in the 1970s, and ignores the extremely awesome works of ACT-UP in the face of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Doesn't talk at all about equal housing and employment victories won jurisdiction by jurisdiction over the decades. Really focuses on events of the past 20 years or so, which isn't surprising given the age of Yezak.

It's a touching video and quite well done, but I'd really like to point this 23 year old filmmaker to my roundup of online day documentaries so he could flesh out his understanding of this battle for equality which has been going on since the 1950s, more than twice his lifetime.
posted by hippybear at 2:59 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, wow, I was surprised and rather offended that ACT UP wasn't mentioned. And no Stonewall? The title is super misleading. It's amazing how far we've come, but we can't really see that unless we've seen where we've been.
posted by desjardins at 4:03 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


jb: it's just that I was half-in love with Shirley McLaine's Martha
Yeah, me too. *swoon*

You're right that it's not so much "evil lesbians" but I think it does get across the message that the response to potential lesbians is GREAT PANIC. And afaik, this was one of the first real (comparatively) overt displays of lesbianism in mainstream cinema. Plus, I think of the whole climactic conversation with Martha saying "There was always something wrong! ... I'm guilty! Guilty!" as being downright iconic.

... And now that I think of that, I wonder if the filmmaker has seen "The Celluloid Closet".
posted by rmd1023 at 5:09 PM on January 17, 2012


To be honest, once I watched the pitch video in his kickstarter dealio, it made me start wondering if this was all actually a very clever work of satire, because if you can get past the fact that the guy's completely hung up on cutesy edits that send him bouncing around the goddamn screen like a pinball in mid-sentence, it seems pretty clear that there's a whole lot of doe-eyed ignorance under all that earnestness.

"A majority of citizens of this country are not aware that this inequality exists?"

Really? Seriously? People aren't aware? That's the problem? Does life exist outside of Glee?

Yeah, I know. I'm a grouchy old guy. I was reminded of this the other day when I was in a group of coworkers who are all so much younger than me that it suddenly struck me that not one of them would know who Kukla, Fran, and Ollie were without bringing up wikipedia on their iPhones. Still, there's more than a few what the hell? moments in there that make me despair for the next generation. Maybe I'm just mad because at my satirical best, I could never cram as many embarrassing cliches and overwrought preening angstiness into one brilliant hunk of OMG as his "Dear Rick Perry" video.

It's okay. It's his generation's turn, more or less, but the thought that loud, angry, outspoken earnest young me at 25 must have seemed exactly like that to the elders I accused of not moving quickly enough to righteousness is just...youch. Maybe people in that demographic don't know these things, and it's just me and my cognitive dissonance not getting it. When I was young and queer, I was desperate for history, and tore through the literature of the movement, from the prehistory to the then-current AIDS catastrophe writing, music, and art. It's even easier now, but people don't seem to bother. Maybe this is as good as it gets.

Sigh.
posted by sonascope at 5:47 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sigh. I post something that I thought was wonderful, and Metafilter (correctly) explains to me why it's secretly a horrible thing, and that I really should have been ashamed for liking it. Such is my life...

(Although I didn't link to the kickstarter project on purpose, because I also found the guy to be kind of obnoxious)
posted by schmod at 6:38 PM on January 17, 2012


Oh, I don't think it's horrible per se. It's actually okay for being an apparently random collection of clips without a narrative, and hits some good emotional notes, but it's just so relentlessly one thing that it sort of invokes a discussion that's not quite what the filmmaker intended. I think that's worth exploring, too. I'm not in this guy's demographic by a long shot, so there's a degree to which I'm confused by his focus and random presentation, but I'm not against the earnestness of his project—I just don't get what he aims to do that distinguishes this from a selection of random clips. Just out of curiosity, though, I sent it to my nieces, because I'm interested in their take.

That said, my cranky response is more to the filmmaker than the piece in the FPP, so I'll concede I'm off on a tangent.
posted by sonascope at 7:01 PM on January 17, 2012


Yeah, I don't think it's horrible at all. I just don't think it's really as all encompassing as the filmmaker perhaps thinks it is, and I love the progression it depicts, I just think it leaves out so much that was important from before that it either has to be coming from a position of blind ignorance or is being willfully insulting. I'm taking the position of the former because, well, he IS only 23, and like sonascope, if I hadn't been so hungry for history when I first came out, I'd probably not know as much as I do about things, either.

And nobody said you should be ashamed for liking it. Nobody has hated it -- we've just found it a bit lacking in some respects.

If he were to come out with a 12 minutes version and use those extra 5 minutes to cover 1) pre-stonewall movements, 2) stonewall, 3) 70s liberation fights / equal housing and employment struggles, and 4) ACT-UP, he'd really having something pretty strong. He's got a great foundation, it just doesn't feel complete.
posted by hippybear at 7:17 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I began wanting to know, there was no (accessible, public) literature. I went to the campus library one afternoon, found "Jonathan to Gide", and sat there reading it for hours. Because I didn't dare to check it out. Why? One reason was the constant threats you heard all of the time about what would happen to you. (Some are in this video; I'd never seen them before.)

So it's great that today there are so many resources, and easy access to equipment to assemble them. Even if it's not done with impeccable taste and Bergmanesque timing.

Yeah, this video is a fast and hard-hitting emotional roller-coaster. I wouldn't do it that way, but he'll learn from it. Can't expect most people to sit through Before Stonewall and After Stonewall. So maybe he's hot-headed and impetuous, or just maybe, he knows the "tl;dr" generation better than we do.
posted by Twang at 9:26 PM on January 17, 2012


If he were to come out with a 12 minutes version and use those extra 5 minutes to cover 1) pre-stonewall movements, 2) stonewall, 3) 70s liberation fights / equal housing and employment struggles, and 4) ACT-UP, he'd really having something pretty strong. He's got a great foundation, it just doesn't feel complete.

That was my problem with the clip. I was all like, 'What, the whole gay rights movement happened in the last ten years?'

FFS, that was the *easy* bit!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:58 AM on January 18, 2012


schmod: "Sigh. I post something that I thought was wonderful, and Metafilter (correctly) explains to me why it's secretly a horrible thing, and that I really should have been ashamed for liking it."

Aww, you shouldn't be ashamed. It's problematic because of what it omits -- and it's hardly the first recent gay history piece to pretend trans people didn't play a part (or worse, accuse trans people of latching on to the gay rights movement and undoing all the good work) -- and you can't be expected to see something that isn't there.

The problem is, the history of the mainstream gay rights movement's treatment of transgender people doesn't make for a feel-good film.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:30 AM on January 18, 2012


This seems like a good start to what is probably a very earnest effort, but there's obviously still plenty of work to be done and to be fair that's to be expected from a pre-production teaser.

Down the road, I'm sure we all hope the filmmaker will become involved with helpful people whose influences will result in a lot more inclusiveness and a lot less aspect-stretched video. Maybe that will happen organically and maybe it won't. In either case, if you want to see the content or quality of the film improved, perhaps one action you could take would be to become a backer and use your access to the creators to help?

Unless of course you want to start your own film project, which would also be a productive and admirable response that I can't imagine anyone involved being unhappy with.
posted by trackofalljades at 1:42 PM on January 18, 2012


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