Out & Proud in Chicago   View more episodes

Aired at 10:00 PM on Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009 (10/13/2009)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:00Reat place ♪♪♪
00:00:26>> hi, I'm jane lynch and I've worked as an actress in this great city for many years and I want to welcome you " this documentary is about the rich history of chicago's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
00:00:41Ultimately, this is a story of revolution and victory, but it's not without its challenges: Oppression, invisibility and a devastating health crisis.
00:00:50Our story begins at a time when the experiences of gay, lesbian and transgender people were largely unspoken and unwritten.
00:00:57The term homosexual wasn't even coined until 1869.
00:01:01This is also a story about chicago--a particular history that has largely been in the shadows.
00:01:07I'm from chicago and this is a wonderful place to be openly gay, but that wasn't always the case.
00:01:13Join me as we explore ♪♪♪
00:01:24>> the 19th century is very different from the world we live in today.
00:01:29Men and women, both, had the ability to express intense closeness to one another; friendship, physicality and not have it separate them ♪♪♪
00:01:51[explosions] >> (jane lynch) with the civil war raging in 1862,enlisted into the 95th illinois infantry regiment to fight for the north.
00:02:03The irish immigrant reportedly fought in 40 battles and skirmishes.
00:02:07Fellow soldiers described cashier as the smallest man in the company, but extremely brave and fearless.
00:02:14What they didn't know was that private cashier was really jennie irene hodgers.
00:02:22While serving, cashier claimed he had a girlfriend.
00:02:25It's unknown whether this was used as a "cover" to maintain her male identity, or if she really was in a romantic relationship with another woman.
00:02:34After the civil war, hodgers continued to live as albert cashier, even voting in presidential elections decades before women won that right.
00:02:43Toward the end of her life, hodgers was hit by an automobile.
00:02:47A doctor in the veteran's hospital--knowing her to be a war hero-- protected her male identity and transferred her to the soldiers & sailors home in quincy, illinois.
00:02:56Unable to hide her gender anymore, she was admitted to an insane asylum where she was forced to dress as woman.
00:03:04She died two years later [train whistle] following the civil war, chicago developed into a boomtown.
00:03:20But in 1871, the chicago fire burned the city to the ground.
00:03:40People poured in to fill the insatiable need for labor to rebuild the city.
00:03:45It came to be a home for outsiders of all kinds.
00:03:49>> This was a city where people came from all over the country, all over the world, with the idea it was a great place to make a buck.
00:03:56And people could do creative things--they could do things that were different, because there was nobody here to tell you not to.
00:04:04>> It was a city of experimentation.
00:04:08When the phone lines came in-- I know oscar wilde came and he was very impressed by how many phones there were in chicago.
00:04:16>> (Jane lynch) it was also a city plagued by prejudice, poor sanitation and a labor system that was stacked against the working class.
00:04:23Chicago was home to one woman who was determined to tackle ♪♪♪
00:04:36for nearly 40 years, jane addams worked and lived with mary rozet smith at hull house, the west side settlement house addams started in 1889.
00:04:45At hull house, neighborhood immigrants living in wretched conditions could receive food and help for their families ♪♪♪
00:04:57addams took bold and socially challenging stances on protecting the rights of children and reforming factory safety standards.
00:05:08And smith was by her side the entire time.
00:05:11>> Jane addams was not interested in men in a romantic or emotional way.
00:05:16Her deepest, most intimate, emotional attachment was to mary rozet smith.
00:05:27She was definitely the love of her life, and jane addams considered herself married to mary rozet smith.
00:05:34>> (Jane lynch) these 19th century relationships were called boston marriages, where there was a romantic intimacy but not necessarily a sexual one.
00:05:43>> (Gioia diliberto) no one called jane addams a lesbian.
00:05:46People accused her of being a communist.
00:05:48The homosexuality wasn't ♪♪♪
00:05:56>> (jane lynch) jane addams traveled the world to raise money for hull house and to raise awareness for her social reform work.
00:06:02During their separations, smith and addams faithfully wrote letters to each other.
00:06:07In 1902, addams wrote: ..You must know, dear, "how I long for you ..
00:06:13"There is reason "in the habit of married folk " smith kept letters from addams.
00:06:19Addams burned hers before she died.
00:06:23>> I think that there's a very good chance that jane addams destroyed the letters because she did not want to be perceived as a lesbian.
00:06:37>> (Jane lynch) as the population swelled in the early 1900s, chicago's high-minded reformers frowned upon the freewheeling nature of some living on the fringes.
00:06:47>> It was a city of prostitution and no morals whatsoever-- which is how the levee district started.
00:06:54>> At the turn of the century, there wasn't a city in america that didn't have a red light district, where prostitution thrived.
00:07:02Gay life would start to appear in those parts of town that were outside the norm.
00:07:09>> (Tim samuelson) so a vice commission was actually set up to make a detailed study about chicago and went into the areas of the neighborhood and described the activities.
00:07:20A lot of it dealt with homosexuality in chicago and where the centers were, the people who indulged in it, cross-dressing, duel identities and actually there were crackdowns by the police and the old vice district and the old levee on the south side of chicago was virtually shut down.
00:07:39>> (Jane lynch) despite its tone of moral disapproval, "the social evil in chicago" is one of the first written records of what gay life was like for chicagoans.
00:07:51On the south side, a burgeoning african-american neighborhood gave birth to a renowned entertainment district--the stroll.
00:07:57It was friendly to chicagoans of all races, with a live and let live attitude towards homosexuals, and it was home to a musical star who came ♪♪♪
00:08:13>> tony jackson really was the bridge that went between ragtime and the creation of jazz in chicago.
00:08:20Many of the greats of jazz, jelly roll morton, who would never say anyone was great except for himself, always would say that tony jackson was one of his great heroes and inspiration.
00:08:30>> (Jelly roll morton) and tony was considered among all who knew him, the greatest single-hand entertainer ..
00:08:38>> (Tim samuelson) ...and he was openly gay.
00:08:42One of the few references that we have to tony jackson's sexuality comes in one of the interviews that jelly roll did for the library of congress.
00:08:52>> (Jelly roll morton) and tony happened to be one of these gentlemen, that's called, a lot of people call them lady or sissy ..
00:09:02>> (Interviewer alan lomax) was he a fairy?
00:09:03>> (Jelly roll morton) I guess it's a, it's either a ferry or a steam boat, one or the other, ..
00:09:08[Piano music] "pretty baby," actually had three different sets of lyrics.
00:09:22And the original one was sort of jackson's love song to his gay lover.
00:09:27We've completely lost [piano music] now, needless to say, when the broadway producers got a hold of this, they actually made it into a song that was themed around a literal baby, and even added little things in the music like a little, "wah wah" which I'm sure was to the total mortification of everyone who knew [piano music] ♪♪♪
00:09:59>> (john d'emilio) there's a segment of the new middle class who are being educated, who are consciously in rebellion against the old ways of living.
00:10:07They create what you might call little bohemian communities where they write about free love, where they don't believe in marriage.
00:10:17>> Women had just gotten the vote as well so everything was different and people ♪♪♪
00:10:27>> one of the good chicago examples of bohemian life was margaret anderson who founded and edited a little magazine " >> if you're going to tell the history of literature and art in chicago, really the place to tell it is right here at the fine arts building on michigan avenue.
00:10:53This is the place where two remarkable women, lesbians and lovers, collaborated in creating, "the little review"-- probably one of the most important and influential literary publications not only in chicago, but in the united states and actually found its way to europe.
00:11:09>> If you saw a picture of the two of them it looks like a 1950s butch/femme couple.
00:11:15There was margaret anderson looking very feminine, and jane heap in a very severe haircut and a suit.
00:11:23>> This wasn't just some tea party and reading pretty little poems.
00:11:26This was really redefining the whole idea of what beauty and literature was all about.
00:11:31>> It had literature in it that represents the new 20th century style, poetry, short stories, commentary on contemporary life.
00:11:42In the early 1920s, one neighborhood was friendly to gay people--towertown.
00:11:47>> (Tim samuelson) once surrounded by old mansions and exclusive apartment buildings, the area had fallen out of fashion.
00:11:54The old buildings had been remodeled and cut up into rooming houses, studios, lofts, and this became the center of the chicago artistic community.
00:12:02>> Filled with radical ideas and radical politics and radical arts.
00:12:08And an awful lot of historians called it fairy town, which is what it was.
00:12:12It was the first area in chicago where gay people were quite welcome, but so was everybody else.
00:12:18>> We use the term gay neighborhood.
00:12:21But it wasn't a neighborhood like that.
00:12:23If you walked up and down michigan avenue, and you were a man who was gay, you might notice somebody else who you thought was gay.
00:12:33That made it a gay neighborhood.
00:12:35>> (Jane lynch) a few blocks away, washington square park-- better known as bughouse square-- was also becoming a hotbed for free speech.
00:12:44The openness attracted gays who would cruise the park ♪♪♪
00:12:51one devotee of bughouse square emerged as a gay visionary who was way ahead of his time.
00:12:56>> (John d'emilio) in 1924, henry gerber who worked for the post office forms a organization called the society for human rights.
00:13:05>> (Sukie de la croix) he started the first gay group in america, in chicago.
00:13:08>> He knew about this more developed gay movement that existed in europe in the teens, in the 1920s and was trying to bring it back to the united states.
00:13:18And he forms this organization with a small number guys that he knows.
00:13:22>> (Sukie de la croix) they produced two issues of a magazine, which was more like two sheets of paper, really.
00:13:29One of the members of the group, his wife found it and actually reported it to the post office, which was like reporting it to the police back then.
00:13:39>> (John d'emilio) the post office in the 1920s, of course, is one of the major policing agents for sexuality because of the comstock law from the 1870s.
00:13:49It prohibited the use of the mails for distributing obscene material.
00:13:55>> And he was arrested about six months after he started the group.
00:13:59It must have sounded outrageous having equal rights ♪♪♪
00:14:10>> (jane lynch) despite the repressed atmosphere in chicago, gays did find each other at drag clubs and gala balls where cross-dressing was the preferred attire.
00:14:19>> In 1930, in variety magazine, which is a national magazine, they had a report-- they said san francisco, it was pretty gay but, chicago was the gayest, because they had 28 " some of them were on the south side-- one was "the cabin inn" which was kind of a jazz place, ♪♪♪
00:14:50>> (jane lynch) depression era chicago was a place where gay and lesbian people felt compelled to hide.
00:14:55It was a difficult world in which to come of age.
00:14:58>> (Chuck renslow) I was born in 1929, born and raised in chicago.
00:15:03I sort of always knew I was gay.
00:15:05I was in the "mask & shears" which was dramatic club at lane tech.
00:15:10And, that's, I think, when I really came out.
00:15:13I was a freshman.
00:15:13There was a senior who made a couple of passes at me.
00:15:17And we met in the hallway and things happened.
00:15:19That really about involved my coming out as a gay man, in those days.
00:15:26>> I was born in 1932 and we were the only family on the block that had gas lights for two years.
00:15:34No electricity-- I definitely knew I was gay when I was about 10 or 11, but I also knew that you just didn't do anything, you certainly didn't tell anybody.
00:15:47My mother raised us very strict catholic.
00:15:52If you didn't go to mass on sunday, there was hell to pay.
00:15:56The catholic priests in those days they were, the inquisition practically.
00:16:03!" in a loud voice the whole church could hear.
00:16:16>> (john d'emilio) world war ii is emerging as one of the critical moments in gay history in the twentieth century in the united states.
00:16:26And that will sound very strange to most people.
00:16:30Our images from the war in terms of movies, pin-up girls are all heterosexual images.
00:16:36But what the war does is that it takes huge numbers of young men, 16 million men, from their late teenage years into their early thirties.
00:16:48It takes them away from their hometowns, from their neighborhoods, from their families, gives them freedom to explore and puts them in same-sex environments.
00:16:58>> (Sukie de la croix) in the loop, there would be around 50,000 military personnel, off duty downtown.
00:17:04There were whore houses everywhere.
00:17:07Why not have sex?
00:17:09If they're going off to fight in some miserable war, they are going to do it now.
00:17:13And also, you're not going to see the other person again.
00:17:16So it's not like you're going to be embarrassed, your parents aren't there, ..
00:17:22>> (John d'emilio) many of what those young people did was heterosexual experimentation, but many of those young people had the opportunity to act on and discover same-sex desires for the first time, and not have them be just fleeting.
00:17:37>> (Sukie de la croix) then they would go off to war, and the ones that come back-- they don't want to go back to their small town.
00:17:42Gay people can't live in small towns, they run away to the nearest >> (jane lynch) after world war ii, a new war quickly and quietly began-- the cold war.
00:18:01>> I think we have a much more serious situation now in communist infiltration of the cia.
00:18:05>> (Jane lynch) communism is seen as a threat to american security and the american way of life.
00:18:10In this time of moral anxiety the persecution of gays and lesbians ♪♪♪
00:18:19>> (john d'emilio) and the fact that gay life in the american cities actually was becoming more visible in the 1940s and 1950s.
00:18:27I suppose, it would probably be more surprising if it wasn't a period of anti-gay persecutions.
00:18:39>> I liked guys but I didn't like them that way, I just liked them as buddies and friends.
00:18:44I didn't want all of that touchy-feely stuff.
00:18:47So when I got into high school, my very fresh-y year, I went to the show with this girl I had met in high school.
00:18:54And of course it stormed really bad, and she lived at 42nd street and I lived on 103rd, so she said, "stay over, .." well, that's all it took.
00:19:04And then all of the sudden, bing--the light went off, this is what I am.
00:19:10>> (Bill kelley) the farm I was born and brought up on was a cotton farm, and the attitudes matched the cotton.
00:19:18I had my first gay sexual experience as an adolescent in '54, I suppose it would have been, when I was 12-- with one of these ..
00:19:34I'd say the equivalent of two blocks down.
00:19:36>> I'm walking down main street in peoria on a monday night, and that's the night that all the stores were open late and the streets were always crowded.
00:19:45And here goes this car down the street with a bunch of guys, which at that point ..
00:19:51So I jumped in the car.
00:19:53And that's when I finally found out in my life that ..
00:19:57'Cause I thought I was the only one.
00:19:59>> I wasn't ashamed of who I was, okay?
00:20:02They had a problem, my mother had a problem with it.
00:20:05She would tell everybody in the neighborhood about me and then I would come home to visit her and I'd see all these curtains moving, and so one day I thought, "you know what, I have to fix " so I have a chevy, put the top down and slicked my hair back and came through like this, " >> if you never see your life reflected, and your struggles reflected, in culture in any way at all, you have a very diminished sense of what your life can be.
00:20:37>> (Jane lynch) one place struggles were reflected was in the lesbian pulp fiction.
00:20:42Purportedly, they are written to provide a quick, titillating read for straight people.
00:20:47>> (John d'emilio) on the one hand there's the persecution, and on the other hand you can go into about any drug store in america, and find these pulp novels about tormented, twisted strange love.
00:21:01And some of them were authored by valerie taylor ♪♪♪
00:21:11>> (jane lynch) valerie taylor was born in aurora, illinois and worked on the family farm.
00:21:15After college, she married and had three sons.
00:21:18Her marriage eventually ended in divorce and taylor turned to writing to support her family.
00:21:26>> I find that "the girls in 3b" very interesting, I mean it's the first one that made it big, I think, for her and it really is a slice of 50s urban life, for young women.
00:21:40It's about three high school graduates from a small illinois town, who all come to chicago together, to make their way in the world.
00:21:50And one realizes that ♪♪♪
00:22:01>> (jane lynch) a different kind of "literature," one short on words was being successfully marketed to gay men-- the physique magazine.
00:22:10Chuck renslow was a photographer and owned his own physique studio by 1954.
00:22:15The law very quickly became interested in renslow's work.
00:22:20>> The atmosphere in the 50s was very, very restrictive.
00:22:23The modus-operandi of the post office at that time was they wanted to stop you from mailing, which I was selling the photographs via the mail.
00:22:31So, we went into court and they put me on the stand and they " " " " I said: "That's up to you to decide.
00:22:40"All I'm saying " and finally the judge, his name was dan ryan, I'll never forget him, he said, "let me see these photographs".
00:22:50And we brought the photographs up and he paged through them.
00:22:53He looked at the state's attorney and said the human body ♪♪♪
00:23:09>> counsel, for my benefit, define--i think you might be an expert on that-- what a pixie is?
00:23:14>> I should say, senator, that a pixie is a close relative of a fairy.
00:23:22>> (Jane lynch) mccarthy-era red-baiting tactics were matched by the belief that gay people were national security threats, susceptible to blackmail if their "shameful" secret was revealed.
00:23:33Nowhere was this fear more intense than in the military.
00:23:36>> I was drafted.
00:23:39And I went to the draft board to try and get a three-month extension, because I had a year and a half of college.
00:23:48The lady behind the counter said "mabel come over here " shall I tell you what I said?
00:23:55"You are not the one who is ing to lose your f#ck#ng fat ass, in ko-, I'm the one who's being " that's when I went right to the naval recruiting station on the way home, and so I wound up in the navy.
00:24:11>> I almost sometime thought that the first qualification to getting in the navy was being gay, because every office from dispersing 's office, , the personnel, every office was controlled by a gay guy.
00:24:25And we would all meet afterwards of course, downtown at a bar called the continental.
00:24:32The more open in the navy you were, I don't think you had problems.
00:24:35I didn't and everyone in my division knew it.
00:24:38>> I was actually investigated, because I was getting a top secret clearance and I sat down at a table, there were five military people, one civilian, a dark room.
00:24:52And the first question he said is "do you know what " well I almost sh#t in my pants, I'm glad the room was dark.
00:25:01And I said, " I went back assuming that they figured out I was a gay person-- they didn't.
00:25:12And I spent four years copying russian voice broadcasts, midway and the bennington.
00:25:21>> (Jim flint) I always wanted to send my mother money home to help her.
00:25:25I would work at norfolk general hospital in the psychiatric ward.
00:25:29There were patients that were gay, and they were there because their parents put them there, thinking there was a cure for this.
00:25:36And to sit there and watch the shock treatments and to have to participate ..
00:25:40It was terrifying.
00:25:41>> Years ago, you actually had to look like a guy to survive, because if they thought you were two queers.
00:25:51They would beat the livin' sh#t out of you, ya know.
00:25:53And a lot of times the girls would get raped and nothing would be-- well, that'd cure you, see-- didn't you know that?
00:26:01That cures you.
00:26:03>> The police will go after you, newspapers will go after you, ministers give sermons, legislatures are passing new laws, that allow you, if you are gay and discovered to be gay, allow you to be institutionalized against your will, it's really a horrible, horrible time--there's no way ♪♪♪
00:26:30>> (bill kelley) what I found in chicago, gay-wise when I came here-- there were cruising areas, public streets public places where gay men could meet each other, I can't speak for lesbians, it's probably a lot harder for them.
00:26:42Bughouse square, washington square park next to the newberry library.
00:26:48>> (Jim darby) and there was also the beach.
00:26:49Oak street beach used to be gay in those days.
00:26:52I mean, not big gay beach, but that's where all the gay people went.
00:26:57We used to have parties on the south side.
00:26:59We had quarter parties where some people called them rent parties-- you'd pay a quarter to get in and a quarter for the drink.
00:27:10In the late 50s they were all mixed, they were black and white parties-- black people and white people.
00:27:20>> (Marge summit) I found this bar on 99th and southwest highway and it was called lill's-- there's where all the gay girls hung out, and you could stand and drink and have a good time, but you couldn't dance.
00:27:32No touching.
00:27:34No touching.
00:27:35No touching.
00:27:36>> (Jane lynch) in chicago, chuck renslow transformed a failing bar, the gold coast, into the very first gay bar in the country catering specifically to leather men.
00:27:47>> As we used to say years ago, you know what a drag queen is?
00:27:49We're the opposite.
00:27:52If you walked up to the gold coast, there were no schlitz signs, no beer signs, just a black door.
00:27:58You had to know it was there.
00:28:00When you walked in, you were in a little dimly lit room with another curtain behind you.
00:28:06And some guy was standing there, cross-examining you-- why you were there.
00:28:12>> Of course the mob owned all of the near north side with the restaurants and the crime and everything that was there, their crime, nobody else's crime.
00:28:23And there were some ..
00:28:25But the guys tell me that you went in the bar and you picked somebody up very fast, because it could be raided at any point in time.
00:28:31>> They only wanted bars or businesses that made money and we were lucrative to them.
00:28:38They charged us $2-$3, now back in the 50s, $2-$3 was a lot of money, okay?
00:28:44You paid that to get in, just for the privilege of walking through their door.
00:28:48>> We were only raided once.
00:28:49And this is kind of interesting thing too.
00:28:51We were raided, but we were paying off every month as most bars did.
00:28:55And this was before an election.
00:28:58Bars were always hit before an election so they get something in the papers.
00:29:01I called up the watch commander, because I had just given him money that day.
00:29:05 "oh my god, " >> (marge summit) if the cops came around and you had boys' pants on, fly fronts, you got arrested for impersonating a male.
00:29:14So you take your girl into the bathroom, you'd turn your pants around, you change shoes with her, and you put your pants on backwards, so your zipper is in the back.
00:29:23Then they stand out there with flashlights like this, in the paddy wagon, in the paddy wagon.
00:29:29>> (Jane lynch) in 1961, illinois adopted the american law insitute's revised model penal code.
00:29:34It repealed the law prohibiting sodomy, which had been used to prosecute homosexuals.
00:29:39>> It's no longer a crime for two men in an apartment to be having sexual relations with one another.
00:29:47>> Well, someone didn't tell the police that's for sure because although homosexuality was legal between two consenting adults in private.
00:29:56The police still managed to raid the bars and because ♪♪♪
00:30:05>> coming to chicago when I first came-- it was really scary for gay and lesbians, because you didn't know whether or not you were going to get kicked out of a rooming house for being gay.
00:30:14You didn't know if you were going to be fired from a job for being gay.
00:30:18I went into a bar and that was sort of it.
00:30:23And of course the bar was advertising for bartenders, so I applied for the job and he asked me if I was a bartender and I said, " I'd never made a drink in my life.
00:30:35Well the chesterfield was a drag bar and my character was felicia and I was a comedian, and not a very pretty drag, ♪♪♪
00:30:48>> there was drag bars all over this town.
00:30:52That's when there was this huge influx into chicago of drag queens from detroit, from atlanta, from all over the country.
00:31:00Because they thought it was going to be easier.
00:31:02Actually, it wasn't any easier-- well maybe it was easier.
00:31:05At least they could work.
00:31:06>> (Jim flint) my first bar raid, I was behind the bar.
00:31:09The police came and bought two or three people a drink.
00:31:13I didn't know by serving a drink they could charge you with solicitation for prostitution and keeper of a disorderly house.
00:31:20And when they threw me in that drunk cell with about 18 other people it was even more petrifying.
00:31:25Thank god that time I only had to stay in there four hours.
00:31:28And it got to be at a point after that, that if you worked at a bar, you always took $25 or $50 on your pocket and a pack of cigarettes, just in case you were going to jail.
00:31:37And some nights they would make four or five raids in one night.
00:31:40>> (Rich pfeiffer) I can remember living at home in 1964, I think.
00:31:45And there was a gay bar raid and one of the major daily newspapers printed the names of all these people.
00:31:51And the following day, some of them committed suicide, they lost their jobs, they lost their families.
00:31:56I thought this should not be happening!
00:31:58>> Louie gages was a bar on the mannheim road.
00:32:01It was a gay party bar that everybody went to.
00:32:03The myth about the bar was that it stood between two townships that could not be raided.
00:32:08That wasn't true.
00:32:10Sheriff ogilvie raided the bar; 84 were arrested, rumors of suicides, went to court, nothing happened as with all raids back then.
00:32:18>> (Jane lynch) the front page public shaming listed names, addresses and occupations of everyone arrested.
00:32:25>> I don't think anybody kept their job.
00:32:27Ogilvie was making a name for himself.
00:32:30I think he had aspirations to be governor.
00:32:33>> (Jane lynch) richard ogilvie was elected governor in 1968.
00:32:38>> When these lurid newspaper articles began to appear about gay bar raids and naming people in the front page of the newspaper who had been arrested.
00:32:46I got a mailing.
00:32:48Announcing mattachine midwest having a public meeting.
00:32:52I immediately went to the meeting.
00:32:56>> (Jane lynch) mattachine midwest was formed by a group that included author valerie taylor and civil rights attorney pearl hart, who in her youth worked with jane addams at hull house.
00:33:08>> Gay organizations, such as mattachine midwest, tried to do everything that was needed to be done-- it tried to offer counseling, if they were having legal difficulties, for psychological problems, religious problems.
00:33:24>> (Joel hall) I grew up along chicago avenue between orleans and sedgwick.
00:33:35I went to a place that was called bughouse square and it was the perfect environment, actually for gay people to be in.
00:33:42It was a very eclectic kind of mixture of people who all had something in common.
00:33:49Being able to speak freely and being able to be freely who we were, and the only people that would adjust that for us ♪♪♪
00:34:07>> (renae ogletree) I was dating this guy and he was the guy that every girl wanted.
00:34:12And as it turns out the guy that everybody wanted, was also with my brother.
00:34:16And one night I heard this noise down the basement, I went downstairs and him ♪♪♪
00:34:28>> I was one of those ..
00:34:31Became depressed.
00:34:33I had internalized all those negative things that in that era were told it was to be gay.
00:34:39I had a friend that killed himself when he was in his late teens.
00:34:44>> And I began to spend more time, actually, with my best friend and one night I decided that I wanted to kiss my best friend-- ..
00:34:52It was very confusing, because I had no idea where that came from.
00:34:55That was the very first girl that I ever kissed and I want ♪♪♪
00:35:02>> (joel hall) my father had put out a missing person's on me, which eventually led to my being incarcerated, for running away from home and being a homosexual.
00:35:16And I remember being in court with my father and the judge turning to my father and saying: "Are you aware that your son " >> (rich pfeiffer) october 9, 1967, I came out sexually, but the next day I totally freaked out, I mean, I literally went to church the next day, and I'm like: "God, what does this mean?
00:35:35"Am I slowly going to start "walking a certain way?
00:35:38" because I wanted to be a teacher at that time.
00:35:40"Will I get fired?
00:35:41"Will I have to be " >> at that time, in the 60s, gay people could not dance in a bar.
00:35:49There wasn't any real place that we could go to hang out and when we would tell people like, if someone would say to me "vernita, why aren't you " " and they would: " >> (joel hall) when I was released from incarceration I was 17.
00:36:06For me to get to college I had to go via a mentor who was an older gay man.
00:36:17I was washing dishes scholl's and any kind of job I could get, kind of thing.
00:36:26And he said: "Joel, why don't you, " >> (jane lynch) in the early morning hours of june 28, 1969, in new york city's greenwich village, a raid on the stonewall inn turned into three nights of rioting.
00:36:43The police faced an angry mob of gays, lesbians and drag queens who battled for their right to exist free of harassment.
00:36:49It was a new moment in the fight for equal rights-- the beginning of gay liberation.
00:36:57It's come to be known simply " >> (vernita gray) I had been to woodstock and it was at woodstock that I first heard about stonewall.
00:37:10So when my friend, michelle brody and I got back from woodstock we thought well, we got to meet some other gay people and start a gay group in chicago.
00:37:20Well, that was easier said than done.
00:37:22>> If you want to understand gay liberation, you just have to understand that in the 1960s, there was a sense alive in the country that everything was up for grabs.
00:37:36Gay liberation had a style that looked like the style of the 60s.
00:37:42>> (Vernita gray) we put an ad in the chicago seed, which was the hippie newspaper at the time, to call fbi list which was my phone number, if you wanted to meet and talk to gay people and my phone would ring all day and half of the night.
00:38:02People would call and say: "I'm gay and my parents " when I think of it now, here I was 19 years old and somebody would call me up "i feel like committing suicide " and I would be the person to talk to that person.
00:38:16Well, I didn't have a master's degree, I wasn't a licensed clinical social worker, I was just a teen myself.
00:38:22>> (Jane lynch) student henry weimhoff started a gay liberation group in chicago by placing an audacious ad in the school's newspaper: The maroon, " folks who answered it joined him to form the chicago gay liberation.
00:38:38>> Those who were organizing gay liberation at the university of chicago originally, knew about us and if I'm not mistaken, they contacted us to let us know about the gay liberation organization activities there, and we were more than happy to hear about it and to publicize it to the best, to the extent that we could in our own newsletter.
00:39:02>> Mattachine was not openly gay and flaming in the way we were, because we were the gay hippies and they were, at the time, more of the gay conservatives.
00:39:13They were too conservative for us!
00:39:16>> It took a lot of nerve to come out, period, at all, back in those days, much less to have gay liberation ♪♪♪
00:39:30>> (vernita gray) every group has a parade in chicago.
00:39:33You name the group, they have a parade!
00:39:35So instead of a parade, we had a march.
00:39:38It was a statement to people in chicago--"yes there are gay "people and we want to have "real visibility "and we want to be treated " >> (jane lynch) the march was only one of three around the country that was held to commemorate the stonewall riots a year earlier.
00:39:56>> When gay liberation organized this march, I was interested in attending, and did, well I personally wasn't fond of a chanting, and marching along the street, and drawing attention.
00:40:07I'm not that kind of person, but I was interested in reaching people, and this was one of the ways that it could be done, I was willing to take part in it.
00:40:18>> (Rich pfeiffer) the first march I was still on the sidelines because I was--i had this fear.
00:40:22I had a government job at that time.
00:40:24So there was this fear of: "Gee is someone going to turn "on the, you know, the news, "the nightly news "and see me there.
00:40:30"And then bam my whole world " >> (jane lynch) the route was symbolic, the marchers were leaving behind the "cruise-y and closeted" world of bughouse square to emerge into the daylight of chicago's magnificent mile, near the water tower.
00:40:45>> (Bill kelley) however, along the way at some point, people on the march decided to keep going to the civic center in the loop.
00:40:53I didn't follow them, because I was more of a believer ♪♪♪
00:41:03they danced around the picasso statue and I know it had an effect on michigan avenue shoppers, because they had never seen anything like it.
00:41:12>> (Rich pfeiffer) I can remember the look on the faces of people.
00:41:16It was this feeling of empowerment; ..
00:41:19There were tears in their eyes.
00:41:22There was joy.
00:41:22There was anger.
00:41:23You knew something was happening.
00:41:25You knew were you never going to go back.
00:41:28As I was going home I was on the 36 bus and I knew my life had changed.
00:41:33I knew that the rest of my life would not be the same.
00:41:38All those years of repressing ..
00:41:45That part of my life is over!
00:42:08>> One of the under-commented upon things about gay liberation, lesbian feminism, the whole "coming out" process and the growth of a movement is that after you come out you are crazy as a loon for two to three years.
00:42:24It so completely overturns ..
00:42:30And so gay organizations are also filled with drama and conflict like you can't believe over, sometimes, the most insignificant things.
00:42:41Any gay or lesbian activist who doesn't tell you about how hard it was as well as how exhilarating it was, isn't tell the whole truth.
00:42:50>> (Jane lynch) it was february 1971, and chicago's gay rights advocates opened the city's first gay community center in an aging bungalow ♪♪♪
00:43:03>> (rich pfeiffer) I was so afraid to walk in wasn't sure if people were going to have three heads, two--you know?
00:43:08It was really a refuge for those gay people who just did not want to go to the bars.
00:43:14It was the hub--we had people coming from thenew york gay activist alliance, people from san francisco.
00:43:20>> (Vernita gray) one of my favorite organizations was the lesbian feminist center which was one of the first lesbian centers on halsted street.
00:43:32It was a store front that we rented and it was run by volunteers.
00:43:37Actually, we lesbians, had the first spaces on halsted street and then "little jim's" opened up and the gay bar scene was going.
00:43:47>> The gay liberation moment, in a sense, is one of those leaping moments, because of whole bunch of people are breaking with the past, they're very self-consciously breaking with the past, and they're saying that we are going to create a new world.
00:44:04But a lot of the people around them aren't paying any attention whatsoever, ♪♪♪
00:44:14>> (art johnston) I came to chicago to do graduate work at northwestern when I was 29 years old.
00:44:20I did with a friend from northwestern from the theater department come down here, he wanted to take me to some bars.
00:44:27I met a man there who was a bartender.
00:44:28We had a date, he came home with me and he never left.
00:44:35>> We opened "ms" which was my initials, and that's when ms came to be popular.
00:44:40So we had like 400 to 450 women in there all the time.
00:44:44It was wonderful.
00:44:45But like any bar with women, it doesn't last long.
00:44:50Women do not support bars as much as men.
00:44:53>> (Jane lynch) after opening a gay bar in the rough river north neighborhood, jim flint needed a hook to bring people to the baton.
00:45:00>> (Jim flint) I thought we'll start a drag show and to get more people interested I would start twirling back and forth across the street on roller skates.
00:45:07.. ♪
00:45:10.. ♪
00:45:16>> (jim flint) and then I would stand in the middle and throw the baton, and of course the traffic would back up maybe a block ♪♪♪
00:45:26irv kupcinet put us on his show and called me one day and he said, "jim, I've got a surprise for you," and I said " and he said, "i want to bring phil donahue " after that we did about eight shows for phil donahue and then everything opened up.
00:45:43>> This was 1973, sexual liberation was at a peak, especially among the male community, which is what I knew best-- folks who would go to howard brown for their testing and their "vd shot"-- what we called it, we would find it a great place for cruising.
00:46:01These were mostly folks who worked in bars.
00:46:04I didn't frankly at that point know who was closeted because anybody who came, who was around that world was already out.
00:46:12>> We're talking about 1973 this is the early period of the quote-unquote "gay liberation"movement and it was like, cataclysmic.
00:46:20It was kind of like jumping off a cliff and no one could see what the bottom was going to hold.
00:46:27Life was changing and it was a drastic decision: "Am I going to come out?
00:46:33"Am I going to act "on these feelings?
00:46:34"And what does that mean " I mean, it was scary.
00:46:40>> Lesbians, who, through gay liberation and through feminism, are becoming very politicized.
00:46:47An alternative, almost anti-commercial lesbian world develops in the 70s all around the country, and chicago is one of the major centers for it.
00:46:58>> (Jane lynch) women's newspapers like lavender woman, organizations like the chicago women's graphics collective, and spaces for art and music emerge.
00:47:11>> (Nancy katz) music was big part of, I would say, the women's movement, at the time and the idea was creating women-only spaces where women could articulate their politics through their music and their art.
00:47:24There was a women's rock band called "mother right" and they asked me if I would do sound one night, and then I became their manager.
00:47:31 louis, and in iowa, and the chicago area.
00:47:36>> Most people were still in the closet and they felt freer to go to gay bars, because they were pretty sure the police wouldn't harass them anymore.
00:47:46But they weren't coming out at the workplace and they weren't coming out at school and they weren't coming out to their families.
00:47:52>> (Dwight okita) this is the poster that I created when I wanted to come out to my family.
00:47:58I was 17 and I'd written a note at the time that I made it, which was really fortunate.
00:48:04"I wanted to make it beautiful.
00:48:07"Something that would convey "how much being gay "meant to me, "and how beautiful two men "loving each other was.
00:48:14" dwight okita, july 5, 1976.
00:48:19My mom was a really, really, funny person-- she thought it was a political thing that I had empathy for people that were gay, and I said, no, well, actually I am gay.
00:48:31She did all those questions that parents go through: " I was like: "How can you be too close to your child," and then a year later, I said: "Well dad, I told you I'm gay, " " >> (jane lynch) marge summit opened a new bar in wrigleyville called " business was fair the first years, partly due to the roughness of the neighborhood.
00:48:54>> (Marge summit) we started doing the music.
00:48:56My lover was like a, ..
00:48:58I think, those are ones that sing a lot of church songs?
00:49:01And she would sing all those, "this little light of mine," you know?
00:49:05..it was like holy-roller time at the bar, I mean it was wonderful!
00:49:12It was so wholesome.
00:49:13And then slowly we got known in the straight world-- that one of the best open mics to go to.
00:49:20And it was a that you could bring your mother to, and say, "mom, this is a gay bar," and she'd say, "well, that's great!
00:49:26It's got food, ♪♪♪
00:49:37>> hey, come back little orange bird.
00:49:42>> (Jane lynch) anita bryant, a former miss america known for her tv ads for the florida citrus commission, became the spokeswoman for a national campaign called " its goal was to prevent anti-discrimination ordinances.
00:49:56>> What better career than to become a religious fundamentalist attacking homosexuals.
00:50:02It's a money maker.
00:50:04>> The first overt community demonstration I'm aware of was against anita bryant.
00:50:11>> (Rich pfeiffer) she helped to literally get repealed in south florida, the human rights ordinance that protected gay people.
00:50:16And she was appearing down here at the medinah temple.
00:50:19>> She's coming to chicago and we were furious.
00:50:22Everybody started orcastrating the march around medinah temple.
00:50:25>> Most of us didn't know what a protest march was-- we really didn't have ..
00:50:32>> (Rich pfeiffer) we got thousands of people.
00:50:33We marched around medinah temple, we kept a lot of folks away.
00:50:37We couldn't physically prevent people from going in there.
00:50:41>> I remember the march because there was a bit of a police ruckus.
00:50:46There was an agreement that this was going to be a peaceful march.
00:50:49We had marshals and one small splinter group decided they were going to confront the police.
00:50:55>> It was really a flashpoint-- the realization that we could pull off large numbers of people-- people from the, so called, bar community, people from the political community, people who lived in the suburbs.
00:51:04>> That's when screwdrivers were a big thing at the gay bars, honey, and everybody [laughing] and they got rid of her real quick.
00:51:11>> (Jim flint) I think that we cost her her career.
00:51:14Other cities probably could of did it, but they took her off the orange juice, and you didn't hear too much about miss america anita bryant too much after that.
00:51:21>> And I do think that, that coalition birthed some of the people who then got active in bringing the anti-discrimination bill to the city council and getting it passed through the city.
00:51:34♪ Oh anita, don't you pray ♪
00:51:36♪ for me, 'cause ♪
00:51:38♪ I'm happy with my livin' ♪
00:51:42>> but, that was the three things that changed things I think-- stonewall, anita bryant, ♪♪♪
00:51:54>> (jane lynch) the late '70s were a heady time for chicago's lgbt community.
00:51:58The annual pride parade was a fixture on the june calendar.
00:52:02>> (Art johnston) there were no politicians at that point in the parades.
00:52:05There were no corporate sponsors-- pretty damned exciting, frankly.
00:52:10>> (Rich pfeiffer) and my mother, after a while, was like, you know, there were people at church who were like: .." this is back in the '70s.
00:52:16"We saw your son " "oh yeah, my son ♪♪♪
00:52:23>> (jane lynch) chuck renslow started an annual competition for the leather community at his bar, "the gold coast" called " >> well, the second year, a guy from australia won.
00:52:33The gay press picked this up all over the world.
00:52:36>> (Jane lynch) and gay sports leagues began to spring up.
00:52:41Jim flint helped organize a league that played the very non-chicago game of 12-inch softball.
00:52:48>> Of course, I didn't know what a 12 inch softball was.
00:52:55>> I went to northeastern, I think in the summer of '79, there was four of us, four women.
00:53:03I don't know how we got onto it, but we began to think about gay stuff, and had heard about these lesbian bars.
00:53:10I remember walking in-- it was petunia's on southport-- and I couldn't believe how many there were, that I knew, from school.
00:53:18I went out to have a cigarette with a woman.
00:53:22And, this guy comes up to us and he starts to harass us.
00:53:25And, she pulled out a gun, she said: " " and, we went to ck's on diversey, and it was like home.
00:53:36I didn't recognize people, but I recognized self.
00:53:40Of course, I didn't have much time to really get settled in because within a very short period of time the police came, and people were running out the door and tripping and falling.
00:53:48And, I was like--almost like a deer in headlights--i guess.
00:53:51And, so this woman who, she's like--it must've been like a cartoon-- picked me up by my collar, threw me on her motorcycle, "come on, " I remember going home-- and I was living with a man then--i said: "Oh my god, ♪♪♪
00:54:10>> those were the days that the party was still going on.
00:54:14The community was convinced that this plague only happened on coastal cities.
00:54:23New york, san francisco.
00:54:26..were they wrong.
00:54:31>> Jimmy russell was probably my, the closest.
00:54:35And, he managed one of my bars.
00:54:38..oh, god.
00:54:46>> I have a telephone book at home that--from the '70s-- that's about this thick.
00:54:55And, all of my friends were listed in that book, and as they died, I would put a diagonal line across their names and addresses.
00:55:12And each page of every page of that book has a line across it.
00:55:23And, there's nobody that I know in that book today ♪♪♪
00:55:40>> and a lot of softball players-- when you would go to tournament, it got where you didn't ask where somebody was.
00:55:49>> Mothers, fathers, uncles, ..
00:56:10>> you can't have a disease that just effects gay people, it's impossible.
00:56:16I mean, what do you need to get this disease?
00:56:19You have to listen to show tunes?
00:56:22Or, you know, what, you have to be good at designing something?
00:56:27Or, you're a hairdresser?
00:56:28I mean, it's nonsense, and people fell for it.
00:56:35Do you think they cared if faggots and junkies died?
00:56:41I don't think so.
00:56:43>> You can find in almost all of the aids organizations, women being a part, and lesbians in particular, being a part of the aids mobilization effort.
00:56:54>> Baby, we stepped up big time.
00:56:56I think lesbians stepped up so big.
00:56:58>> Suddenly lesbians were running everything-- all the charities.
00:57:05That's when the separatism stopped.
00:57:07>> Because we came out of our ignorance.
00:57:13>> (Art johnston) we had a new mayor in chicago named harold washington.
00:57:17And harold washington knew he would need to develop a new coalition of voters-- a majority of the african-american community, latino, lakefront.
00:57:31And when you say "lakefront" in politics, that's code " that meant we needed to bring this gay rights ordinance for a vote.
00:57:39>> (Jim flint) harold washington called me in his office, and I said, "your honor, we really want to bring " I said, "we have to know who is for us " we worked on a lot of alderman and very quietly I think we canvassed all of them.
00:57:53And, it came to that morning of the city council.
00:57:56A lot of kids didn't want to bring it up because we were going to lose.
00:57:59>> (John callaway-tv anchorman) the issue at hand?
00:58:01A measure that would outlaw discrimination on the bases of, quote, "sexual orientation "and housing, "public accommodations " >> we jammed the chambers.
00:58:10The vote came.
00:58:12There are 50 members of the city council.
00:58:14We had 18 yes votes.
00:58:17>> And I remember "chewy" garcia and luis guittierez, who had the most to lose from the catholic church, they told the cardinal this wasn't a religious issue, this was a civil rights.
00:58:29>> I remember folks coming down the stairs from the second floor of city hall, which was where the council chambers are.
00:58:37And, someone began singing a very quiet song, " and it was lovely.
00:58:47But I will tell you, it was the last time that the words "gentle" were used.
00:58:53Because we stopped being gentle and we began being angry.
00:58:57>> (Jane lynch) johnston leads the final push to get the ordinance passed with rick garcia, lauri dittman and jon-henri damski.
00:59:05They are dubbed "the gang of four" by the press.
00:59:08>> (Art johnston) when we finally passed it, on that december 21st in 1988 thereafter I spent the next two weeks, every night, going out in my car and driving alone around our city.
00:59:23And I would always end up, every night on the skyway.
00:59:28And sorry, this is hard for me.
00:59:31To sit on the skyway and look down and say: "You know what?
00:59:35"You can't fire " and I will tell you, that experience changed my life.
00:59:42To know that, that we would be judged on important things about ourselves-- that is our ability to work, our willingness to pay our rent-- not about who we loved.
00:59:57>> (Jane lynch) backroom politics was one way change was being affected.
01:00:01But direct action groups had another way, and it was wilder.
01:00:06Act/up, which stood for aids coalition to unleash power, created a local chapter.
01:00:11They found a galvanizing leader in the volatile danny sotomayor.
01:00:19Half puerto rican, half mexican.
01:00:22Grew up with his brothers and sisters, large family in humboldt park.
01:00:29>> I always thought that I wanted to be like him.
01:00:31You know, he was latino, he was out, he was gay.
01:00:36>> We're your brothers, we're your sisters, ..your fathers-- we're everywhere.
01:00:41>> And I actually remember seeing him in a bar-- I was too in awe to even go up and talk to him.
01:00:47[Protesters chanting] >> (art johnston) danny became completely made-over by aids.
01:00:58Just came upon danny that this was all wrong.
01:01:01Government should be doing more.
01:01:02We should all be more angry.
01:01:04>> He was able to gather support from people who probably in a million years wouldn't have imagined going to a demonstration for civil disobedience, being thrown into the back [protesters chanting] >> was it the first thing I wanted to do?
01:01:27Go and lie down in the street in front of a police man on a horse?
01:01:32Was it one of the best things I ever did in my life?
01:01:39>> (jane lynch) one of the biggest act/up demonstrations, sotomayor took part in was in april, 1990.
01:01:44It target was the american medical association.
01:01:47Act/up accused the ama of deadly indifference.
01:01:50>> (Lori cannon) there's thousands of people chanting in the streets.
01:01:53There's cops, there's people who are sick, who you can tell they probably don't have a long time to live.
01:02:00>> The ama is killing us with blood money.
01:02:04>> You know, they got into the county building.
01:02:06They were going to hang their banners and they were taunted.
01:02:10The only way they could get away from these guards was to climb out the window.
01:02:17>> (Robert castillo) it was great to see danny sotomayor unfurl a banner.
01:02:23It was amazing.
01:02:25>> (Lori cannon) and I look up and, there's danny.
01:02:28There's paul.
01:02:29There's tim.
01:02:33So, I'm thinking-- [protesters chanting] >> you can't hide your eyes from the shame of a city that lets us die.
01:03:00>> (sukie de la croix) they allowed their anger to come out, even more so than the vietnam war, because everybody had flowers in their hair back then.
01:03:07It wasn't cool to be angry, I'm a great believer in angry.
01:03:14>> (Jane lynch) sotomayor's disease ravaged him, and by 1992 he spent longer and longer periods of time to illinois masonic hospital's unit 371.
01:03:24>> (Lori cannon) he was overwhelmed with lots of complications.
01:03:27He fought a good fight.
01:03:31>> (Jane lynch) sotomayor was too sick to attend an event where he was being honored and it was held by a political action group, he had considered too timid.
01:03:41>> (Jane lynch) sotomayor's partner, playwright scott mcpherson, author of "marvin's room" attended the event to accept an award for his lover.
01:03:49He returned to the aids ward at the illinois masonic hospital where sotomayor lay dying.
01:03:54>> And he went right up to intensive care to talk to danny about what a great evening it was.
01:04:01And the next day he was gone.
01:04:04Just as the sun came up, 7:05, february 5th.
01:04:08It was a wednesday.
01:04:11>> And when he died, ♪♪♪
01:04:24>> (jane lynch) tracy baim, one of the most visible members of the gay press here, struggled to find her path.
01:04:31>> (Tracy baim) I started at age 10 writing for the chicago defender and doing a family newsletter and just always wanting to document what was going on.
01:04:42Both my mother and my stepfather are in journalism in chicago, including covering the 1968 democratic convention.
01:04:50I had a difficult time in college, because I also was told that you couldn't be a journalist and also care about the issues and have an opinion.
01:04:57Once I realized I could work through that and be in an alternative journalism environment, my parents encouraged me in that.
01:05:03I was really fortunate to hit the gay media right when it was just about to take off and be a viable alternative for a journalist.
01:05:18>> (Alexandra billings) I started getting sick when everybody started getting sick, but it was called " and because I was transgender, I did not consider myself gay.
01:05:28We assumed, and the doctors assumed, this is what we were being told, that it was only being contracted by homosexual men.
01:05:36We had just gotten out of the '70s where everyone was having sex with everybody.
01:05:40I don't think people really understand this-- that like, I think I had sex with liza minelli, I'm not sure.
01:05:48Like, that's how free everybody was.
01:05:51I didn't get diagnosed until, sometime in the 90s, early 90s.
01:05:56But the time I was diagnosed, the doctor came in and said: ..
01:06:01You have seven "t" cells, most people have thousands-- so you, you need to get " >> (jane lynch) keith green, a senior at hyde park career academy, and woozy at the sight of blood, reluctantly agreed to donate at a school blood drive.
01:06:23>> And I thought nothing else of it until a couple weeks later, I got a letter, from life source " and I was like, okay, what's this about?
01:06:33So, one day after school, I jumped on the train.
01:06:35Hyde park is on 63rd, so I took the green line to blue line all the way out to o'hare.
01:06:44And I sat down, in front of this women, and she asks me: "Did you know you were " >> what have I done?
01:06:53What did I do?
01:06:54Why didn't I not have sex with that person?
01:06:56Why did I share that needle?
01:06:57You know, all this stuff went through my head.
01:07:07The only thing that I could really process or that I could really think of was that my life was over.
01:07:13I told my mom first, she was the first person that I told.
01:07:17She was crushed.
01:07:19She literally fell against the wall and was in tears.
01:07:24It kind of broke my heart at the same time too.
01:07:28>> It's hard for care-takers, because they have no power.
01:07:32I can't imagine what chrisanne went through.
01:07:38I can't begin-- I don't think any of us can.
01:07:43>> (Jane lynch) jim darby never came out during his decades as a public school teacher.
01:07:47After he retired, though, his life took an unexpected turn.
01:07:51>> In 1991, I met a miriam ben shalom and I think she was the one person who had the most profound effect on my life as far as getting involved.
01:08:06She started the gay veterans movement in 1990.
01:08:10I said, " and she leaned over and she almost punched me ♪♪♪
01:08:21we do a wreathing twice a year.
01:08:24We always have our own wreath with a big pink triangle in the middle.
01:08:30And, I believe it was in 1992, the commander of the american legion was there and he said, "well, why didn't you tell me "you were going to bring "a wreath?
01:08:37"I would've put you " " when he read the name of our organization which was called at that time, gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual veterans of america his jaw dropped.
01:08:53>> (Jane lynch) despite months of pursing full inclusion, the group remained unsure if they'd be added to the printed program.
01:09:00>> No veterans groups names-- they wiped out everybody's names from the program ♪♪♪
01:09:15>> (jane lynch) after meeting a group of black gay activists, renae ogletree made the brave decision to publicly come out when her friends wanted to march in chicago's largest african-american parade.
01:09:25>> And they said: "you know.
01:09:26"We want to take "on the bud billiken parade, "because it's the biggest "black parade "and we think that "young lesbians and gays "should know " I don't think any of us expected the battle that became.
01:09:40>> They had a lot of symbolism on the south side of chicago.
01:09:42>> Being the activists, we sent in two applications.
01:09:45>> We applied as proud black citizens " >> (renae ogletree) the other group identified as the ad-hoc black lesbians and gays.
01:09:54>> (Vernita gray) " >> (renae ogletree) so, we then identified ourselves as one and the same.
01:09:59They came to this last minute decision that we could march.
01:10:02But, even then, I have to be honest in saying, I wasn't sure that I wanted to march in that parade.
01:10:08>> (Tracy baim) I had talked to a lot of gay black activists and they were concerned-- they were concerned for safety.
01:10:13>> (Renae ogletree) I was scared, I'm not going to tell you a lie.
01:10:16I was scared.
01:10:17>> (Tracy baim) and the response was incredible.
01:10:20>> (Renae ogletree) there were more people cheering for us, than against us.
01:10:24I remember these little old ladies we passed up by 45th and king drive saying, "my nephew is gay.
01:10:31" >> I saw courage and action.
01:10:35I saw people who did, actually fear for their lives, for their jobs, for the custody of their children, etcetera.
01:10:41And they did it anyway.
01:10:42>> That sparked a lot of advocacy within other lgbt communities of color.
01:10:48So, for me, that was one of the watershed moments in terms of chicago's lgbt history.
01:10:54>> We all came together behind bud billiken, not to say that everyone believed we needed to be there.
01:10:59But everybody believed they had no right to say we couldn't be there.
01:11:06>> When you think of mainstream of the gay community, you often think of white people.
01:11:12And there was a time when in all the gay press, that's all that you saw.
01:11:17>> (Mona noriega) I joined llena which was latina lesbianas en nuestro ambiente which was latina lesbians in our environment.
01:11:25We played very hard, we worked very hard,