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Podcast "Making Gay History" Premieres Oct. 25, Explores Movement Pre-Stonewall
2018-10-16

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[New York, NY — October 15, 2018] Making Gay History, the critically acclaimed and award-winning podcast that brings LGBTQ history to life through the voices of the people who lived it, will launch its fourth season on October 25. Hosted by Eric Marcus and co-produced by Pineapple Street Media, season four will explore the birth of the LGBTQ civil rights movement.

In 12 episodes, released weekly through January 2019, the new season of Making Gay History will feature voices from LGBTQ trailblazers whose pioneering efforts have largely been overlooked or forgotten. Drawing on Eric Marcus's three-decades old audio archive, Making Gay History creates intimate, personal portraits of advocates, activists, and allies from LGBTQ history. Season four will also feature episodes from beyond Marcus's archive, with stories reaching back as far as the 19th century, and will uncover never before heard interviews with civil rights leader Bayard Rustin and forgotten trailblazer Ernestine Eckstine.

Season four is focused on the people who dared to stick their necks out well before the Stonewall uprising of June 1969. The stories and voices featured together dispel the popular myth that Stonewall was the first time LGBTQ people stood up and fought back. Host Eric Marcus: "Before I started work in the late 1980s on Making Gay History, my oral history book about the gay civil rights movement, I thought the fight for gay rights began outside the Stonewall Inn. But I quickly discovered that the movement in the U.S. got its start nearly two decades earlier. And as I followed those threads stretching back through our history, I learned that there were some strands that stretched across the Atlantic and as far back as the late 19th century."

One of those threads takes the podcast to Berlin for the 150th birthday celebration of German sexologist Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, the founder of the world's first gay rights movement in 1897. Making Gay History follows part of this story all the way to a dumpster in Vancouver, Canada, to find a vital piece of LGBTQ history.

Episodes will also feature the voices of Harry Hay, the one-time Communist and co-founder of the Mattachine Society, the first sustained gay rights organization in the U.S. ( and later, the co-founder of the Radical Faeries )

Other notable Mattachine organizers like Frank Kameny, who doggedly fought his dismissal from his government job during the lavender scare; Dick Leitsch, the leader of the Sip-In at Julius'—a gay bar in Greenwich Village—to protest discriminatory New York State liquor laws; and Craig Rodwell, founder of the first bookstore devoted to gay and lesbian authors

Barbara Gittings and Martha Shelley, early activists with the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian rights organization in the U.S.

Ernestine Eckstein, a woman of color who played a leading role in the pre-Stonewall movement

Writers like Martin Block, of ONE magazine, and Sten Russell, of both ONE and The Ladder, the magazine of the Daughters of Bilitis

Bayard Rustin, the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, whom Sen. Strom Thurmond condemned on the Senate floor as a sexual pervert

Throughout the season, the podcast, which is available on all the popular podcast players, will continue to maintain its robust companion website where listeners, educators, and students can read episode notes, view archival photos, and explore links that amplify, deepen, and broaden their understanding of the people whose stories they've heard and the times in which they lived.

The Making Gay History podcast debuted on October 6, 2016. To date, its 36 episodes have been downloaded 1.9 million times in 211 countries and territories. In 2017, the podcast won the "Best Oral History in a Non-Print Format" award from the Oral History Association. It has garnered notice and praise from Elle, Slate, NPR, and Wired, among others.

The Making Gay History podcast is produced by Sara Burningham. Making Gay History is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the largely hidden history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement to life through the voices of the people who lived it. It does this principally through the Making Gay History podcast, as well as through partnerships with educational organizations and institutions that share its mission to "un-erase" this key part of American history.

Making Gay History is supported by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Calamus Foundation, and listeners around the world.


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