Rank #1: Stonewall 50 - Episode 1 - Prelude to a Riot
If you’d like a primer on Stonewall, here is a handy factsheet that Making Gay History co-produced. The final page has more resources if you’d like to dig a bit deeper.
To find out more about some of the people featured in this episode and the times in which they lived, check out the following Making Gay History episodes and the accompanying episode notes: Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen (part 1 and part 2), Randy Wicker and Marsha P. Johnson, Ernestine Eckstein, and Sylvia Rivera (part 1 and part 2). Craig Rodwell will be featured more extensively in upcoming episodes, but he also makes an appearance in our episode about Dick Leitsch, with whom Craig Rodwell was in a relationship during their early days at Mattachine.
Many of our previous episodes include interviews with LGBTQ trailblazers who became active in the movement pre-Stonewall. To learn more about the founders of some of the early U.S. homophile organizations, have a listen to our episodes with Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine Society; Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, co-founders of the Daughters of Bilitis; and Dorr Legg, Martin Block, and Jim Kepner, who spearheaded ONE.
Rank #2: Ellen DeGeneres
Rank #3: Stonewall 50 - Episode 2 - ”Everything Clicked… And The Riot Was On”
But there’s plenty about the raid on the Stonewall Inn and the subsequent uprising that’s less certain and often the focus of disagreements and heated debate. I like to think that the story of Stonewall is big enough for all the recollections and memories and inevitable myths that have taken shape in the five decades since Stonewall became a key turning point in the history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement and the birthplace of the “gay liberation” phase of the fight for equality.
So in this second episode of our special Stonewall 50 season, we’re bringing you multiple voices—and multiple and often conflicting memories—from people who were inside and outside the Stonewall Inn a half-century ago. Voices drawn from my three-decade-old archive and from other archival audio unearthed by Making Gay History’s team of archive rats—including some tape dating back to the first year after the raid.
Have a listen and decide which memories ring true for you.
Rank #4: Edythe Eyde a.k.a. Lisa Ben
Rank #5: Pride Bonus: Kay Lahusen’s Gay Table
Rank #6: Stonewall 50 - Episode 3 - "Say it Loud! Gay and Proud!"
Rank #7: Dr Evelyn Hooker
Rank #8: Love is Love
First aired February 14th 2017.
Rank #9: Dear Abby
Rank #10: Frank Kameny
Rank #11: Morty Manford
From 1970 until he returned to college at Columbia University in the mid-1970s, Morty’s primary involvement was with the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), where he ultimately became president. He also co-founded, with his mother Jeanne Manford, an organization for parents of gay people that today is known as PFLAG. You can hear Morty and Jeanne tell that story in their Making Gay History Season One episode, which I recommend listening to before listening to this episode.
Morty Manford’s papers are housed at the New York Public Library. You can learn more about the collection and read a summary of Morty’s life and contributions to the movement here.
CountyHistorian.com also offers an overview of Morty’s life and includes a long list of articles for anyone interested in more detailed background on Morty, his contributions, and the times in which he lived. You can find the entry about Morty here.
You can read Morty’s oral history in the 1992 edition of Making Gay History.
Morty speaks about both the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA). For a brief summary about the two organizations and their differences, read this article by Linda Rapp from the GLBTQ Archive. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) kept files on the GAA and the organization’s activities.
From 1971 to 1974, GAA was headquartered in this firehouse in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. You can read about GAA members storming the offices of Harper’s Magazine in 1970 to protest a recently published a homophobic article here.
A pivotal event in Morty’s life was witnessing a 1970 march through Greenwich Village in protest against a police raid of the Snake Pit bar. In his Making Gay History interview Morty states that the raid took place in February 1970. It was in fact March 8, 1970. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project has an entry for the Snake Pit bar on their website, which includes photographs of the raid, a flyer calling for a protest (the one that caught Morty’s attention), and an article published in the New York Times the day after the protest.
Rank #12: Tom Cassidy
Rank #13: Vito Russo
Rank #14: Marsha P. Johnson and Randy Wicker
Rank #15: Season Four - Magnus Hirschfeld
From Eric Marcus: When I wrote the original 1992 edition of Making Gay History (which was then called Making History), my oral history book about the LGBTQ civil rights movement, I devoted just one paragraph to Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld’s work in the opening to the first chapter:
More than four decades before World War II, the first organization for homosexuals was founded in Germany. The goals of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, as the organization was called, included the abolition of Germany’s anti-gay penal code, the promotion of public education about homosexuality, and the encouragement of homosexuals to take up the struggle for their rights. The rise of the Nazis put an end to the Scientific Humanitarian Committee and the homosexual rights movement in Germany.
And that was it. Not even a mention of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld himself or his sexuality institute, which he founded in 1919. Considering that the focus of my book was the gay rights movement in the United States, that’s not so surprising. But given what I’ve come to learn about Dr. Hirschfeld and his pioneering work, as well as his influence on the founding of the movement here in the U.S., I’m sorry I didn’t at least include his name!
So as you can hear in this episode of Making Gay History, three decades after I first started conducting interviews for my book, I took a deep dive into the life of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld. That included traveling to Berlin in May 2018 for the huge celebration in honor of the 150th birthday of Magnus Hirschfeld, interviews with Magnus Hirschfeld experts, an interview with a Canadian pack rat/citizen archivist who saved a suitcase full of long-lost Magnus Hirschfeld’s belongings, and a reenactment of Hirschfeld’s 1918 silent film, Different from the Others.
As we traced the threads of history back in time, I came to discover that one of the threads of Magnus Hirschfeld’s history came back to the present day and had a direct connection to our Making Gay History family. Here’s the story. Before I left for Berlin, I found out that our photo editor, Michael Green (who also happened to be the original publicist on the Making History book back in 1992) was going to be in Berlin with his partner, Ilan Meyer, too. Ilan was heading to Berlin for a family reunion. It wasn’t until Michael and I were having lunch after our tour of the Schwules Museum and we were waiting for Ilan to join us that I discovered the reunion Ilan was attending was for Magnus Hirschfeld’s family, which had been decimated during the Holocaust and the survivors scattered across the globe. Turns out Ilan, who grew up in Israel, is a cousin of Magnus Hirschfeld.