Amazing archival 1970s news footage about gay rights (video)

It’s an amazing series of news clips, all from the 1970s, of gay rights.

It’s so weird to hear gay people on TV use the word “homosexuals.” We don’t. Not anymore. It’s a point I’ve raised in a number of articles I’ve written. Listen to the beginning of the video, where the one activists says “For the past year, homosexuals have been coming out in public.” No gay person would say that phrase using the word “homosexual.” Or the next guy, who says “the organization of homosexuals coming together on the spur of the moment.” Again, we’d say “gay” nowadays.

Oh god, and the reporter talks about “committed homosexuals.” Oy.

Then there’s the camera angle with the crotch-shot showing people dancing. That wasn’t terribly necessary, was it.

And there’s Anita Bryant too.

anita-bryantAnd the famous footage of her getting a pie in the face from a gay activist. It’s strange — every time I see the video, it strikes me as almost violent. That’s not to say she didn’t deserve it. But it’s amazing to watch, and you almost feel sorry for her when she starts crying. But she did ever feel sorry for all the pain she was causing us? Nope.

The pie episode shows up about 42 minutes into the video.

Religious right bigot Anita Bryant gets a pie in the face from a gay rights protester.

Religious right bigot Anita Bryant gets a pie in the face from a gay rights protester.

The pie in the face gif is an interesting metaphor, and leitmotif, for the entire gay rights movement, and why we’ve been so successful over the years. We tend to hit back, hard.

Some of the accents are interesting too. They sound like old cops-and-robbers movies.

Oops, don’t look now, there’s yet another “cisgender white man who never did or risked anything for the movement.”


There sure are a lot of them in this record of the top people who made a huge impact, and risked everything, back in the day so that we could freely berate and minimize their contributions today.

It’s a fascinating video, and amazing to watch people who had the nerve 40 years ago, before it was safe almost anywhere, to be publicly gay, and fight for our rights. I think sometimes folks forget how hard it was to do what activists do, and did, before, say, 2008.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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