Our America: Pride in History II: Discover the World’s First Transgender District More LGBTQ+ Stories

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Understanding where we are from and where we have been is an important part of telling the human story. For LGBTQ+ people, these stories are often lost to time due to stigma, fear, and shame.

Our America: Pride in History II celebrates amazing stories of perseverance as a community rises to greater recognition.

In this episode, meet the women who lead the feminist movement and the men who stood up to the police when their bar was raided.

Discover the world’s first transgender cultural district and learn why so many have taken refuge on an island off the coast of New York. Walk in the shoes of LGBTQ+ pioneers, see where they fought back and how they celebrated, educated their community, and mourned the loss of the AIDS epidemic.

These pioneering lesbians paved the way for LGBTQ+ rights years before Stonewall

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin were leaders of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian organization in the United States.

LGBT Historical Society

Fifteen years before the Stonewall riots in New York, a couple from San Francisco were already on their way to sparking a national debate about lesbian and gay rights. Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin can easily be called the mothers of the lesbian rights movement. They spent most of their adult lives fighting for recognition and equality, and in 1955 formed Founding the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian organization in the United States.

How the First Documented LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Demonstration in the US Happened

Black Cat in Silver Lake marked the 50th anniversary of the first LGBT civil rights protest in the United States.

In Los Angeles, a marquee with a smiling black cat blends in with the busy strip of Sunset Boulevard, but 50 years ago this place was at the forefront of the civil rights revolution. It happened on New Year’s Eve after police saw gay men kissing at midnight on the 1967 mark.

Inside Central California’s Secret Drag Shows

In the 1960s, LGBTQ+ people in Fresno, California were looking for places to meet. Before gay bars, secret drag shows gave locals places to socialize. Here, El Daña started working as one of the first male impersonators in the region, better known today as “drag kings”. She lip-synched with Tom Jones, Richie Valens, Glenn Campbell, drawing crowds from San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Check out the world’s first transgender district

Transgender County flags are seen in the Tenderloin in San Francisco on March 11, 2021.

Transgender County flags are seen in the Tenderloin in San Francisco on March 11, 2021.

Transgender County flags are seen in the Tenderloin in San Francisco on March 11, 2021.

KGO-TV

San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood has been home to transgender people since the 1920s. Compton’s Transgender Cultural District is the first of its kind in the world to celebrate the contributions of local transgender people. It was here in August 1966 that the Compton’s Cafeteria riot took place. Patrons of the all-night coffee shop have fought back against the police for their brutal and persistent harassment of drag queens and trans people, especially trans women.

This library works to bring the hidden history of LGBTQ+ people to life

Preserving LGBTQ+ history is difficult. Records are often destroyed to “protect” people from embarrassment after their death. Now the ONE Archives of the University of South Carolina Libraries brings these stories to life.

Learn about Chicago’s secret society of LGBTQ+ people

Once upon a time, it was a challenge for LGBTQ+ people to just go to a bar. In Chicago, the Mattachine Midwest newsletters were published by a gay secret society. They sent out urgent warnings about possible bar raids and other threats to the LGBTQ+ community. Information bulletins were also in other cities of the country.

How a lesbian couple bought a pub in 1971 and turned it into one of the first openly gay bars

This is an undated image of a sign hanging outside the Twin Peaks Tavern in San Francisco.

KGO-TV

Twin Peaks Tavern has been a staple of San Francisco’s Castro District for decades. Many people don’t know that this was the first bar to open to the world – literally. While other bars were hidden in basements or covered with windows, Twin Peaks Tavern installed huge glass windows so that anyone passing by could see the patrons.

How history is preserved at Fire Island Pines

Step off the 20-minute ferry from Sayville, Long Island, and you’ll find bamboo-lined trails welcoming you to the pines of Fire Island. It’s steps away from breathtaking beach views and the fight for LGBTQ+ freedom. At a time when men were not allowed to dance with other men, Fire Islands Pines provided a safe place for gay men to meet.

Inside the first LGBTQ+ moments in Houston, TX

The 1977 march led to the political empowerment of Houston’s LGBTQ community and the creation of services that still exist today, such as the Montrose Center and the Legacy Communi

Imagine Texas in the 1950s and 60s. Police raids were commonplace in gay and lesbian bars. Gay sex was illegal, as was cross-dressing. It was here that a courageous group of people rose up against oppression and turned hearts and minds.

The story of the first black gay magazine

BLK Magazine was the first of its kind in 1988.

Los Angeles is home to many early LBGTQ+ publications, but in 1988 the country got its first black gay magazine, BLK. It was a must-read for black gays and lesbians looking for coverage of their issues and interests, from the job search and the AIDS crisis to pop culture and entertainment.

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus was the start of the choral phenomenon

Gay men

Gay men

Gay Men’s Chorus 2020 will be held in San Francisco on July 13, 2020.

KGO-TV

In the fall of 1978, a call went out inviting men in and around the Castro to sing in a brand new choir. The driving force was John Sims, conductor of the Freedom Band. Interest grew, leading to the choir’s first meeting, with about 100 people showing up the first night. The men, who first came together more than 40 years ago, spawned the phenomenon of the LGBTQ chorus, which now boasts hundreds of choruses around the world.

The history of LGBTQ+ in Philadelphia goes back much further than the Stonewall uprising

Often considered the birthplace of America, Philadelphia is also where LGBTQ+ people first established their community. In the archive of John J. Wilcox at the William Way Center in Center City is working to celebrate these stories.

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