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Film About the Founding Of the Gay Movement in the U.S. @ Wednesday's GLN Meeting

After the conclusion of the regular monthly Gay Liberation Network meeting this Wednesday, we will have a special screening of “Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay.” Hay was the inspiration for and founder of the first permanent gay political organization in the United States, the Mattachine Society.

Perhaps even more remarkably, Hay founded Mattachine during the height of the Joseph McCarthy-led witch-hunts against alleged gays and communists in government. At a time of sensationalistic headlines and hysterical purges of thousands of Lesbians and Gays from their jobs, Hay and his co-thinkers founded an organization which was unapologetically pro-gay. This was even more remarkable when you consider the fact that almost all of the medical and psychiatric “experts” of the time held backward views about gays and lesbians, and even a majority of our own people succumbed to anti-gay propaganda pumped out by these “experts,” and religious and political leaders.

"Hope Along the Wind" was produced in 2001, one year before Hay died at age 90. Besides Hay and his partner, John Burnside, other early members of Mattachine are interviewed in it, including Dale Jennings. Jennings, like so many other gays at the time, was entrapped by the police, but unlike most other gays of the time, he chose to publicly fight the charges while at the same time openly announcing that he was gay. A Mattachine-led campaign in Jennings’ defense both won his subsequent acquittal on criminal charges and led to the explosive growth of the organization. That such growth could happen despite the hostile political climate showed that at least some gay and lesbian people were finally prepared to begin building their own movement for equal rights.

This Wednesday’s meeting is at 7 PM at Chicago’s lesbian and gay library, Gerber-Hart, located at 1127 W. Granville Street, Chicago (1/2 block west of the “Granville” Red Line el stop). New attendees are welcome! For more information, phone Andy at 773.209.1187


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