This article is the 11th in a series featuring clips from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, which is working to digitize television and radio pieces so that they may be preserved for years to come. For more about the project, see our introduction to the series, where you'll also find a handy list of all the series' pieces so far.
The 1960s came to a close with what is still perhaps the most consequential event in recent American gay history: the Stonewall riots of June 28, 1969.
As Charles Kaiser put it in his history of gay New York, "No other civil rights movement in America ever had such an improbable unveiling: an urban riot sparked by drag queens. But while many gay people remained ignorant of Stonewall and others reacted to it with discomfort, this 1960s version of the Boston Tea Party would do more than any other event to transform gay life in America. The thick bottle that had contained an entire culture was uncorked in 1969; within a few years it would be shattered into a thousand pieces."
Those years that followed, the decade of the 1970s, represent a remarkable period of transformation for gays and lesbians, particularly those living in America's coastal cities. At its core, that transformation was about visibility. During those years, there was the first gay television movie; a sexy on-screen kiss between two men in Sunday, Blood Sunday; and the release of Cabaret, which has been hailed as the first movie that "really celebrated homosexuality." There were gains in politics too: Edward Koch, then serving in Congress, "became one of the first elected officials to publicly lobby on behalf of the homosexuals of Greenwich Village," Kaiser writes. Gay Pride Week was established. Perhaps most significantly: In December of 1973, the board of the American Psychiatric Association* voted 13-0 "to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders."