Denver Gay Revolt – 1973

The 1970s were a pretty fruitful time in gay history, you should pardon the expression.. And despite what some people seem to think, there was an enormous amount of work being done in the realm of politics, rather than just in the courts.

A Denver attorney, Gerald Gerash, has put together a nice YouTube document of a turning point in Denver, when the police harassment that was so characteristic of the time led local lesbians and gay men to band together and fight city hall.

This is exactly the kind of thing I hope people in towns and cities across the country are putting together. History happened in our lifetimes, and we should be recording it like mad. These are people who actually had to argue that homosexuals could live productive and decent lives, and saw their arguments falling on some deaf ears.

But they also fell on ears that were willing to hear, and one of the best parts of this series is when you begin to see council members standing up for the lesbians and gay men in the audience. It takes a long time, but it happens.

There are twelve parts to this series, and they're not exactly organized very well on YouTube. And no one will complain that the piece is too slick or overproduced. But I think that's actually a virtue. This is history made by amateurs, and it's exactly how things are supposed to work in this country.

4 Comments for “Denver Gay Revolt – 1973”

  1. posted by Gerald A. Gerash on

    Hi David,

    I enjoyed your comments on my documentary on You Tube. Thank you for speaking out for gay history, even from amaterus like me. If you would like some commens I have received, I’ll be glad to send them.

    Best regards.


  2. posted by BobN on

    Thank you, Gerald, for putting this together.

    In 1973, I was a scared gay kid living in Capitol Hill, not ten blocks from your home. Fortunately for me, it was ten blocks further toward the State Capitol Building (at Ogden St). This put me in an area where there were gay men living discreet but not invisible lives. Had I lived in the other direction and not been able to see that there was hope, that there was a life ahead for me that wasn’t limited to toilets and parks, I would have killed myself. As it was, I came close enough, even with visible role models.

    I’m sure some of my childhood neighbors were at that hearing. I thank you and I thank them for your bravery and your persistence.

  3. posted by David Link on

    Jerry, we are all amateurs at this. No one taught us how to do politics, we had to figure it out for ourselves. I’m very glad you all were able to figure this one out.

  4. posted by Tom on

    The history of the GLBT movement is important, and I’m glad to see both organized efforts like the Wisconsin GLBT History Project and individual efforts like Jerry’s being made to preserve it.

    Video and oral histories are particularly important, I think, because so much of our history has to do with stories, not documents. Stories bring life to the facts.

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