On this week’s show, Anthony Corona and Scott Marshall had the great opportunity to virtually sit down with Eric Marcus, journalist, network television producer, and author of the acclaimed book and podcast Making Gay History. We first met Eric last January when he shared with us and our listeners audio clips from his collection of over one hundred interviews of LGBQ pioneers and allies. A link to that presentation is in the show notes.
In today’s episode, we talked with Eric about what led him to become the chronicler of oral LGBTQ history; what were his favorite interviews; what were his most difficult interviews; the interviews he was not able to do, and who among his interviewees most impacted his own life. You will hear about the “happy warriors” Kay Tobin Lahusen and Barbara Gittings from Pennsylvania whose extraordinary advocacy was wrapped in humor, the always serious and commanding Frank Kameny an astronomer from Washington, DC who was fired by the U.S. Civil Service Commission for being gay, and what he and others did to change that discriminatory policy. You will also meet Greg Brock, the self-described “Sissy from Mississippi” who as the front page assistant managing editor of the San Francisco Examiner, was outed on the Oprah Show and later worked for the Washington Post and the New York Times – a role model for many LBGTQ journalists even today.
Finally, we were introduced to Jean and Morty Mannford whose son was badly beaten because he was gay. This led to the founding in the early 1970’s of a parents support organization (later renamed Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, AKA, “PFLAG”), which inspired our own organization within the American Council of the Blind twenty-one years ago.
Eric will be back with us during our convention in July to talk about some of his many other projects: a podcast focusing on the early years of the Aids crisis including his personal perspective, the opening of an LGTQ museum in New York City, a “Making Gay history” play first performed in New York City by high school students and his podcast focusing generally on the Holocaust. What will this incredible person do next?
Pride Connection airs on ACB Radio Mainstream Tuesdays at 10pm eastern and is broadcast soon thereafter to your favorite podcatcher app.
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