On These Shoulders We Stand
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On These Shoulders We Stand

USA, 2009, 75 Minute Running Time
Bay Area Premiere
Genre/Subjects: Activism, Aging / Elders, Asian / Pacific Islander, Biography / History, Bisexual, Black / African American, Discrimination, Documentary, Gay, Homophobia, Jewish, Latino/a, Lesbian, Male-to-Female, Transgender
Program: Documentary
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Glenne McElhinney

With so much emphasis — and rightly so — on the events of the Stonewall riots, our common history has made it easy to forget the struggles of our community in other parts of the country. On These Shoulders We Stand explores the early decades of the gay rights movement in Los Angeles through the eyes of a handful of heroic individuals.

Los Angeles in the 1950’s was both a gay haven and a prison. People found each other and celebrated, only to be threatened and humiliated by the police and, it seemed, the city itself. Yet with each setback, new people found their place in the movement. Fear and shame slowly transformed into defiance. Challenging authority with a knowing silence evolved into demonstrations and marches.

In the wake of Stonewall, Los Angeles hosted the first Gay Pride Parade. Feminism and the gay rights movement partnered to lead the way for women to celebrate themselves and each other. Health clinics were opened. Churches were founded. The rights of LGBT peoples were discussed and defended. One by one, victims turned into survivors. Survivors became crusaders.

This kind of place-based history reminds us that every movement is sparked by individual stories. By celebrating different communities’ contributions to our national and international LGBT rights movements, we acknowledge that each of us, no matter where we come from, has a part to play. — KRISTINE KOLTON

Text Voting Code: D318

Copresented by

GLBT Historical Society

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