National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is held annually on October 11th as a reminder of the 1978 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The March aimed to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, and today marks the 30th anniversary of NCOD’s focus on the importance of coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), or an ally.
As National Coming Out Day focuses on creating a world in which the LGBTQ community can live openly, below is a selection of public radio and television programs that have explored what ‘living openly’ has meant to both the straight and LGBTQ communities through the decades.
The Homosexual in Our Society (Parts 1 and 2) from Pacifica Radio Archives (1958)
Part 1 Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-3n20c4st80
This recording from 1958 is an early example of overt discussions around homosexuality. It features interviews that discuss the conflict of the society versus the individual, whether the root of homosexuality is a product of biology or environment, “flamboyant individuals”, and elimination of effeminate gestures that distinguish homosexuals versus educating public that these mannerisms are not significant.
Part 2 Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-tt4fn11944
In this portion of the program, the panelists discuss laws regarding homosexuals, civil rights of homosexuals, identification of homosexuals, gender identification in society, possible causes of sexual choice, i.e. heredity versus environmental causes, and how society can constructively deal with these issues.
Speeches from the Lesbian Feminist Dialogue Conference from New England Public Radio’s series World of Women (1972)
This recording includes selected proceedings from the Lesbian Feminist Dialogue Conference about the relationship of feminism and lesbianism, and the tensions between straight and lesbian feminists.
Female Homosexuality from WNED’s Woman Series (1974)
This episode features a conversation with Barbara Love, co-author with Sydney Abbott of “Sappho was a Right on Woman: A Liberated View of Lesbianism.” At the time of this episode, Love served on the Board of Directors of the National Gay Task Force, on the faculty of the Psychology Department of The New School for Social Research, and a member of the Advisory Board of New York N.O.W.
Transexuality and Sports from The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (1976)
This episode features a discussion on transexuality and sports with guests such as Dr. Renee Richards, Dorothy Harris, Charles Ihlenfeld, Roberto Granato.
Homosexual Rights; Gay Rights from The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (1977)
This episode follows a vote that would soon take place in Dade County, Miami to repeal or leave as it is an ordinance banning discrimination against homosexuals in housing, employment and public accommodations.
Lesbe Friends from Pacifica Radio Archives’ The Lesbian Underground Episode (ca. 1978)
In this episode, the discussion focuses on the ‘lesbian underground’, or what it was like to be a lesbian before the feminist and gay liberation movement. Guests include the then Commissioner of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women, Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission in San Francisco, and a comedian. Lesbe Friends was introduced on KPFA in 1978 as a new program produced by the Lesbian Task Force of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. It was broadcast on second and fourth Mondays of the month at noon.
Gay Show: A Look at Gay Fathers from WYSO (1979)
This episode explores what it’s like parenting as a Gay father.
National March on Gay Rights from The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (1993)
Torie Osborn, the Executive Director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force discusses the (then) most recent march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights; calling for an end to the ban on homosexuals in the military and increased funding for AIDS research.
The Other Side of the Closet: the Coming Out Crisis for the Straight Spouses and Families from WILL Public Radio’s Focus Program (2004)
Amity Pierce Buxton, Ph.D., then Director of Straight Spouse Network, dicusses some persective of straight spouses and families after other LGBTQ family members come out.
Homeless LGBTQ Youth: Cause & Effect from Hoover Institution Library & Archives (2010)
This forum speaks with LGBTQ youth and specalists in LGBTQ youth programming about the circumstances surrounding the loss of home and family after coming out.
Martha Nussbaum: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law at the Harvard Book Store by the WGBH Forum Network (2010)
In this lecture, professor of law and philosophy, Martha Nussbaum, discusses the status of gay rights in the context of constitutional law and her (then) new book. Nussbaum argues that ‘disgust’ has long been among the fundamental motivations of those who are fighting for legal discrimination against lesbian and gay citizens, and believes that the politics of disgust must be confronted directly, for it contradicts the basic principle of the equality of all citizens under the law.
The Gay Response from Wisconsin Public Television
This show explores some of the responses of the gay community to discrimination, and speaks with members of the community about their coming out story.
Teaching Sex Ed and Homosexuality from NewsNight Minnesota (1996)
This episode explores how Minnesotan teachers are approcahing LGBTQ sexual education.
Written by Ryn Marchese, AAPB Engagement and Use Manager