Title Slate: OUT-A Town Meeting. Rec: 6/23/90. Dir: Andrew Wilk. Prod: T. Harris
Funding by announcer, charitable orgs overlay graphics.
Pan out from top of New York Empire State Building all lit up at night to view of the City at night.
Peaceful Gay Pride parade in San Francisco, 1990. Crowd holding American flags, posters, banners walking peacefully down the street.
OUT New York San Francisco graphics and show opener.
Wide shot studio. Robert Lipsyte seen sitting at curved half round table with other guests. Large OUT logo and TV screens in bkgd
Host Robert Lipsyte sitting in front of four tv screens which display logo for OUT New York San Francisco A Town Meeting. He welcomes viewers and announces this special broadcast for tonight's program.
Lipsyte explains format for tonight's program - an electronic town meeting between Channel 13 studio in New York and sister channel in San Franciso (KQED channel 9)
Wide shot studio in New York - half moon shaped panel and audience facing panel.
Wide shot sister station in San Francisco studio - Four guests seated on chairs face audience.
Split screen Robert Lipsyte and Ginger Casey (Lipsyte's co-host in SFO)
Host Lipsyte introduces guests from New York: Gabriel Rotello, Dr. Marjorie Hill, Director Mayor's Office Lesbian & Gay Affairs; Anne Northrup, Activist ACT UP; Tom Stoddard., Exec. Dir. Legal Defense and Legal Fund
Host in San Francisco Ginger introduces and welcomes her panel of guests: Jackie Goldsby, Editor and Writer Outlook Magazine; Cleve Jones, Founder of Aids Quilt and Political Activist; Carole Migden, SFO Legislative Department.
Wide shot San Francisco studio from back of audience, panel of guests on small rise.
INTERVIEW WITH SFO PANEL:
I imagine we should open our program by discussing what agenda the gay community has as it moves into the 90s Cleve, perhaps you could start?
Cleve Jones 7:35
Well, I think the most important thing in the 90s is going to be reclaiming the political agenda that that predates the AIDS epidemic during most of the 80s. Most of us have had to concentrate all of our energies and resources on the epidemic because of the lack of government response. In the 90s. I think we're going to have to go back to the issues that came before that family issues, the question of violence, and also in particular dealing with the issues of youth in our own community, and the divisions of racism and sexism within our own community.
Ginger Casey 8:03
Jackie Goldsby 8:04
I would agree with Cleve on the point about racism, it seems to me that as we move into the 90s, that the agenda has to change. And it seems to me that that including race is very critical to even expanding the definition of family that we're trying to put forward into account for the presence of lesbians and gays of color, as an affirmative presence that we have thoughts, ideas and a political agenda and a sense about politics to offer as well,
Ginger Casey 8:34
Carol Migden 8:34
we have to expand the agenda. We still have a lot of work to do on AIDS, we'll continue to do that. That's increasingly important. And we've made some inroads, but let us not forget that AIDS is also going to dominate in the 90s as well. We have to get back to issues of discrimination and get legislative protections. On the job side in the workplace. Our relationships have to be validated. We got to pass domestic partnership. We have people in our audience with Spry t shirts, they're enthusiastic. I think it's important that we get back on track with things that are positive that are life affirming. And also be mindful that we have a lot of still a burden ahead with regard to AIDS.
Ginger Casey 9:08
Let's check with New York and see if the agenda there will be any different Bob.
Cut to New York studio with Host Lipsyte sitting at half moon shape panel with panel guests.
INTERVIEW WITH NEW YORK PANEL:
Robert Lipsyte 9:12
Thank you, ginger, Dr. Marjorie Hill, let's start with you. You're in City Hall in New York. What is your thoughts about the agenda for the night
Marjorie Hill 9:19
one of the primary concerns for this administration and for many lesbians and gays in the city is the issue of increasing violence against Lesbians and Gays? Many of us know that nationwide, violence against our community has risen 122% and that's just not acceptable. The second issue is that our community has a real task to make sure that our representation is diverse and inclusive of people of color of women, and also of individuals with disability. So I think that dealing with the issues around violence, domestic partnership, as well as making sure that our representatives are truly as inclusive as possible. The issues that the Dinkins administration and many of the activists in New York are concerned about
Robert Lipsyte 10:05
Gabriel Rotello 10:06
I agree with what everyone has said so far, one thing I would add would be trying to create a sort of spiritual climate within the gay movement that encourages people to come out of the closet, I don't think that we're going to see a lot more progress than we've seen in the last 20 years, unless a lot more gay and lesbian people come out of the closet. In order to do that a lot of social, a lot of the social agenda has to be moved forward. But within the gay and lesbian community itself, we have to sort of create spiritual models for gay and lesbian people that encourage people that are in the closet to come out. And I think that we're beginning to see us doing that right now
Robert Lipsyte 10:38
Tom Stoddard 10:40
Gabriel's just made a very important point, change has to be along two tracks. One is the law, where we work toward absolute equality for lesbians and gay men, as well as for all Americans. But the most important aspect really is hearts and minds of Americans, reaching them and making them understand that lesbians and gay men are people entitled to full and fair treatment on a social level, as well as illegal level and coming out is really the only way to ultimately accomplish that by making gay people visible to the rest of the world.
Robert Lipsyte 11:09
Ann Northrop 11:10
Yeah, I certainly wouldn't argue with anything that's been said. so far. I agree with all of it. I think we have a long way to go, just fundamentally and getting ourselves exactly accepted as human beings in the first place. And I think the violence that's visited upon us, as Dr. Hill mentioned, is completely out of control. And I think that the heterosexual community has to put us on their agenda too. And I think that it is wrong to think that we are a monolithic community. We are many communities, we have many agendas, and many priorities that are different among us. And I just want everyone to know that there are there is not one agenda. There are many
Robert Lipsyte 11:52
Do you feel Ann that you said this is a problem for the heterosexual community,
Ann Northrop 11:56
You bet it is
Robert Lipsyte 11:58
what what must the heterosexual community do?
Ann Northrop 12:00
The heterosexual community must stop assuming that everyone in this world is heterosexual and must stop assuming that there is something wrong with homosexuality, and must and the heterosexual community, if it is to survive itself must stop killing those who are different from it. The heterosexual community for its own peace of mind and survival as a species must include everybody of every sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, ability, whatever, across the board,
Robert Lipsyte 12:39
Marjorie, of everybody at this table, you are closest to the precincts of power towards the power of the heterosexual community. Do you see gay people having the clout to make those kind of force those kind of changes?
Marjorie Hill 12:52
I think that lesbians and gays, particularly in New York City, are increasingly visible in city government. My appointment is one example of that. There are a number of leading gays and lesbians in in the Dinkins administration. I also think that in terms of our collective voices, that the administration and city politicians who caught the gay and lesbian community are very much aware so that I think that we are approaching a point where we are becoming more visible. That's not to say that we can all relax that there's a lot of work to be done. And on the note about the heterosexual community, one of the things that really needs to happen is that the education has to begin with our children, that our children have to learn about different types of cultures, different types of lifestyles, and that has to happen in kindergarten, second grade elementary school, that people form their opinions and values very early on. And the Board of Education has a real responsibility in that regard.
Robert Lipsyte 13:55
Thank you, Saffron. People in San Francisco seem to be closer to the precincts of power. Ginger, let's let's go back to you.
Split screen with Lipsyte and Casey. Lipsyte refers to San Francisco panel.
INTERVIEW WITH SFO PANEL.
Ginger Casey 14:03
San Francisco is of course considered perhaps one of the most tolerant cities in the world in terms of the gay community, but even in our area is homophobia is still the biggest obstacle to be overcome.
Cleve Jones 14:15
Absolutely. I mean, even in San Francisco today, after two decades of a very visible lesbian and gay community, we still have a terrible problem with violence in the streets. Just recently, we've had a number of pretty ugly examples of it. And also the kind of homophobia that is inadvertently expressed by some of the politicians in our town during the controversy with the school board, for example, over Project 10 it's still very much
Ginger Casey 14:41
Why don't you explain that briefly for a new york audience.
Cleve Jones 14:43
We have a proposal here in San Francisco to create a program for young lesbians and gay men in the school system modeled after Project 10 in Los Angeles that is basically a counseling and referral center. And it really brought out a lot of the homophobes out of out of the woodwork. But I was really struck by their arguments against it. It's so clear that they just don't understand what we're about. And what I try and hold on to is a sense that these are not necessarily my enemies. But these are potential allies that have yet to understand the common sense of what we're saying.
Ginger Casey 15:18
Right. Very well put there. Carol?
Carol Migden 15:20
I mean, I think we were all struck by that when we were lobbying for the project 10, which, again, is is an in service program for kids that are lesbian or gay, and we feel were a gay city, it should have just been handily supported and easily affirmed. And yet there were great pockets of problems and neighbors and citizens in that came out to protest against it, which was deeply distressing. One has to remember that we are We will continue to be an unpopular minority. We're different. What we're trying to do is stand up and affirm ourselves and take our right and seize power and be understood and demand a place at the table. But that shouldn't necessarily be predicated upon a change of attitude per se alone, and think that deep seated resistance to gayness is going to change immediately. I mean, that's an attitudinal thing that takes generations, we have to continue to work and struggle and prove that we're part of the community that we have a positive contribution to make, but realize that we're going to continue to meet with great resistance
Ginger Casey 16:18
Jackie, do the positive things that the community has achieved, do they become overshadowed by the Helms is of the world?
Jackie Goldsby 16:27
They do. I mean, in so much that the voice of Helms, he has access to power, he has access to CNN to put his line out there. But I think it raises the issue for discussion and becomes a part of discourse, which is really critical. So that is on, it's on the lips of everyone in America, if wean speak rhetorically for a minute. I think what concerns me about the issue of the NEA is that when it focus specifically on maple thorbes pictures that the whole issue of race got subverted or suppressed in that discussion, and that it's very critical as we talk about connecting with the heterosexual community coming out that there's a way in which we allow for people of color to come out as well. And so that the issues of sexuality and identity and race get articulated on the table too, because when I think of the whole concept of outing For example, I have my issues with it. But on the other hand, I I want to have black people come out black Lesbians and Gays to come out because so often homosexuality is seen as a white thing. And it becomes very critical for those of us who are out to stand up and say, I have chosen this because of who I am. And it is a part of my blackness. It is a part of my culture, how I express it,
Ginger Casey 17:37
But that was your choice. The whole concept of outing some people argue is taking away someone's choice I declaring their sexual
Jackie Goldsby 17:44
Right, I have my problems with it. And I, on some level, I think that outing enforces the same lack of choice that the general social conditions that make us stay in the closet, it's structurally similar to me, so that I have my objections to outing as a political strategy to to deal with the issue of political visibility or invisibility.
Ginger Casey 18:07
We'll talk some more about this little later on. Let's check back with New York now, Bob?
Split screen with Lipsyte and Casey. Casey refers back to New York panel.
INTERVIEW WITH NY PANEL.
Robert Lipsyte 18:11
Well, the issue of outing the issue of outing has been brought up and that naturally brings us to Gabriel retell our week magazine. Yes, so natural, natural link, we've we've talked about, you've talked about the need for gays to step forward to be role models, and everybody seems to be agreed that that's necessary. And yet the controversy exists about there's
Gabriel Rotello 18:37
there's also a need, I think, for the for the practice of journalism to stop suppressing the idea that there are powerful gays and lesbians throughout society. It's something that journalism has been doing for a long, long time and outing to me anyway, I'm you know, a lot of people have different ideas of what it's about. To me, it simply refers to an ending of the practice of suppressing the truth about the number of gay people that and lesbians that permeate our society,
Robert Lipsyte 19:04
Let's try to make the link Tom, maybe you can help us make the link between people coming out, and the advancement of the political process in which there are rights for gay people.
Tom Stoddard 19:15
The truth is that only a tiny fraction of gay people are out in any real sense. And because of that, most Americans I think, who are not lesbian or gay still think they don't know any gay people. And so I would make a personal appeal to every lesbian and gay man to make a step forward over this weekend this weekend in particular and to understand that political progress is tied to personal advancement, that the personal is the political. Gabriel, by the way is absolutely right that there's a journalistic double standard on this, and I don't disagree with him about that at all. All of the newspapers and, and television stations talk regularly about the social lives of heterosexual stars, but don't talk about gay stars at all, it's a double standard. It's unacceptable and it has to be changed.
Robert Lipsyte 20:04
Ann do you think that gay political progress is linked to people coming forward?
Ann Northrop 20:07
Oh, undoubtedly, it's the bottom line. And I want to suggest that if people are not comfortable coming out in their personal lives and at work, whatever that the one step they can take to come out. The one that's crucially important at this point is that they come out to their political representatives that they write their senators and congressmen and state representatives and local because george bush declared war on us this week by being at jesse helms fundraiser Wednesday on the opening day. And we can no longer afford to be invisible to our representatives, George Bush is either blackmailed into going to jesse helms fundraiser, or fully supports that and either way, he declared war on us this week, and we must stop hiding, we have to stand up for our rights, because we cannot count on the President of the United States to support us as human beings.
Robert Lipsyte 20:59
Marjorie Hill, do you think that politicians will respond to that?
Marjorie Hill 21:02
I think so that politicians are bright individuals, and they're for the most part, and that they really are. And that they will respond to a visible constituency,
Robert Lipsyte 21:14
Well they want to be reelected?
Marjorie Hill 21:15
Absolutely. And that there is power in numbers. I think that around Tom's appeal that individuals come out, I also think that our community has a responsibility to embrace and welcome individuals where they are and that our communities, our community centers, our organizations, our lesbian and gay institutions should encourage those who have not traditionally supported or attended those events to come and to attend, that our community is not always safe for all of the Lesbians and Gays that are there.
Robert Lipsyte 21:49
We've been led to believe in New York that San Francisco is more sophisticated in in just these kinds of processes. Ginger, I wonder if, if anybody in your panel would like to address that.
Back with Casey and SFO panel.
CONTINUING INTERVIEW WITH SFO PANEL.
Ginger Casey 22:03
They always say that in Oakland, people go to work. And in San Francisco, they go to breakfast. So I suppose in that sense. But Carol, you have some strong feelings about outing.
Carol Migden 22:14
I suppose I think everybody does. And clearly it's an issue that's percolating. I think it's appropriate sometimes when when it's an act of self defense,
Ginger Casey 22:26
give us an example.
Carol Migden 22:27
Well, it is a time of war. I mean, that was articulately just stated by the act of representative in New York, that clearly it is a time of war and war has been declared upon us. And it has been for decades and boys are dying. And and and and there's really no relief in sight. So if there are individuals in position of power and authority who do harm to us, then it is Madison appropriate measure to ask them if that will in somehow help or eradicated or stamp it out and ended?
Ginger Casey 22:53
Well, who determines what the harm is? Is that
Carol Migden 22:56
Well, there's some individuals, whether it's J. Edgar Hoover, or Congress person, or people that are in power, or just as what stated political people, of course, are critical, they have to be impacted, they have to be made to understand understand that they'll be consequences to actions and if their personal choices that one chooses to live clot, you know, to live a closet life hurts the gay movement politically. And psychologically, that's saying that means you cavalierly toss people out of the closet. But if people are doing harm to us, then I think it is an appropriate action.
Ginger Casey 23:27
You know, you think of a scenario in which say, somebody in Congress is gay, and they're keeping it very quiet. There's a bill coming up, that is dealing with gay issues, but it is attached, say to a highway bill that they're not in favor of, will they be threatened to be outed, if they do not vote the party line in a situation like this? Will they be seen as enemies?
Carol Migden 23:48
I mean, then they should take the rider off the bill. To do that. I mean, there are measures that can be done or the issue would be that if somebody is gay and is voting in a way that contradicts the best interests of the community, and we can amass some political power by exposing that, and that's just an option that has to be considered, just can't back away from it and say, it's never appropriate in any circumstance, because it is a time of war, which dictates unusual ground rules.
Ginger Casey 24:11
cleve but is it something that could be exploited?
Cleve Jones 24:15
Well, it's been exploited for a very long time by heterosexuals. You know, I came out when I was a teenager, and I've always been really impatient with people that stayed in the closet. I think it's really stupid. It's a waste of their lives. But I think that even in 1990, we have to recognize that risks remain. I know a great many lesbian women who lost their children when they were either exposed or chose to came out of the come out of the closet. I know of men and women who have lost their jobs. I myself have experienced violence on the street because of being out there. So I think we have to acknowledge that the risks are real, that they still exist, and I don't feel that anyone has the right to rip anyone out of the closet unless clearly they are how hiding and exploiting homophobia to advance their career. I know of I worked in the California legislature for many years I know of homosexuals in the California legislature. And I'm not going to say their names because they would not be reelected. And they vote right. And so that is, to me the litmus test, if one of those people turns around and begins to exploit homophobia, and to hurt our people, then I would have no qualms whatsoever about ripping them out of the closet and exposing them as a hypocrite.
Ginger Casey 25:32
Let's go back to New York
Wide shot audience applauding
Host Robert Lipsyte thanks panelists from New York and San Francisco
Lipsyte cuts to first documentary, "We are Family"
Glowing yellow and orange WGBH graphic
Funding for documentary by announcer. cpb graphic (Corporation for Public Broadcasting and list of other funding organizations.
Documentary film, We are Family, opens to Gay Pride March in Boston, 1986. Large group of people, green balloons, people holding signs. Documentary about gay men and lesbians becoming foster parents, the redefining of the traditional family structure, alternate families, and the potential implications on the children, and inside look at a family.
Description: OUT New York San Francisco Title: "OUT-A Town" Meeting - Lesbian and Gay Pride Month Rec: 6/23/90 Guests: Jackie Goldsby, Editor Outlook Magazine; Cleve Jones, NAMES Project; Carol Migden, Activist; Gabriella Rotello; Dr. Marjorie Hill; Anne Northrup; Tom Stoddard; Mariana Romo-Carmona, Public Educ. Coordinator Description: A Special broadcast bridging the cities of New York and San Francisco celebrating Lesbian and Gay Pride Month. An electronic Town Meeting with panels and audiences to explore the issues and questions facing the gay communities in the early '90's
Keywords: coming out
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