Gay Revolt at Denver City Council, A Documentary by Gerald Gerash (DVD)
The documentary by BCC member Gerald Gerash, who helped make history in Denver and raised the bar for the nation, through Mile High mobilization and activism, is on sale now at the BCC gift shop.
In 1973, it was simply illegal for gay people to show affection in the ways that straight people took for granted. Men holding hands in public could be arrested. Flirting could lead to jail. The law didn’t change on its own…
See how a powerless gay community in 1972 fought the police and City Hall protesting Vice Squad round-ups of gay men and harassment of the gay and lesbian community—and won!
Hear the 1973 voices of the community at City Council refuse to back down from threats of arrest, and eventually win over a majority of City Council—during those times of extreme homophobia and heterosexism.
Watch how a few began to bring gay liberation to Denver and quickly built, from the grass roots, a broad based, highly developed gay community with its own supportive institutions.
Learn how this strong foundation was the essential first step that led to several stunning gay rights landmarks, such as the 1990 Colorado case, Romer v. Evans, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. (Lambda Legal: “…the single most positive Supreme Court ruling in the history of the gay rights movement…”) and cited 7 times in support by Judge Vaughn Walker in his right-to-marry ruling striking down Proposition 8. The decision was also cited in the Ninth Circuit’s affirmation of Judge Walker’s ruling.
October marked the 40th anniversary celebration of gay rights “moment” Gay Revolt at Denver City Council Oct. 21, 2013, and this week Channel 8’s broadcast of that historic hearing was uploaded to the internet in full. If you’d like to watch it, click here, then in the index below the video, choose “CP13-0737.” for the proclamation — just before that, at 10:52, is where the Proclamation starts. It’s read by Robin Kniech, the first open lesbian on the council, as well as being an amazing and inspiring person. Her speech follows (at 15:50), then the other city council members speak briefly (starting at 19:13) Robin introduces Sam Cole and Gerald Gerash at 26:15 and Gerald speaks after Sam Cole.
Gay Revolt is a powerfully important account of gay civil rights.
“Viewers become witnesses to that night, when the city council treated gay activism as a joke. We get to listen as though we are a fly on the wall, and we watch as the tide changes. Illegal roundups, entrapment, and a reckless vice squad make for a riveting heroic narrative of the people who stood up to the injustice in Denver.
This is a testament to our heroic gay brothers and sisters, who bravely paved the way for future rights around the country. Gay Revolt is suitable for any library and audience where gay history is important. It is a documentary that must be seen if we are to understand our past and to stay focused on our goals for the future of gay rights.”
—Johnnie N. Gray, Spring 2011 newsletter of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Round Table of the American Library Association