PRIDE, documenting decades of history

drawing of Ceyenne Doroshow for the series PRIDE

PRIDE, a documentary series from FX (also on Hulu) tells the history of the LBGTQ+ rights struggle decade by decade starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 2000s.

PRIDE works through 6 episodes approximately 10 years at a time. In the 1950s there was a look at vibrant gay culture which came under fire from Senator Joseph McCarthy and others in government who wanted to persecute and deny. Actually, gay culture is vibrant and alive in every decade. The contributions of that culture to American life are underestimated by most people.

In the 1960s, activism and protests became common, including what happened at Stonewall. In the 1970s, the early beginnings the the Gay Pride movement are explored as a fight against the religious right’s opposition to the existence of LGBTQ+ indiviiduals.

By the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic was in the forefront of people’s minds even as Ronald Reagan and the Moral Majority did nothing. That was also the beginning of the ball scene in New York City. When Bill Clinton turned out to be a disappointment in the 1990s, it further galvanized and organized LGBTQ+ people to fight back and protest.

The last episode deals with the 2000s with its gains for marriage equality, but its continuing struggle to honor and protect trans people, especially Black trans women.

The stories were told with archival footage, interviews, and actors playing parts.

The thing that struck me about this series was how intertwined the struggle for LGBTQ+ equal rights was and is with every other civil rights struggle. The history of struggle for Asian Americans or African Americans or disabled Americans, or women, and every other group came together here. That’s because every marginalized and maligned group who have had to fight for equality against the ruling power system in America includes LGBTQ+ individuals. They are the intersectionality of all civil rights movements.

Poster for the PRIDE documentary series

Here’s the trailer.

I certainly recommend this series as an outstanding history of the fight for freedom and equality for all people in America.

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