Great news! On These Shoulders We Stand, an LGBT documentary about unsung Los Angeles gay pioneers, won The Special Programming Award for Freedom during July’s LA Outfest screening of new LGBT movies.
The movie’s editor, Philip Harrison, told me: “The film was a great success! Both showings were sold out and mostly filled to the brim (sometimes there are empty seats as people buy tickets but don't show up.) At the first screening, we had almost all of the people who are interviewed in the film in attendance. People laughed and cried. You could tell they were deeply moved and fascinated by the history they were being shown on screen. When the film was over, and the participants made their way to the front of the theater for questions and answers, there was a standing ovation. The second screening, we had a similar reaction and then to cap it all off, the film won The Special Programming Award for Freedom!”
The historical film includes a short piece about my firing in San Francisco circa 1969 and MCC founder Rev Troy Perry’s States Line demonstration at States' LA offices in solidarity with our cause against discrimination. The movie seeks to debunk the myth that all gay activism started with Stonewall in New York City. For more on my firing and our militant gay rights struggle, visit my author website where you can read Chapter One (“They Boot Homos, Don’t They?”) of my San Francisco memoir BEYOND NORMAL: The Birth of Gay Pride.
On These Shoulders We Stand's Editor Philip Harrison and Director Glenne McElhinney at LA Outfest July 2009 photo
Congratulations to Philip and Glenne (pictured above), who were kind enough to contact me during the film making for permission to use my photo. Naturally, I was not only happy to oblige, but was thrilled, as I’ve been trying to get the word out for years about California’s true leadership role in the Gay Revolution of 1969.
The notorious 1969 photo of me (Gale Whittington) and Leo Laurence for which we were both fired after it appeared in the Berkeley Barb underground newspaper. This picture is credited with starting the 1969 Gay Revolution
Tomorrow I’ll bring you an article about a new LGBT book in the works, entitled Changing History. The bio is being written by Leo Laurence, who with me, Co-Founded the world’s first militant gay civil rights group, The Committee for Homosexual Freedom (CHF), precursor to the Gay Liberation Front several months prior to Stonewall. Pat Brown, Mother Boats (founding members of CHF) and I will be collaborating closely with Leo in order to set the history record straight on the true beginning of Gay Liberation. If you just can’t wait, here’s a link to Leo Laurence’s August 1 2009 Press Release (“Gay Liberation DIDN’T start with Stonewall!!!!”).
About On These Shoulders We Stand:
(USA, 2009, 75 mins)
Directed By: Glenne McElhinney
SCR: Glenne McElhinney
"Too seldom told is the story of Los Angeles' rise as a mature gay mecca, but its struggles and achievements have been many. In this stirring documentary, 10 noteworthy gay and lesbian seniors recall the challenges, trials and triumphs of the city's gay past. From hidden identities, underground parties and police raids, to organization, defiance and leadership, the details of this story reveal its sweep and grandeur and remind us of the advancements we can't afford to take for granted."
IN COLLABORATION WITH: CHRISTOPHER STREET WEST ASSOCIATION, INC. (CSW) and SENIORS SERVICES DEPARTMENT, THE L.A.GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER
Here's the Video Trailer of On These Shoulders We Stand by Impact Stories:
Watch this Video about getting involved in the cause. Although it was made in 2006, it’s not at all dated:
Also visit http://www.galechesterwhittington.com/ for free humor, short stories, poems, and book excerpts from the award-winning gay author