The film looks back to June 28, 1969, when a violent encounter between New York City’s homosexual community and the city’s police department exploded. It would change things for many in profound ways; however, it was barely documented by the mainstream media.
In 1969, homosexual acts were illegal in every state in the US, except in Illinois. Gay people had no political power, no rights. Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, a prolific husband and wife documentary filmmaking team based in New York City, were commissioned by PBS’ American Experience to make a film about the now-famous Stonewall riots that took place in New York’s West Village in the summer of that year. But before we even get to the recreation of that event, accompanied by commentary from some of the men and women who were there, Davis and Heilbroner meticulously and expertly illustrate the timbre of the general populace’s view on homosexuality. This is aided and abetted by vicious and incendiary propaganda about the dangers to society for which these “deviants” might be responsible, especially to young boys and girls vulnerable to encountering homosexuals in their schools, neighborhoods and playgrounds.
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