OUTWORDS is capturing the stories of LGBTQ pioneers all over America. Why this is important? Please watch. We hope you'll be inspired to join us.
Growing up Jewish in a heavily Catholic Brooklyn neighborhood, Karla Jay learned early on to fend for herself. Karla became the first female chair of the Gay Liberation Front, which helped turn the spark of Stonewall into an enduring fire for LGBTQ rights.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Karla's story.
Jim Toy's dad was Chinese, his mom American. During WWII, Jim wore a sign to school that said, "I am not a Jap." He pursued music and ministry before finding his calling as a gay community activist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Today, the LGBT center there bears Jim's name.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Jim's story.
Mark Segal told his parents he was going to trade college in New York. In reality, he was becoming a full-time gay activist. In the wake of Stonewall, he helped found the Gay Liberation Front - and later schooled legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite about LGBTQ rights on national TV.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Mark's story.
Julie Nemecek is an ordained Baptist minister from Spring Arbor, Michigan. In 2007, the university where she taught fired her after she came out as transgender. Today, Julie remains married to her wife of 42 years, and is a proud grandmother of five.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Julie's story.
After first coming to prominence as an actor in John Waters' films Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble, Elizabeth Coffey Williams migrated west to Illinois, where she raised a son and created a line of original quilts. She now lives in Philadelphia, where she co-facilitates a group for young trans women of color.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Elizabeth's story.
Lani Ka’ahumanu is descended from Hawaiian, Japanese and European cultures. She married her high school sweetheart and became a 'soccer mom' before realizing she was lesbian - and later bisexual. Lani helped found the San Francisco State Women's Studies Department.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Lani's story.
Valda Proud was born in 1935, in Massachusetts. She studied voice, worked in the mail room at Harvard, and later hustled on the streets of New York. She witnessed multiple raids at the Stonewall Inn, until the night in June 1969 when the patrons finally decided to fight back.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Valda's story.
The son of Mexican immigrants, Richard Zaldivar grew up in church, preached the Gospel to juvenile offenders, and became a community organizer. In spite of immense opposition, he built America's first publicly-funded AIDS memorial to honor Latinos felled by the disease.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Richard's story.
Marcus Arana was born in Alaska. His parents were Blackfeet, Ohlone, and a bunch of other ethnicities. (His Native American name is Holy Old Man Bull. His friends call him Tio.) Marcus has worked tirelessly around San Francisco for various human rights groups.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Marcus's story.
Doc Duhon grew up in Reno, Nevada, and became a utility company executive in San Francisco before nearly dying of AIDS. Today, he lives in the California desert, and embraces polyamory, leather, and kink.
Check out the video clip for a piece of Doc's story.