Next Episode of Equal is
Equal honors the rebels of yesteryear with never-before-seen archival footage along with stylistic depictions that bring to life the gripping and true backstories of these leaders and unsung heroes. Over the course of the series, viewers will meet a wide range of LGBTQ+ visionaries portrayed by the cast, many of whom identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Out of the 1950s' repressive shadows, the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis emerge. Founded in Los Angeles by Harry Hay, Mattachine is galvanized by Hay's gay rights manifesto "The Call" - and by the arrest and trial of member Dale Jennings. Meanwhile, tired of lesbian bars constantly being raided by police, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon create the Daughters of Bilitis as a support system for their San Francisco sisters. As these two groups shift from secret societies to national organizations demanding political and social change, they pave the way for a new generation of activists.
August 1966. Trans trailblazers rise up against police harassment at their San Francisco safe haven: Compton's Cafeteria. Helping to shed light on this pre-Stonewall milestone are the stories of three pioneers who shattered social norms and boldly lived as they chose: Prohibition-era entrepreneur Lucy Hicks Anderson, one of the first documented Black trans people in the U.S.; Jack Starr, a turn-of-the-century enigma who made headlines for gender nonconformity; and Christine Jorgensen, the 1950s global phenomenon famous for using her celebrity to educate and entertain.
At the height of the 1960s civil rights movement, three activists' complex lives epitomize the intersection of the personal and political. Lorraine Hansberry - a lesbian revolutionary hiding in plain sight, radical voice for civil rights, and author of "A Raisin in the Sun" - wrote extensively about her sexuality under pseudonyms. The March on Washington's intrepid organizer Bayard Rustin worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King and lived openly and proudly as a gay man, even though his sexuality was viewed as a threat to the movement. And in San Francisco, José Sarria, best known for performing comic operas in drag at The Black Cat, made a run for county supervisor years before Harvey Milk would eventually hold the seat.
Police brutality towards patrons of the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969 sets off an uprising that rages for days and inspires the first-ever Pride marches. Activists and icons who were involved in that historic night share their stories, including: Latina trans rights pioneer Sylvia Rivera; founder of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop Craig Rodwell; journalist Mark Segal; gay civil rights leader and entertainer Stormé DeLarverie; Village Voice reporter Howard Smith; and Dick Leitsch, president of the Mattachine Society in the 1960s.
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