Cover art for podcast Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive

Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive

131 EpisodesProduced by Eric MarcusWebsite

Intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history brought to you from rare archival interviews.

131 Episodes | 2016 - 2023

Season 1: Preview

October 5th, 2016


The Making Gay History podcast mines Eric Marcus’s decades-old audio archive of rare interviews to create intimate, personal portraits of both known …

Season 1: Episode 1: Sylvia Rivera — Part 1

October 13th, 2016


A never-before-heard conversation with trans icon and self-proclaimed Stonewall veteran Sylvia Rivera. Hear Sylvia discuss the first night of the June 1969 uprising and her struggle for recognition in the LGBTQ rights …

Season 1: Episode 2: Wendell Sayers

October 20th, 2016


You’ve never heard of Wendell Sayers, but once you hear his story, you’ll never forget him. Born in western Kansas in 1904, Wendell was the first …

Season 1: Episode 3: Edythe Eyde aka Lisa Ben

October 27th, 2016


In 1947, Hollywood secretary Edythe Eyde, aka Lisa Ben, had the audacity to publish “Vice Versa,” the first ever “magazine” for lesbians. Even more …

Season 1: Episode 4: Dr. Evelyn Hooker

November 3rd, 2016


In 1945 Dr. Evelyn Hooker’s gay friend Sam From urged her to do a study challenging the commonly held belief that homosexuals were by nature mentally …

Season 1: Episode 5: Frank Kameny

November 10th, 2016


Frank Kameny fought for what was right. And he never gave up. Lessons for us all.

Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival photos, and other resources.

To learn more about listener data and our …

Season 1: Episode 6: Jeanne and Morty Manford

November 17th, 2016


When Jeanne Manford’s gay son was badly beaten at a protest in 1972, she took action and founded an organization for parents of gays known today as PFLAG.

Visit our episode webpage for background information, archival …

Season 1: Episode 7: Chuck Rowland

November 23rd, 2016


A WWII veteran turns theory into action, co-founding one of the first LGBT rights groups, the Mattachine Society, in 1950—a time when gay people were …

Season 1: Episode 8: Dear Abby

December 1st, 2016


A generation ago, tens of millions of people turned to "Dear Abby” in her daily newspaper column for advice. Long before others did, and at …

Season 1: Episode 9: Barbara Gittings & Kay Lahusen — Part 1

December 8th, 2016


Self-described gay rights fanatics and life partners Barbara Gittings and Kay “Tobin” Lahusen helped supercharge the nascent movement in the 1960s and brought their creativity, passion, determination, and good humor to …

Season 1: Episode 10: Vito Russo

December 15th, 2016


Vito Russo loved movies, but he looked behind the silver screen and saw how Hollywood was sending a message that LGBTQ people were less-than-human. …

Bonus: Love Is Love

February 14th, 2017


The right to love and be loved for who we are has always been a driving force in the fight for LGBT civil rights. Eric shares four special love stories from his archive featuring activists who helped change the course …

Season 2: Preview

February 23rd, 2017


Making Gay History mines Eric Marcus’s 30-year-old audio archive of rare interviews to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and …

Season 2: Episode 1: Marsha P. Johnson and Randy Wicker

March 2nd, 2017


Meet Marsha P. Johnson and Randy Wicker—two very different heroes of the early LGBT civil rights movement. Marsha was a Street Transvestite Action …

Season 2: Episode 2: Shirley Willer

March 9th, 2017


Shirley Willer had good reason to be angry—she was beaten by the police and a dear friend was allowed to die. Because they were gay. She channeled …

Season 2: Episode 3: Hal Call

March 16th, 2017


Hal Call never minced words. The midwestern newspaperman and WWII vet wrested control of the Mattachine Society from its founders and went on to …

Season 2: Episode 4: Jean O'Leary - Part 1

March 23rd, 2017


Jean O’Leary was passionate—about women, nuns, feminism, and equal rights. She left an indelible mark on the women’s movement and the LGBTQ civil rights movement, but not without causing controversy, too. After all, she …

Season 2: Episode 5: Jean O'Leary - Part 2

March 26th, 2017


Jean O’Leary had a vision for the national LGBTQ civil rights movement. On March 26, 1977 she led the first delegation of lesbian and gay activists to the White House. And in 1988 she co-founded National Coming Out Day.

Season 2: Episode 6: Morris Foote

March 30th, 2017


On November 2, 1955, when 30-year-old Morris read on the front page of Boise's newspaper, the Idaho Statesman, that the police were rounding up and …

Season 2: Episode 7: Herb Selwyn

April 6th, 2017


Herb Selwyn never hesitated to stick his neck out for others. That included gay people at a time when other straight attorneys cashed in on the persecution of homosexuals and gay attorneys were too frightened to …

Season 2: Episode 8: Barbara Gittings & Kay Lahusen — Part 2

April 13th, 2017


When the Stonewall uprising upended the 1960s homophile movement, Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen refused to be put out to pasture. They brought all their passion, humor, and determination to the gay lib ‘70s and …

Season 2: Episode 9: Evander Smith and Herb Donaldson

April 20th, 2017


Four years before the 1969 uprising at NYC’s Stonewall Inn, a San Francisco confrontation between the police and that city’s LGBT community proved a …

Season 2: Episode 10: Joyce Hunter

April 27th, 2017


Joyce Hunter’s childhood and adolescence were stolen from her and she was determined to keep that from happening to other LGBTQ youth. She survived …

Season 2: Episode 11: Tom Cassidy

May 4th, 2017


CNN business anchor Tom Cassidy kept his “private life” strictly separate from his public life. Three decades ago he had to. But then he was diagnosed with AIDS.

Visit our episode webpage for background information, …

Bonus: Rewind: Sylvia Rivera — Part 1

October 5th, 2017


Season 3 arrives Oct 22! While you wait, here's another chance to hear trans icon and Stonewall uprising veteran Sylvia Rivera relive that June 1969 night in vivid detail and describe her struggle for recognition in the …

Bonus: Edythe Eyde's Gay Gal's Mixtape

October 11th, 2017


Already a visionary with her pioneering lesbian 'zine Vice Versa in the 1940s, "Gay Gal" Edythe Eyde broke the mold again when she started singing …

Season 3: Preview

October 19th, 2017


Making Gay History mines Eric Marcus’s 30-year-old audio archive of rare interviews to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and …

Season 3: Episode 1: Sylvia Rivera — Part 2

October 22nd, 2017


Welcome back to Sylvia’s kitchen, for the second part of a never-before-heard interview from 1989. Pull up a chair for a conversation with the …

Season 3: Episode 2: Perry Watkins

October 26th, 2017


Sergeant Perry Watkins played by the rules. The U.S military did not. Drafted in 1968, he was thrown out fifteen years later despite his honesty and …

Season 3: Episode 3: Ellen DeGeneres

November 2nd, 2017


Everybody loves Ellen. But that wasn’t always so. When she came out on screen and in real life the backlash was fierce and her future cast in doubt. In this 2001 interview, hear a beloved icon at a crossroads.

Visit our …

Season 3: Episode 4: J.J. Belanger

November 9th, 2017


You may know his face from an iconic 1953 photo booth photo. But there’s a full life’s story behind that photo that includes love, heartbreak, Alfred …

Season 3: Episode 5: Deborah Johnson & Zandra Rolón Amato

November 16th, 2017


In 1983, Deborah Johnson and Zandra Rolón Amato went to a Los Angeles restaurant for what was supposed to be a romantic dinner. Instead they wound up …

Season 3: Episode 6: Larry Kramer

November 23rd, 2017


In 1981 Larry Kramer sounded an alarm almost no one wanted to hear. Gay men were dying from a mysterious disease and the only way to stop its spread was to stop having sex. The outspoken activist went on to co-found …

Season 3: Episode 7: Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin

November 30th, 2017


Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin were the originals. With six other women, they co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis—the very first lesbian organization in the U.S. DOB seems tame and timid today, but in 1955 it was risky and …

Season 3: Episode 8: Morris Kight

December 7th, 2017


Morris Kight was a whirling dervish champion of LGBTQ civil rights. He cut his activist teeth in the labor, civil rights, and anti-war movements, and …

Season 3: Episode 9: Paulette Goodman

December 14th, 2017


As a Jewish child growing up in Nazi-occupied Paris, Paulette Goodman knew what it meant to be a despised minority. After the war, her family sought …

Season 3: Episode 10: Greg Brock

December 21st, 2017


Greg Brock blazed a trail for LGBTQ journalists by being himself at a time when being yourself could sabotage your career or cost you your job. But …

Season 3: Episode 11: Morty Manford

December 28th, 2017


Morty Manford was one of thousands of young people who joined the fight for gay liberation in the early 1970s. As a member of the Gay Activists …

Bonus: Love Is Love

February 14th, 2018


The right to love and be loved for who we are has always been a driving force in the fight for LGBT civil rights. Eric shares four special love stories from his archive featuring activists who helped change the course …

Bonus: Kay Lahusen’s Gay Table

June 21st, 2018


Join us as Making Gay History pulls up a chair at Kay Tobin Lahusen’s monthly gay dinner table. Spend some time with this gang of elders and hear how …

Bonus: Farewell Dick Leitsch

June 23rd, 2018


May 11, 1935 - Jun 22, 2018. Dick Leitch, Kentucky native, New Yorker at heart, one-time president of the Mattachine Society of New York, was an …

Season 4: A Message from Our Listeners

October 11th, 2018


Making Gay History is coming back with all new episodes that bring queer history to life through the voices of the people who lived it. Hear the trailer now. 

To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices …

Season 4: Episode 1: Introduction

October 25th, 2018


Our fourth season is about beginnings. So we’re going to start at the beginning and hear from the activists and visionaries who got the ball rolling …

Season 4: Episode 2: Magnus Hirschfeld

October 25th, 2018


More than a century ago, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld chose to take a stand for LGBTQ rights, founding a movement, providing a safe space, and seeking justice through science. The Nazis crushed his vision, but not his legacy.

Season 4: Episode 3: Harry Hay

November 1st, 2018


Harry Hay had a vision, and that vision led to the founding of the first sustained gay rights organization in the United States—the Mattachine Society, in 1950. Mattachine (and Harry’s) first task—establishing a gay …

Season 4: Episode 4: Billye Talmadge

November 15th, 2018


Investigated by the FBI, blackmailed, but bold enough to keep going, Billye Talmadge was one of the early members of the earliest lesbian rights …

Season 4: Episode 5: Dorr Legg, Martin Block, and Jim Kepner of ONE

November 29th, 2018


ONE, the first national gay magazine, attracted the attention of the FBI and was at the heart of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case. Dorr Legg, Martin Block, and Jim Kepner were key to ONE’s success. But don’t expect …

Season 4: Episode 6: Stella Rush ("Sten Russell")

December 13th, 2018


“I’m a bisexual ki-ki s.o.b butch-femme.” Stella Rush railed against rules and binaries: butch/femme, gay/straight. Fighting for social survival, and …

Season 4: Episode 7: Reed Erickson

December 27th, 2018


Reed Erickson was a trans man with a big checkbook, a pet leopard, big dreams for a better world for gay people and trans folks—and single-handedly …

Season 4: Episode 8: Bayard Rustin

January 10th, 2019


Bayard Rustin was a champion of the black civil rights movement—mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. But because he was gay and out, he faced bigotry inside and outside the …

Season 4: Episode 9: Ernestine Eckstein

January 24th, 2019


Ernestine Eckstein is an iconic figure from the 1960s homophile movement—from photos showing her as the only African American woman at the earliest protests, to her trailblazing cover story in The Ladder. Now we can put …

Season 4: Episode 10: Dick Leitsch

February 7th, 2019


Dick Leitsch came to New York City in the early 1960s to smoke cigarettes, drink cocktails, and pick up handsome young men. He got his wish and then …

Season 4: Episode 11: Martha Shelley

February 21st, 2019


Brooklyn-born Martha Shelley was a rebel. She didn’t like being told what to do, wear, or say. She hated the lesbian bars, and even after joining the …

Stonewall 50: Preview

May 23rd, 2019


A special season of Making Gay History to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Hear the voices of the rioters, and of the activists who turned a riot into Gay Liberation—a new and expansive phase in the …

Stonewall 50: Episode 1: Prelude to a Riot

June 6th, 2019


Conflict has context. In the first episode of Making Gay History’s Stonewall 50 season, we hear stories from the pre-Stonewall struggle for LGBTQ …

Stonewall 50: Episode 2: ”Everything Clicked… And the Riot Was On”

June 13th, 2019


The Stonewall uprising began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. Revisit that moment, and the hours and days that followed, with voices from …

Stonewall 50: Episode 3: "Say it Loud! Gay and Proud!"

June 20th, 2019


Like so many other acts of queer resistance, the 1969 Stonewall riots could have become a footnote in history. But the protests and organizing that …

Stonewall 50: Episode 4: Live from Stonewall

June 27th, 2019


What made Stonewall different? How can we carry the lessons of the uprising with us today? Eric is joined by one archivist and four activists to answer those questions in an intergenerational conversation recorded at …

Bonus: Stonewall 50 Minisode: Marsha P. Johnson & Randy Wicker

June 28th, 2019


A rebroadcast of Eric’s 1989 interview with Marsha P. Johnson and Randy Wicker. Hear conflicting perspectives on Stonewall from this pair of unlikely roommates. Marsha co-founded the Street Transvestite Action …

Bonus: Stonewall 50 Minisode: Morty Manford

June 28th, 2019


Nineteen-year-old Columbia University student Morty Manford thought it was just another night at the Stonewall Inn, but then the police swept in and …

Bonus: Stonewall 50 Minisode: Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen

June 28th, 2019


Stonewall turned the page on the homophile movement. Pre-Stonewall activists like Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen were dinosaurs in the eyes of some of the gay liberationists, and they found themselves fighting for a …

Bonus: Stonewall 50 Minisode: Craig Rodwell

June 28th, 2019


This was the moment Craig Rodwell had been waiting for. He’d been bumping up against the limits of how far the Mattachine Society was willing to challenge the status quo. And when the Stonewall uprising blew things wide …

Season 6: Preview

October 24th, 2019


Making Gay History mines Eric Marcus’s 30-year-old audio archive of rare interviews to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and …

Season 6: Episode 1: Ruth Simpson

October 24th, 2019


There’s a war on out there. That was Ruth Simpson’s Stonewall takeaway—and she was ready to fight. But when Ruth pushed the NY chapter of the …

Season 6: Episode 2: Vernon E. "Copy" Berg III

November 7th, 2019


In 1975, long before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Navy asked, and Officer Copy Berg told: “Yes, I am gay.” When Copy chose to challenge the …

Season 6: Episode 3: Barbara Smith

November 21st, 2019


For nearly half a century, Barbara Smith has been speaking truth to power—as a woman against misogyny, as an African American against racism, as a lesbian against homophobia, and as a black lesbian against those in the …

Season 6: Episode 4: Nancy Walker

December 5th, 2019


In 1976 Nancy Walker joined the Gay Community News, an influential Boston-based weekly paper. She was in her 40s, an outspoken New Yorker, and a moderate pragmatist. Not surprisingly, Nancy and the younger, more radical …

Season 6: Episode 5: Damien Martin

December 19th, 2019


Damien Martin grew up in foster care and on the streets of Philadelphia, so he knew all too well about the needs of vulnerable youth. In 1979, when …

Bonus: From the Vault: Sylvia Rivera & Marsha P. Johnson, 1970

December 27th, 2019


In 1970, a young radio reporter recorded an interview with Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and other members of the newly formed Street …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 1: Frank Kameny

March 21st, 2020


In 1957, Frank Kameny was fired from his job at the U.S. Army Map Service for being gay. He went on to fight the federal government for 14 years and …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 2: Edythe Eyde

March 28th, 2020


Musical uplift for anxious times. When Eric Marcus interviewed lesbian publishing pioneer Edythe Eyde in 1989, she treated him to a concert for one on her front porch singing her gay songs from the '50s and ‘60s. You …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 3: Wendell Sayers

April 4th, 2020


Wendell Sayers understood isolation. Born in western Kansas in 1904, Wendell was the first black lawyer to work for Colorado’s attorney general; …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 4: Shirley Willer

April 11th, 2020


“I’ve spent a large percent of my life being angry.” That was Shirley Willer, reflecting on the death of a close friend and fellow nurse who in 1947 received fatally inadequate hospital care because he was gay. Shirley …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 5: Vito Russo

April 18th, 2020


Vito Russo’s legacy—as a film historian, activist, and co-founder of GLAAD and ACT UP—is hard to overstate. In this 1988 interview, legacy was also very much on Vito’s mind: it was the height of the AIDS epidemic, which …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 6: Kay Lahusen's Gay Table

April 25th, 2020


When did you make gay history? Join host Eric Marcus, pioneering photojournalist Kay Lahusen, and a group of LGBTQ history-making elders for their monthly retirement community dinner. Happy memories from the recent …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 7: Ellen DeGeneres

May 2nd, 2020


Today, Ellen DeGeneres needs no introduction. But as she explained in a 2001 MGH interview, her very public 1997 coming out took a dramatic …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 8: Morris Foote

May 9th, 2020


In late 1955, the police of Boise, Idaho, started a sweeping investigation into an alleged “homosexual underground.” Fearing arrest, Morris Foote …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 9: Joyce Hunter

May 16th, 2020


In 1939 Joyce Hunter was born into a world so hostile it’s a wonder she wasn’t crushed. Instead, the challenges and brutality she faced proved to be the launchpad for an expansive life of pioneering activism and …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 10: Perry Watkins

May 23rd, 2020


When Perry Watkins was drafted in 1968, he assumed the Army would reject him for being gay. They didn’t. When they got rid of him after 15 years of …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 11: Larry Kramer

May 29th, 2020


June 25, 1935 - May 27, 2020. In the early ’80s, author and playwright Larry Kramer was one of the first people to sound the alarm about AIDS. He became one of the loudest voices in the fight against the epidemic, …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 12: Bayard Rustin

June 7th, 2020


Making Gay History stands with the countless Americans protesting systemic racism and the deaths of black and brown people at the hands of the …

Introducing: Those Who Were There: Voices from the Holocaust: Leon Bass

June 14th, 2020


MGH is Eric Marcus’s first love. But he also co-produces Those Who Were There. Have a listen to this episode featuring Leon Bass. He faced racism growing up in 1930s Philadelphia, in the Army during WWII, and discovered …

Revisiting the Archive: Episode 13: Larah Helayne & Jean O’Leary

June 18th, 2020


When high schooler Larah Helayne heard MGH’s episode with Jean O’Leary, it changed the course of her life. Plans to become a nun gave way for a new …

MGH & Studs Terkel Radio Archive: Preview

October 1st, 2020


Making Gay History is back! Join us as we mine the Studs Terkel Radio Archive in Chicago for stories from our proud LGBTQ past to bring you eight intimate conversations conducted between 1959 and 1981 by the legendary …

MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 1: Christopher Isherwood

October 1st, 2020


Author Christopher Isherwood left England for Germany in 1929. His stories about his years there inspired the musical “Cabaret,” which shaped the …

MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 2: Lorraine Hansberry

October 15th, 2020


In 1959 Lorraine Hansberry became the first Black woman to have a play produced on Broadway. Soon after “A Raisin in the Sun” made history, the …

MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 3: "Les-Lee"

October 29th, 2020


Canadian female impersonator John Falk Tomkinson appeared around the globe under the stage name Les-Lee for over three decades. In 1967 Studs Terkel interviewed the performer to talk about his art and upbringing, and …

MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 4: Quentin Crisp

November 12th, 2020


From a young age, Quentin Crisp was determined to be himself—makeup, painted nails, dramatically dyed hair, and all—even if it consigned him to a …

MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 5: Mattachine Midwest

November 26th, 2020


A half-century ago, Studs Terkel interviewed three members of the homophile group Mattachine Midwest: the organization’s president, a student …

MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 6: Jill Johnston

December 10th, 2020


Sparks flew when radical lesbian feminist Jill Johnston sat down for an interview with Studs Terkel in 1973. Jill had just published a controversial manifesto called “Lesbian Nation,” which advocated that women break …

MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 7: Leonard Matlovich

December 24th, 2020


When Leonard Matlovich was thrown out of the Air Force for being gay, he sued for reinstatement. It was 1975 and it was the first case of its kind. Hear the LGBTQ rights pioneer—and startlingly frank one-time racist—in …

MGH & Studs Terkel: Episode 8: Meg Christian

January 7th, 2021


Olivia Records cofounder Meg Christian helped ignite the women’s music movement of the 1970s with lesbian classics like “Ode to a Gym Teacher.” Meet Meg, in song and conversation, in our final episode drawn from the …

Bonus: Remembering Kay Lahusen

May 27th, 2021


In memoriam: Kay Lahusen, January 5, 1930 - May 26, 2021. Kay was a monumental figure in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. From the earliest homophile protests to gay liberation and beyond, she never stopped fighting for …

Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Preview

June 24th, 2021


AIDS first made national news 40 years ago. MGH host Eric Marcus was 22 at the time, a gay kid in search of love and a career in New York City. In this six-part audio memoir, Eric explores his memories of the early …

Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 1: Buried Headline

July 1st, 2021


“Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals,” said the New York Times headline on July 3, 1981. It was the first time Eric Marcus read about what came to be …

Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 2: Not Alone

July 15th, 2021


Even as the epidemic spreads, a rousing AIDS fundraiser at the circus, a new boyfriend, and journalism school combine to bring joy, a sense of …

Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 3: 318 West 22nd Street

July 30th, 2021


A straight drug addict. A gay waiter on a ventilator. Eric is confronted with the reality of AIDS when he volunteers for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. …

Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 4: Complications of AIDS

August 12th, 2021


“I hope you both die of AIDS,” the young man in the pickup truck yells at Eric and Barry as they wait for the light to change while on a run in Central Park. By 1985, the AIDS crisis has arrived on their doorstep.

Visit …

Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 5: In or Out

August 27th, 2021


“You’re doing too many stories on AIDS.” The word had come down from on high at CBS This Morning. Eric didn’t want anyone to think he was biased, but as the only out gay person on the production staff, he felt an …

Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis: Chapter 6: Making History

September 10th, 2021


Being HIV+ was a virtual death sentence. So why get tested? But by 1988 there is a promising, if toxic, drug shown to extend life. Eric and Barry …

Introducing: The Log Books: "Please Be Gentle"

November 30th, 2021


In commemoration of World AIDS Day, MGH host Eric Marcus introduces a poignant episode about the early years of the AIDS crisis from The Log Books, …

Introducing: We Were Always Here: They Weren't Us

December 23rd, 2021


Marc Thomson was just getting his footing as a young Black gay man in South East London when AIDS hit. Hear his story as he introduces us to people whose experiences have often been overlooked, including trans people, …

Season 10: Preview

February 17th, 2022


We’re back with more stories from the AIDS crisis. Hear Eric Marcus in conversation with six people whose lives and activism were transformed by the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and beyond.

To learn more about listener …

Season 10: Episode 1: Randy Shilts

February 24th, 2022


Out gay journalist Randy Shilts desperately wanted to work for a big-city newspaper. No one wanted him. But reporting on the AIDS crisis brought him the success and fame he craved—and more than a little controversy.

Season 10: Episode 2: Dr. Ronald Grossman

March 3rd, 2022


Dr. Ronald Grossman treated his first AIDS patient before the disease even had a name. But with a New York City practice serving predominantly gay …

Season 10: Episode 3: Sara Boesser

March 10th, 2022


From her home in Juneau, Alaska, Sara Boesser watched with alarm as the AIDS epidemic rolled across the lower 48 states, threatening lives and …

Season 10: Episode 4: Randy Boyd

March 17th, 2022


Randy Boyd’s “gay agenda” was to be radically open about who he was: a gay, HIV-positive writer—not the straight professional athlete he was always assumed to be. Determined to blow up stereotypes about Black people, …

Season 10: Episode 5: Ann Northrop

March 24th, 2022


Fierce and unflappable, veteran journalist Ann Northrop is a natural activist. In this episode, she discusses her most dramatic ACT UP arrest, her work as an AIDS education advocate, her blue-blooded upbringing, and the …

Guest Episode: LGBTQ&A: Peter Staley: ACT UP Changed the World — Here’s How

March 26th, 2022


As a complement to our episode featuring Ann Northrop, meet Peter Staley, another seminal member of ACT UP, in this 2021 interview courtesy of the LGBTQ&A podcast, hosted by Jeffrey Masters and produced by The …

Season 10: Episode 6: Michelle Lopez

March 31st, 2022


Women can’t get AIDS—or so Michelle Lopez thought until she tested positive for HIV in 1990. Viable treatments were years away, but the undocumented …

Rewind: Stonewall 50: Episode 1: Prelude to a Riot

June 2nd, 2022


Conflict has context. In this first episode of Making Gay History’s Stonewall season, we hear stories from the pre-Stonewall struggle for LGBTQ …

Rewind: Stonewall 50: Episode 2: "Everything Clicked… And the Riot Was On"

June 9th, 2022


The Stonewall uprising began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. Revisit that moment, and the hours and days that followed, with voices from …

Rewind: Stonewall 50: Episode 3: “Say It Loud! Gay & Proud!”

June 16th, 2022


Like so many other acts of LGBTQ resistance, the 1969 Stonewall riots could have become a footnote in history. But the protests and organizing that …

Rewind: Stonewall 50: Episode 4: Live from Stonewall

June 23rd, 2022


What made Stonewall different? How can we carry the lessons of the uprising with us today? Eric is joined by one archivist and four activists to answer those questions in an intergenerational conversation recorded at …

Guest Episode: Revisionist History: When Will Met Grace

September 15th, 2022


This special guest episode is from Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast about things misunderstood and overlooked. Gladwell does a deep …

Season 11: Preview

October 27th, 2022


We’re back with more engaging voices from Eric Marcus’s MGH archive! Meet six history makers as they share stories of faith and redemption, of family, of scandal, and of radicalization and liberation.


To learn more …

Season 11: Episode 1: Craig Rodwell

November 3rd, 2022


In 1954, Craig Rodwell was just 14 when he was arrested for having sex with a man. The experience set the young Chicagoan on the road to becoming a self-described “angry queer”— and one of the most consequential LGBTQ …

Season 11: Episode 2: Rev. Carolyn Mobley-Bowie

November 10th, 2022


Growing up in the segregated South, Rev. Carolyn Mobley-Bowie knew the challenge of finding an accepting place in the world—a challenge that only …

Season 11: Episode 3: Faygele Ben-Miriam

November 17th, 2022


In 1972, Faygele Ben-Miriam’s penchant for wearing dresses to the office got him fired from his government job in Seattle. The fact that he had recently brought one of the very first same-sex marriage lawsuits was …

Season 11: Episode 4: Urvashi Vaid

November 24th, 2022


Indian-born activist and lawyer Urvashi Vaid was fiercely attuned to injustice from an early age. Adamant that the fight for LGBTQ equality cannot be separated from other progressive struggles, she became one of the …

Season 11: Episode 5: Robert Bauman

December 1st, 2022


In 1980, conservative congressman Robert Bauman was caught soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy. The scandal landed the married father of four on …

Season 11: Episode 6: Kathleen Boatwright

December 8th, 2022


When Kathleen Boatwright fell in love with a woman at church, she fell hard. But this was no carefree romance. The church was staunchly anti-gay. Kathleen was married to a man and had four children. She’d never had a …

Bonus: A Complicated Love Story

February 14th, 2023


Wait, THAT Harvey? When activist Craig Rodwell told Eric in 1989 who his first serious boyfriend had been, Eric was stunned. In our special …

Guest Episode: Sidedoor: Lucy Hicks Anderson

February 23rd, 2023


Known for her smashing parties, lighter-than-air soufflés, and comedic wit, Lucy Hicks Anderson never let anyone tell her how to live her life—not even the courts. When her gender was put on trial in the 1940s, the …

Coming of Age During the 1970s: Preview

April 6th, 2023


The decade between Stonewall and the 1979 March on Washington lives in the shadow of the AIDS crisis and all that came after. In this six-part season, Eric Marcus explores the heady years of gay liberation and the …

Coming of Age During the 1970s: Chapter 1: A Surge of Energy

April 13th, 2023


The Stonewall uprising ignites an explosion of protests and organizing that transforms a small, often tentative homophile movement into a newly assertive national force that demands gay liberation and equality. In a …

Coming of Age During the 1970s: Chapter 2: Fire Island and Other Stories

April 27th, 2023


While activists are demonstrating, filing lawsuits, and pushing for anti-discrimination laws, 16-year-old Eric is on a ferry to Fire Island, a …

Coming of Age During the 1970s: Chapter 3: Family Ties

May 11th, 2023


When Jeanne Manford’s gay son is badly beaten at a 1972 GAA protest, the shy elementary school teacher takes a stand. She cofounds the organization …

Coming of Age During the 1970s: Chapter 4: Respectable

May 25th, 2023


Gay rights activists in NYC are first out of the gate to propose anti-discrimination legislation, confident it will sail through the City Council. Instead, they hit a wall of ignorance and bigotry. Meanwhile, …

Coming of Age During the 1970s: Chapter 5: Thank You, Anita

June 8th, 2023


Eric gets an A on his freshman sociology paper, “Marginal Man: The Alcoholic and the Homosexual.” But his sunny predictions for the future of the gay …

Coming of Age During the 1970s: Chapter 6: Marching On

June 29th, 2023


In 1978 Harvey Milk calls on gay people to gather in D.C. the next year to protest the anti-gay campaigns of Anita Bryant and her ilk. Organizers are stymied by internal conflicts until Milk’s assassination galvanizes …

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