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LGBT Rights & Culture

Barbara Giddings, LGBT activist from the mid-1950s until her death in 2007, said that “Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.”

Winning the hearts and minds of the community has been my goal since I came out in 1975 at age 22. As an activist in the Kent Gay Liberation Front (KGLF) at Kent State University, I helped organize annual conferences open to public and delivered talks to classes and community organizations. The most memorable of these was a talk I gave to inmates deep in the bowels of the Mansfield Reformatory in Ohio!

We have seen remarkable change since those days, including the legalization of same-sex marriage. That was something I never expected to witness in my lifetime, and I never dreamed that one day I would be legally married. This progress never would have happened if we had allowed homosexuality to remain "the love that dare not speak its name" (Lord Alfred Douglas, 1892). The LGBT community has won its many victories, and more to come, by leaving the shadows and coming into the open — by coming out.

LGBT rights are basic human rights. Through this website and my blog, Just Sayin', I will cover and explore the issues and challenges of the LGBT community as we fight for freedom and dignity. I will look at gay history, particularly as it is captured in video. And I will look at the LGBT community and culture, with special focus on our stories as present in full-length and short films.

LGBT Films & Commercials

In recent years some outstanding LGBT films have made it to the mainstream release for the wider public. These include Love, Simon; Call Me By Your Name and Boy Erased. I look at these films with clips and interviews. I also look at notable past gay films and highlight some of my personal favorites.

There is also a wealth of superb short independent LGBT films that have made the rounds at film festivals and other small venues. I've curated a collection here of my favorites that I consider the best out there. So far I've assembled 35 films you can watch in their entirety right here.

Finally, TV commercials play an amazingly important role in setting and reflecting popular culture in the United States. Here too the LGBT community has a growing presence. I've collected a few samples.

Coming Out Stories

Coming out as LGBT can be terrifying or joyous. Sometimes both at the same time. It can also be the single-most important thing a gay person can do — for him or herself, and for the community. Coming out videos are a staple on YouTube and I've assembled a collection featuring average folks and famous too, like George Takei of Star Trek, Rosie O'Donnell, Jason Collins, Ellen Degeneres and Troye Sivan.

To top it off Dan Savage explains how it gets better!

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Screen grab from Pretty Boy. Watch the full film here.

George Takei talks about Japanese Internment during
World War Ii and later his coming out. It gets better.

LGBT Rights

YouTube and Vimeo are a vast treasure trove of videos and clips covering every aspect of LGBT history and the LGBT right movement. Problem is these videos are scattered helter-skelter without rhyme, reason or context. I am searching out these videos and assembling them into coherent presentations. At one point on Facebook I did this weekly for 18 months, going decade by decade until competing commitments forced me to stop. I'm starting the project over from scratch on my blog.

LGBT History in Video

Screenshot from Screaming Queens, a documentary on the August 1966 riot outside Compton's Cafeteria in
San Francisco — three years before Stonewall.  
Watch here.

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BobLaycock.com

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“Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start.”

– Jason Collins

Photo by Kay Tobin, © The New York Public Library

In 1924, the Society for Human Rights was founded in Chicago — the first gay rights organization in America. In 1950, the Mattachine Society was organized in Los Angeles. In 1955, the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco became the first lesbian rights organization in the United States.

The fight for LGBT Rights goes way back! In my blog I report and comment on the current events, issues, history, defeats and victories of our century-long struggle.