Our America: Pride In History I uncovers stories of LGBTQ+ people thriving during Gold Rush, more

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Our America: Pride in History I
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The history of LGBTQIA+ people is hard to tell. Stigma, embarrassment and anger have resulted in many of this community's records being destroyed. This series tells the history of a community finding its heroes, history and heart. This is Our America: Pride in History I.

Understanding where we come from and where we've been is an important part of telling the human story. For LGBTQ+ people, those stories are often lost to time because of stigma, fear and shame.

Our America: Pride in History I celebrates the amazing stories of perseverance as the community rose up on a path of greater acceptance.

In this episode, discover why the California Gold Rush may have given LGBTQ+ people a chance to express themselves openly.

Meet political leaders, a police detective and an AIDS activist who paved the way for others. See the challenges faced by youth, learn about the struggle to protect the community's history, and meet the man who created the iconic rainbow flag.

LGBTQ+ people likely flourished during the California Gold Rush

This undated image shows a sketch of miners drinking in a bar from the California Gold Rush era.
This undated image shows a sketch of miners drinking in a bar from the California Gold Rush era.
Library of Congress

When the Gold Rush struck California in 1849, people from all over the world flooded the state. About 90% of these new residents were men. The social structure of the mining camps and boomtowns paved the way for "intimate relationships" stories lost to time, until now.

How a Houston photographer is preserving decades of historical pictures

As one of the most celebrated photographers in Houston's LGBTQ+ community, he's captured a quarter million images. Now, he hopes decades of history will live on forever.

Dalton DeHart didn't always set out to be one of the most well-known and celebrated photographers in Houston's LGBTQ+ community. But over the last four decades, he's captured a quarter million images of historical events. As the boxes of film began to pile up, he wanted to make sure his collection didn't get lost with time.

What happened before NYC's Stonewall Riots

In New York City, Whitehall and Pearl streets bustle with activity today, but on Sept. 19, 1964, it was anything but quiet. What happened at that Manhattan intersection built momentum for the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Chicago's 1st openly gay alderman reflects on 20 years of service

When is LGBTQ History Month 2022? Alderman Tom Tunney, the first openly gay Chicago City Council member, reflected on his 20 years of service.

Chicago's first openly gay alderman, Tom Tunney, recently announced his retirement from the city council at the end of his upcoming term. Tunney looks back at his career impact and legacy.

The NYPD's 1st openly transgender detective shares his story

The first out transgender detective in the NYPD is sharing his story and describing the ups and downs and the challenges he has faced.

The first out transgender detective in New York City is a force in the New York City Police Department. Detective Ori Harbor grew up in Detroit and shared his story on the ups, downs and challenges he has faced.

The LGBTQ+ legacy of Finocchio's, 'America's most unusual night club'

For generations of people -- and long before RuPaul's Drag Race -- there was Finocchio's in San Francisco. For visitors, it was a chance to see men dressed like women. For the workers, it was a safe haven for self-expression at a time when "being yourself" was illegal.

Activist Phill Wilson reflects on his work fighting AIDS to save lives

Phil Wilson and his partner, Chris Brownlie, were diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980s and started rallying to address the many disparities that come with AIDS, recognizing African-Americans in particular were not being served. It eventually led Wilson to leadership roles, as Los Angeles' AIDS Coordinator, helping create the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and working with two presidential administrations to fight the disease.

The historic Baptist church that's been supporting LGBTQ+ equality since the 1950s

In Raleigh, North Carolina, a church is home to an unlikely LGBTQ+ first. Founded in the late 1800s, Pullen Memorial Baptist was one of the first churches to embrace LGBTQ+ rights, inviting the community to hold positions in the church -- and even get married.

Check out the historical sites linked to the LGBTQ+ movement across NYC

The 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York were a flash-point in the gay rights movement. Many visitors, however, may not know about the unmarked sites that also have LGBTQ+ ties, some dating back to the 1700s.

Meet the creator of rainbow flag

Gilbert Baker, the artist who designed the Rainbow Flag, makes 500 new flags for an installation.
Jerry Telfer/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The rainbow flag has become an international symbol for the LGBTQ+ community. As the gay community became increasingly more visible, then-activist Harvey Milk saw the need to create something that would symbolize that community. Milk approached a young artist and sewer from Kansas to fulfill his message of hope. The rainbow flag started out as a symbol of pride for the gay community. The journey to create it started in 1972 when a young Gilbert Baker took up sewing after settling in San Francisco.