Homosexuality has always been present in history, just like every other aspect of life. However, this history was never told until “Before Stonewall” a documentary that came out in 1984.
Wednesday night, the producer of the film, two-time Emmy Award winner John Scagliotti, visited the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point through Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) to show and discuss his film.
“Thank you very much for coming out…so to speak,” Scagliotti addressed the audience.
The film exposed homosexual culture between World War II and the Stonewall Riots of 1969. He talks about the evolution of homosexuality in the military, the thousands of arrests under the McCarthy administration, homosexual arts and censorship, and the freedom of the hippie movement.
Making such a documentary was a difficult task for the time that it was made. Scagliotti and the filmmakers “had to create our own research and history…we were making this history.” The initial reaction to the film wasn’t positive. There were no gay films or gay filmmakers during the time that the film was made. Many PBS stations, the station that aired the documentary, didn’t or were afraid to air the film.
It wasn’t until recently that the film was shown at universities.
Scagliotti looks at homosexual history as many “peaks and valleys. We’re moving into a valley again.”
Faculty advisor, Julie Schneider, thought that the showing of “Before Stonewall” was “timely in the light of recent protests” and that it was “important for young people to know…struggles started a long time ago.”
Scagliotti is currently working on a prologue piece to “Before Stonewall” that will tell showcase homosexual culture and history from around the world. Scagliotti is also created the PBS show “In the Life,” the first show focused on homosexuality on television.
A new episode of “In the Life” will premiere on PBS December 17th at 10 p.m.