Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world’s first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories


Understanding where we come from and where we have been is an important part of telling the human story. For LGBTQ+ people, these stories are often lost in time due to stigma, fear and shame.

Our America: Pride in History II celebrates the incredible stories of perseverance as the community stood on the path to greater acceptance.

In this episode, meet the women who lead the feminist movement and the men who stood up to the police when their bar was raided.

Discover the world’s first transgender cultural district and find out why so many have found refuge on an island off the coast of New York. Walk in the shoes of LGBTQ+ pioneers, see where they fought back and how they celebrated, educated their community and mourned the losses of the AIDS epidemic.

These lesbian trailblazers paved the way for LGBTQ+ rights years before Stonewall

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin headed the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian organization in the United States.

GLBT Historical Society

Fifteen years before the Stonewall riots in New York, a San Francisco couple was already well on their way to sparking a national conversation about lesbian and gay rights. Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin could easily be called mothers of the lesbian rights movement. They spent most of their adult lives fighting for recognition and equality, and in 1955 formed Founding the Daughters of Bilitis, the first organization for lesbians in the United States.

How the First Documented LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Protest in the United States Unfolded

Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world's first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories

The Black Cat in Silver Lake marked the 50th anniversary of the first LGBT civil rights protest in the United States.

In Los Angeles, the marquee of a grinning black cat merges with the bustling strip of Sunset Boulevard, but 50 years ago the site was at the forefront of a civil rights revolution. It happened on New Years Eve after police saw gay men kissing at the stroke of midnight to ring in 1967.

Inside Central California’s Secret Drag Shows

Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world's first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories

In the 1960s, LGBTQ+ people in Fresno, California were looking for places to meet. Before gay bars, secret drag shows offered locals places to find community. It was here that El Daña got his start as one of the region’s first male impersonators, better known today as “drag kings”. She lip-synced with Tom Jones, Ritchie Valens, Glen Campbell, drawing crowds from San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Discover the world’s first transgender neighborhood

Transgender district flags are seen at Tenderloin in San Francisco on March 11, 2021.

Transgender district flags are seen at Tenderloin in San Francisco on March 11, 2021.

Transgender district flags are seen at Tenderloin in San Francisco on March 11, 2021.

KGO TV

San Francisco’s Tenderloin District has been a documented home for transgender residents since the 1920s. The Compton Transgender Cultural District is the first of its kind in the world, celebrating the contributions of local transgender people. This is where the Compton Cafeteria Riot happened in August 1966. Patrons of the all-night cafe retaliated against police for the constant violent harassment of drag queens and trans people, especially trans women.

This library strives to bring the hidden history of LGBTQ+ to life

Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world's first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories

Preserving LGBTQ+ history is a challenge. Records are often destroyed to “protect” people from embarrassment when they die. Today, ONE Archives at the University of South Carolina Libraries brings those stories to life.

Learn more about Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Secret Society

Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world's first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories

Going to a bar used to be a challenge for LGBTQ+ people. In Chicago, the Mattachine Midwest newsletters were run by a secret society of homosexuals. They sent urgent warnings about possible bar raids and other threats to the LGBTQ+ community. The bulletins were also in other cities of the country.

How a lesbian couple bought a tavern in 1971 and turned it into one of the 1st open gay bars

Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world's first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories

This is an undated image of the sign hanging outside the Twin Peaks Tavern in San Francisco.

KGO TV

Twin Peaks Tavern has been a staple in San Francisco’s Castro district for decades. Many people don’t know it was the first bar to open to the world – literally. While other bars were hidden away in basements or covered their windows, Twin Peaks Tavern installed huge bay windows so patrons could be seen by anyone passing by.

How History is Preserved at Fire Island Pines

Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world's first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories

Hop off the 20-minute ferry from Sayville, Long Island, and you’ll find bamboo-lined trails welcoming you into the Fire Island pines. It’s steps away from stunning beach views and the battle for LGBTQ+ freedoms. At a time when men weren’t allowed to dance with other men, Fire Islands Pines offered gay men a safe place to meet.

Inside the early LGBTQ+ moments in Houston, Texas

Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world's first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories

A 1977 march led to the political rise of Houston’s LGBTQ community and the creation of services that still exist today, such as the Montrose Center and Legacy Communi.

Imagine Texas in the 50s and 60s. Police raids were common in gay and lesbian bars. Gay sex was illegal, as was cross-dressing. It was here that a brave group of people stood up against oppression and transformed hearts and minds.

The story of the first black gay magazine

Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world's first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories

BLK magazine was the first of its kind in 1988.

Los Angeles is home to many firsts when it comes to LBGTQ+ publications, but in 1988 the country got its first black gay magazine, BLK. It was required reading for black gays and lesbians looking for stories about their issues and interests – from job hunting and the AIDS crisis to pop culture and entertainment.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of San Francisco has spawned a choral phenomenon

gay men

gay men

Gay Men’s Chorus 2020 is seen in San Francisco on July 13, 2020.

KGO TV

During the fall of 1978, a call went out inviting men from Castro and surrounding areas to sing in a brand new choir group. The driving force was Jon Sims, bandleader of the Freedom Band. Interest mounted, leading to the first gathering of choirs – around 100 people showed up on the first night. The men who first came together over 40 years ago spawned an LGBTQ choral phenomenon that now has hundreds of choirs around the world.

Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ History Long Predates the Stonewall Uprising

Our America: Pride In History II: Discover the world's first transgender neighborhood, more LGBTQ+ stories

Philadelphia is often considered the birthplace of America, it is also where LGBTQ+ people found their first community. At the John J. Wilcox Archives at the William Way Center in Center City, they work to celebrate the stories.

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