Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community
is a documentary about evolution, namely the evolution of gay culture in the U.S. from the early 1920s to the Stonewall riot of 1969. Embellished with archival footage and photography from five decades, the film most prominently features the gay underground of the '20s and '30s, the rise of gay service in the military and workforce during WWII, the persecution of gays as "subversives" and "sexual perverts" in the state department by Senator McCarthy, the growth of the first grassroots political organizations for gay men and lesbians in the '50s, and of course, the civil rights movement. Commentary is provided by the gay men and lesbians who came of age in the years leading up to Stonewall.
Overall, Before Stonewall does an admirable job of illustrating the rise of American gay culture and pinpointing the various social and political issues that were most instrumental. Perhaps the film's only weakness lies in the vast ground it tries to cover in such a short amount of time, leaving certain themes without much in-depth coverage. However, as a snapshot of the years leading up to Stonewall, it succeeds remarkably well. --Katy Ankenman
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.