Scope and arrangement
These materials document the development of an underground gay subculture in the 1950s and 1960s, the emergence of the gay rights movement after the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the evolution of gay and lesbian communities with their own distinct cultures in the 1970s and 1980s.
Information on the gay movement in the 1950s and 1960s is found primarily in the interviews, which also provide some data on the gay culture of the 1930s and 1940s. The interviews with Harry Hay and James Kepner (in subseries 1.1 and 1.3) are especially noteworthy for their extensive detailed recollections of gay culture in the decades prior to 1970. These sources mainly document developments in Los Angeles and San Francisco. There are also recordings of meetings (series 2.0) and radio talks shows (subseries 5.2) that document the internal developments in the gay movement and social attitudes towards homosexuality during this period.
The materials provide extensive data on the beginnings of the gay rights movement in the early 1970s. The interviews provide contemporary documentation on the development of a number of local gay organizations (in subseries 1.2) and include recollections from individuals who were active in the movement at a national level. There are also recordings of a few gay meetings from this period, such as the Rhode Island Gay Conference of 1974 (Series 2.0).
The materials provide the strongest documentation on the solidification of gay communities and the flowering of gay culture in the late 1970s and 1980s, particularly in the New York City area. The strengthening of gay identity and the evolution of a gay culture during this period is documented in the lectures on gay art and history (subseries 3.1, 3.2), gay radio shows (subseries 5.1, 5.2), and in recordings of gay music, gay comedy performances, and gay poetry readings (Series 4.0). The records of the IGIC (Series 6.0), which are a product of the community's effort to preserve a shared past, also provide evidence of the growing coherence of the gay community. The interviews, some of which are with gay performers (subseries 1.3), also chronicle the development of gay culture and the changing meaning of gay identity during this period.
These audio-visual materials also provide some information on other social movements that influenced or had contact with the gay rights movement, such as the civil rights movement, the black power movement, the feminist movement, and the Vietnam anti-war movement. There are scattered references to these movements in the interviews (Series 1.0), lectures (3.0), and radio and television programs (Series 5.0). The Open Channel Television Programs (subseries 5.3), which contain few references to gays, include programs created by several community groups in the New York area, which reflect the social movements of the early 1970s.
The International Gay Information Center collection. Audiovisual Materials are arranged in six series:
Consists of interviews conducted in the 1970s and 1980s, most of which are with gay activists, members of gay organizations, and prominent figures in the gay community. These record the beginnings of the gay rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, and document the development of gay organizations, communities and culture in the 1970s and 1980s. They also provide information on the changing significance of gay identity during these periods.
Consists of audio recordings of meetings of gay organizations and forums on subjects of concern to the gay community. The bulk of the recordings are of meetings that were held in New York City in the early 1980s. These materials document some of the concerns of the gay community during this period, including anti-gay violence, press coverage of the gay community, AIDS, and police harassment. There are also a few recordings that document the experiences of gays in an earlier period, such as the recordings of a conference of the East Coast Homophile Organization (ECHO) in 1965 and a report of the Mattachine Society from 1956.
Consists of lectures on gay topics, most of which were delivered to gay audiences in the New York area in the 1980s. There are lecture series on gay history and on gay-related issues in art (subseries 3. 1 and 3. 2 respectively), and individual lectures on a variety of topics (subseries 3. 3). The content of these tapes is described in greater detail in the subseries descriptions below and in the audio tape list.
Consists mostly of recordings of gay performers or performances with a content relating to homosexuality, which document the development gay culture in the 1970s and 1980s. The performances are listed alphabetically by performer.
Consists mostly of radio programs produced for gay audiences and broadcast on the Pacifica Network (KPFA, KPFK, WBAI) radio stations, and audio recordings of mainstream radio and television shows dealing with homosexuality. The bulk of these items date from 1979-1983.
This series also includes videotapes of New York City public access television programs (subseries 5. 3) and a documentary film on gay life (subseries 5. 4), which date from the early 1970s. In addition, there are two erotic gay films produced in the 1980s (subseries 5. 4).
These items are described in greater detail in the subseries descriptions below.
Consists of recordings of IGIC meetings concerning the development of a gay archives, and phone messages from the organization's answering machines. They appear to date from the early 1980s.