Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

LGBTQ Pride Month: Voices, Stories, and Experiences

Image: The Case Against 8, Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, Real Boy

Over our 43 year history, one of California Humanities’ central goals has been to encourage a more complex and nuanced understanding of the California experience, one that reflects the diversity of our state’s population, past and present. Our efforts to bring the voices, stories, and experiences of LGBTQ Californians to broader audiences, to promote understanding and dialogue, and to help foster a more inclusive and tolerant society, are reflected by the scores of grants made to a wide variety of partner organizations, for media projects, exhibits, community history gathering activities that have enriched our collective understanding of what it means to be Californian. From COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT (1989), an Academy Award winning documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman that tells the story of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, to THE CASE AGAINST 8, a behind-the-scenes look inside the historic case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage by Ben Cotner and Ryan White, California Humanities has been a supporter of public humanities projects and programs that have educated, informed, and inspired not only Californians but people across the country.

In honor of the LGBTQ Pride month, we want to highlight some of the compelling projects we’re currently supporting that will have related events taking place across the state in June and over the course of the next year:

REAL BOY documents an intimate story of a family in transition. As 19-year-old Bennett Wallace navigates early sobriety, late adolescence, and the evolution of his gender identity, his mother makes her own transformation from resistance to acceptance of her trans son. Along the way, both mother and son find support in their communities, reminding us that families are not only given, but chosen. REAL BOY has screened at more than 70 festivals worldwide and received 20 awards. You can watch the national broadcast premiere of REAL BOY on PBS’ Independent Lens on June 19 or attend one of the free screenings taking place in nearly 70 cities across the US in May and June. Check the Indie Lens Pop-Up schedule for a screening of REAL BOY in your area.

LEGENDS OF COURAGE: THE STORY OF ROSEMARY METRAILER, a documentary about pioneering LGBT civil rights activist, will premiere at the Guild Theater in Sacramento, June 24. The film weaves together stories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) trailblazers who sought to claim basic civil rights and build a Sacramento region enriched by their contributions. The saga of Ms. Metrailer’s contributions includes a successful lawsuit against Reverend Jerry Falwell (1986) and class action sex discrimination suit against McClellan Air Force Base (1988) on behalf of women employees. These civil rights accomplishments are set against the backdrop of Sacramento’s social and political context from the 1960s to the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Sponsored by Lavender Legends, you can find more information HERE.

SAN FRANCISCO ACT UP ORAL HISTORY PROJECT, sponsored by GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco will chronicle and share the history of San Francisco’s AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) through a wide scale oral history project; an exhibit incorporating high-quality radio documentary-style “audio portraits,” photos, and other materials; a multi-media web-based component; and a series of culminating events offering opportunities for dialogue and debate. The project (note: public events will take place in 2018) will document, for the first time, the history of a vital protest movement through the personal stories of those who comprised its San Francisco chapters; foster intergenerational community building; and involve young people in humanities research. For more information click HERE.


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