by Playing Gay
How America Came Out on Television
About this project
Playing Gay: How America Came Out on Television
Playing Gay is a documentary that will — for the first time — tell the story of how television changed the way America views LGBT people. There has been a major shift in the hearts and minds of America over the past four decades. Television was both the catalyst for, and a powerful reflection of Americans’ views on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
The Supreme Court’s historic decision on Marriage Equality didn’t happen in a vacuum — it happened on television.
In the 70s, President Nixon was secretly taped describing television as “glorifying homosexuality” while using words like “fag,” “queer,” and “homo” to punctuate his disgust. An actor said he would sooner “play Hitler than a homosexual.”
In the 90s, landmark shows like Roseanne, The Real World and My So-Called Life began the decade with breakthrough characters and storylines and we saw America’s closet door begin to swing open in so many powerful and unprecedented ways.
It wasn’t until 1997 that the world witnessed the extraordinary courage of Ellen DeGeneres, and that cultural closet door was finally removed. Ellen bravely paved the way for shows like Will & Grace, Queer As Folk, The L Word and Modern Family.
From an American president voicing his disgust at the portrayal of a gay character, to an entire nation embracing love as a universal right – this is the incredible story of Playing Gay: How America Came Out on Television. And it’s a story that can only be told with your help!
As you scroll through our perks we hope you’ll smile as you remember some of the major television milestones along the way— and just how far we’ve come!
Any amount helps, and even if you can’t make a financial contribution, you can still help Playing Gay become a reality by sharing this page with your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site that you use.
Get rewards including, but not limited to…
Access to behind-the-scenes footage and outtakes from the film, an exclusively designed Kickstarter T-Shirt, Poster, or join our Playing Gay team for the official Crew T-Shirt and your name in the credits!
One generous backer will get to visit the set of the Rachel Maddow show!
You could even attend a live taping of an interview with some of the most important people in the industry and have dinner with the creators of the film!
The power of television transformed America’s attitudes about our LGBT citizens. We’ve watched as the LGBT community went from invisibility in the Fifties and Sixties to marriage equality under the Constitution in 2015!
Risks and challenges
The principal challenge here is the willingness and availability of the potential subjects. To date, we’ve interviewed Michael Douglas, Norman Lear, Martin Sheen, Hal Holbrook, Sheila Kuehl, Wilson Cruz and Dannielle Owens-Reid. We’re interviewing Rachel Maddow very soon, and we have many more exciting artists ready to participate when this campaign succeeds!
We are uniquely positioned to tell this story but we need the funds and resources to collect many more never-before-told stories from these groundbreaking artists in order to preserve the true history of LGBT images on television!