Before Stonewall: Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community (1984): Schiller’s Docu about the LGBT prior to 1969 Stonewall Riots (LGBTQ)

Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community deals with the LGBT prior to the 1969 Stonewall riots through a series of intimate interviews and archival footage.

If you want to know more about gay films and gay directors, please read my book:

Gay Directors, Gay Films? By Emanuel Levy (Columbia University Press)

It was narrated by author Rita Mae Brown, co-directed by Greta Schiller and Robert Rosenberg, and co-produced by John Scagliotti, Rosenberg, and Schiller.

It premiered at the 1984 Toronto Fest and was released on June 27, 1985.

In 1999, producer Scagliotti directed a companion piece, After Stonewall.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Teddy Awards, the film was shown at the 66th Berlin Film Fest in 2016.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 2019, the film was restored and re-released by First Run Features.

In December 2019, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Interviews with:

Ann Bannon
Lisa Ben
Gladys Bentley
Ivy Bottini
George Buse
Carroll Davis
Martin Duberman
Allen Ginsberg
Barbara Gittings
Barbara Grier
Mabel Hampton
Harry Hay
Evelyn Hooker
Frank Kameny
Jim Kepner
Audre Lorde
Bruce Nugent
Johnnie Phelps
Craig Rodwell
José Sarria


I am grateful to TCM for showing the film on January 9, 2019.