Wanda Sykes Takes Us Through the History of LGBTQ+ — Now You Know


[MUSIC PLAYING] [WHISTLING] Hi, there. Who? Me? Yeah. You seem like an average guy. Well, I love smoothies
and drive a Prius if that’s what you mean. Exactly. Quick question. Have you ever thought how
your life might be different if you were gay? Uh, not really. I guess it would
be a little harder. Wait. Was that homophobic? Oh, God. I’m really sorry. This is a safe space, Carl. My name is Mark. Whatever. You’re right, though. Being gay has its challenges. But it hasn’t always
been like this. Like the Greeks? Absolutely. The earliest evidence
of gay relationships is from ancient Greece,
although that was mostly about older and younger men. Did you know Socrates
was in the closet? I didn’t. I also didn’t know they
had closets back then. When did all the crazy
homophobia start? Homophobia seemed to
start in the church during the high Middle Ages. Whoa! And in the Renaissance,
it got even worse. What happened? Well, if you were
outed, let’s just say it would have been bad. Ah! There were still plenty of
brave people who revolted. On August 31, 1512, a
group of young aristocrats living in Florence staged
what many consider history’s first gay rights demonstration. But that didn’t stop
homophobia from migrating to colonial America. In 1776, being gay in any
of the Puritan colonies was not allowed. Jeez. So when did things start
to change for the better? It wasn’t until the
20th century that we started to see progress. Gay bars were popping
up in major cities but were frequently raided by
the police because being gay was still illegal in every
state except Illinois. Go Bears! Exactly. One of these bars was
the popular Stonewall Inn in New York City. On the morning of June 28,
1969, which also happened to be the day of Judy
Garland’s funeral, the patrons of the
Stonewall Inn decided they weren’t going to take it. Hell, yeah. A black transgender woman
named Marsha P. Johnson is credited with leading
the uprising that started the modern
gay rights movement, and putting the T in LGBT. Now, every November, the
Ts and their supporters recognize Transgender
Awareness Week. This is great. It seems like things
were going pretty well. Hmm, for a while. A while? What happened next? Well, in the early
’80s, the world was hit by the AIDS epidemic,
and the gay community was hit hardest. AIDS became known
as a gay disease. In fact, it was
originally called GRID, which means Gay-Related
Immune Deficiency. No way. It’s true. Many people think
that the government didn’t act quickly
enough because it was considered a gay disease. So the LGBTQ community had
to fight it themselves. So how did they fight it? They got organized. Activist groups like ACT UP,
the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Lesbian AIDS Project,
and The Names Project emerged and refused
to be ignored. This newly empowered gay
community had one goal. What was that? To come out. They thought the
problem with homophobia was that people didn’t know
other people who were gay, and if more people
came out, they would be seen for who they are
and not just as a stereotype. Convincing people to come
out was still a tough task. But things got
easier in 1997 when Ellen appeared on the
cover of Time magazine and told the world,
“yep, I’m gay.” After that, more
and more gay people started appearing
in TV and movies, helping millions feel
more confident to love who they want. Wow. What a journey. I’m kind of digging
myself as a gay person. Slow down. We’re not done just yet. But we’ve come so far. Can’t we just
celebrate for a minute? No time for that, Carl. We still have a lot
of laws to change. Oh, yeah. That’s right. Being gay was more accepted, but
there was still a lot of rights that gay people didn’t have. However, they did have something
they didn’t have before. What? Allies. Yeah, in 2003, Massachusetts
became the first state to legalize marriage equality. And 12 years later, it was
legal in all 50 states, much in thanks to a majority
of Americans who supported it. So as a gay person living
in 2019, how would you feel? Pretty happy I live in the
present, grateful for all the heroes who fought before
me, and hopeful for the future. I’m glad because the fight
for equality is still going. It takes a village, and we’re
going to need your help.

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