There hasn’t been anything this gay on PBS since that controversial lesbian Muppet orgy on Sesame Street Nites back in the early ’90s.
Yet here we are in 2011 in a much different, slightly more tolerant world. Things are better in so many ways for GLBT people, but of course there are still hurdles to jump ladders to climb, bridges to cross and many, many more metaphors to create.
OUT in America explores the way things have changed through a collage of stories from everyday people to some of our country’s most famous queers.
It’s heartwarming to watch “The Harolds” (above) discuss their five-decade-long relationship and the world they’ve seen morph around them. Humorist Kate Clinton, our trash-TV boyfriend Andy Cohen of Bravo, and Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin provide their own unique perspective, among other lesser-known pioneers.
Even one of our all-time favorite performers, Miss Richfield 1981 makes an appearance in the opening and closing credits. We’re just sad she wasn’t featured more. We can watch her all day.
OUT in America reminds us of one important truth. No matter how many times we watch documentaries about gay life in the 20th century and how secretive people had to be, or risk their very lives if they were discovered, we can’t help but be moved to tears. Well, a single tear. We’ve had a lot of Botox.
Few would argue that each new generation of GLBT people has it easier than the last and even in our lifetime we’ve seen things dramatically improve. So we implore every reader to watch this film tonight, record it or make a pledge to your PBS station and select it as a thank-you gift next pledge drive. Then every time you see a gray-haired gay (and no, we don’t mean Anderson Cooper), thank him or her for everything they’ve done to make our lives better and get us closer to equality.
Maybe even buy them a drink.
National premier tonight, 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on PBS