I just watched the documentary, Gay USA. It was filmed in June 1977 with camera crews at the gay parades in San Diego, LA, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. Though it seems like there’s a fairly heavy emphasis on the San Francisco event.
I was in high school at the time this was filmed and knew very little about gay people, other than what was presented in mainstream media, which at the time was heavily focused on Anita Bryant and her anti-gay crusade. It’s a shame that there was no means in place for me to be exposed to things like this film, because it surely would have helped me figure things out quite a bit sooner about myself.
Once you get past the multitude of hairy shirtless guys in jeans – hey man, it was the seventies – there is quite a bit of interesting material. (Well, actually the hairy shirtless guys are interesting too. It takes me back!) While the vast majority of America was anti-gay at the time, there were still straight allies in attendance. A lot of the things said back then by participants are still true today, such as it being not so easy to be gay in Kansas. Some of the most interesting interview bits come in the last half of the film, so it’s worth watching all the way through.
I watched the movie through my Amazon Prime membership for free, but I’d imagine it can also be found on Netflicks and other online movie outlets. Check it out.