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Electronic Media Programs in the History of the LGBT Community in Wisconsin

LGBT programming on television in Wisconsin first began to appear widely in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Usually facilitated by local cable access laws, programs such as Tri-Cable Tonight and The Queer Program opened up video programming and news to the LGBT community. National programs also began to appear more widely, as fewer local stations followed decades-long protests, and accepted that LGBT programming was not perverse but rather educational.

Podcast series, "Be Seen" (in collaboration with Radio Milwaukee)

    Initially a 6-podcast series in 2022, each with the goal of answering questions that explore different historical milestones, events and businesses that have fostered an inclusive LGBTQ+ community in the Milwaukee area. The series was picked up for an additional series of episodes in 2023. In May 2023, the series won the Milwaukee Press Club Silver Award for "Best Original Podcast" at the '2022 MPC Awards for Excellence in Journalism' event.

Electronic Media (Radio, TV and Cable programs and specials, Web sites)

    Wisconsin Pride (Two-hour documentary that brings hidden LGBTQ+ stories to the foreground and reconsiders the long narrative of Wisconsin in light of the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people in our state. Produced by PBS Wisconsin; first shown June 2023)

    Dance Gay America (National program taped in gay dance clubs throughout the country. This program filmed at La Cage/ Dance Dance Dance on May 10, 1996)

    GAYWI.org - Wisconsin Gay Resource Guide web site (Founded April 2004, "to bring together the Gay community in Wisconsin by having one localized point for information". The site, gaywi.org, is no longer available.)

    LGBT milWALKee. (A Smartphone App that gives people walking tours of LGBTQ-specific landmarks throughout Milwaukee.)

    MEN video (MEN, Male Entertainment Network, of San Francisco, came to Milwaukee to promoite their new national video shooting, and taped an appearance at the M&M Club by Chris -?-, and the GAMMA boat cruise in July 1983.) (This video clip included in the UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.) (Male Entertainment Network (MEN) was founded in 1983 and lasted for 10 years as a media company for the gay community. During that time, they produced 40 videos- including several in Milwaukee, a Madison MAGIC Picnic, and all of the official coverage of the Gay Games. MEN documented gay history in a unique fashion- capturing, in words and images, gay life in the '80s.)

    The Queer Program (Cable access program shown on Milwaukee Warner-Cable channel 14 which held live news, interview and call-in programs for the LGBTQ community for 25 years, from 1992 to 2017)

    Tri-Cable Tonight (Cable show shown on Milwaukee Warner-Cable channel 14 from 1987 to 1990. Nearly all of these programs are included in the UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    True To Desire (Milwaukee's own gay soap opera, shown on Milwaukee Warner-Cable channel 14, community access. Created by Mark Behar? and ?. Appeared approx. weekly from Oct. 1995 to ?.)

    Wisconsin Gay News web site (Founded late 2004, "to provide Wisconsinís LGBT community with high-speed access to news of LGBT community interest faster than any Wisconsin gay print publication possibly can". The site, instepnews.com, is no longer available.)

    Out in America (Panel discussion video relating struggle for gay and lesbian rights; sponsored and partially funded by Cream City Foundation; June 1991)

    Sexual Orientation: Reading Between the Labels (Video intervieing Wisconsin youth dealing with whether they are gay. Produced by NEWIST and sponsored and partially funded by Cream City Foundation; Sept. 1991)

News Coverage

    July 1983: Gay in Milwaukee (Channel 12's Eleanor Hayes cover gay life in Milwaukee in 1983 in a 4-part series) (This video clip included in UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    July 1983: Inside Milwaukee's Gay Community (Channel 6's Roseanne St. Aubin reports during Pride week of gay life in Milwaukee in 1983) (This video clip included in UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    1984: Governor's Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues (public conference and interviews) (This video clip included in UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    April 1985: Governor Tony Earl attends a CCBA meeting (Cream City Business Association) (This video clip included in UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    Nov. 1987: Growing Up Gay (Channel 12 examines gay self-awareness in a series of programs) (This video clip included in UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    June 1989: MECCA Rally to recall Gay Rights Proclamation (Channel 12 news coverage of a really to recall the city's gay rights proclamation) (This video clip included in UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    July 1989: Focus 4- Gay Life in Milwaukee (3 part series on gay and lesbian life and social life) (This video clip included in UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    March 1991: Raid on Club 219 (Channel 12 news coverage of a strip show/ hot buns contest at Club 219 raided by police) (This video clip included in UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    Nov. 1991: Flirting with Danger (Channel 12 news 4-part series examines gays who pursue anonymous sex) (This video clip included in UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection.)

    April 1997: Ellen DeGeneres Coming-Out Party at Triangle (Channel 12 news coverage of the coming-out party)

Many of the media clips referenced here are available to researchers in the UWM Archives Dept., Milwaukee LGBT History Collection. Reference that web site for more information, hours of access, etc.

Credits: web site concept, design and format by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: August-2023.

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