Examining Connecticut's LGBTQ History
Whether it's same-sex marriage or laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender idenity, Connecticut has been near the forefront in advancing LGBTQ causes.
But in the state's not-too-distant past, homosexuality was regarded as a mental health or personality disorder. A new research project, jointly undertaken by Central Connecticut State University and the Connecticut Historical Society, details state psychiatric facilities' use of electroshock therapy, even lobotomy, to treat sexuality and gender variations.
Despite the risks, love letters going back more than a century attest to underground romantic same-sex relationships here.
Today, we look at Connecticut's LGBTQ history, before and after the Stonewall riots in New York City, which happened 50 years ago next month and gave rise to the modern gay rights movement.
Even before Stonewall, groups here in Connecticut, such as the Kalos Society, championed the push for equality.
We reflect on those efforts, and how the state's LGBTQ community rallied from tragedies, like the AIDS crisis and the murder of a Wethersfield gay man, to bring about change.
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- William J. Mann - Award-winning author and historian who was named the director of Central Connecticut State University's LGBT Center in 2018. From 1992 to 1995, he was co-publisher of Metroline, a former Hartford-based gay and lesbian news magazine.
- Eve Galanis - Central Connecticut State University student who's spent the past year working on a Connecticut LGBTQ history exhibit and digital timeline project as part of a joint effort between CCSU and the Connecticut Historical Society
- Keith Brown - Longtime producer and host of the "Gay Spirit" radio program on WWUH 91.3 FM at the University of Hartford
Chion Wolf and Lydia Brown contributed to this show.
Connecticut Historical Society - A Brief History of Connecticut's LGBTQ Community: A Traveling Exhibit and Digital Timeline - "The exhibit explores the idea of the LGBTQ community finding its voice, and moving from an underground existence to a claimed communal identity."