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With our partner, The Connecticut Historical Society, WNPR News presents unique and eclectic view of life in Connecticut throughout its history. The Connecticut Historical Society is a partner in Connecticut History Online (CHO) — a digital collection of over 18,000 digital primary sources, together with associated interpretive and educational material. The CHO partner and contributing organizations represent three major communities — libraries, museums, and historical societies — who preserve and make accessible historical collections within the state of Connecticut.

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.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.


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."

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