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The Right to Play OneselfLooking Back on Documentary Film$
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Thomas Waugh

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816645862

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816645862.001.0001

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Lesbian and Gay Documentary

Lesbian and Gay Documentary

Minority Self-Imaging, Oppositional Film Practice, and the Question of Image Ethics (1984)

(p.193) 7 Lesbian and Gay Documentary
The Right to Play Oneself

Thomas Waugh

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter explores the proliferation of lesbian and gay documentaries in both mainstream and alternative media, and aimed at both general and specialized audiences. Ever since the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969—the protests/demonstration of gays against police that symbolically ushered in the era of gay liberation—documentary film has been a primary means by which lesbians and gays have carried out their liberation struggle. Lesbian and gay documentaries have addressed both general issues—identity and consciousness, civil rights and political transformation—and the stakes of specific and/or localized struggles, for example, child custody or local mobilizations in Toronto or Sydney. Examining twenty-four lesbian and/or gay documentaries from various countries, the chapter addresses ethical issues emerging from the use of documentary films by lesbians and gays to represent them, to mobilize their communities, and to achieve goals of social and political change.

Keywords:   lesbian and gay documentaries, Stonewall riots, Greenwich village, gay liberation, documentary film, liberation struggle, political transformation, local mobilizations

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