The Homosexuals (1967): A CBS “Documentary”



In 1967, CBS aired an episode of the network’s CBS Reports series exploring homosexuality, a topic so taboo and controversial at the time that it took three years in the making, several revisions and a change of two producers to finally air the program. Titled The Homosexuals, the broadcast was anchored by Mike Wallace, whom you may recall from his provocative conversation with Ayn Rand on morality and love as a business deal, and was the first American network documentary to ever explore the topic of homosexuality on national television. It featured interviews with a number of gay men from San Francisco, Philadelphia, Charlotte and New York, legal experts, cultural critics, priests and psychiatrists, as well as footage of young men interacting in a gay bar and a teenager being arrested during a police sting operation, complete with psychoanalysis that pegged it all on the inevitable domineering mother.

What’s most fascinating is that the segment portrays gay men — and, mind you, completely neglects gay women as part of the homosexual community — as inherently promiscuous, incapable of sustaining long-term monogamous relationships. And yet, even as we cringe at the general trauma and civil rights failures around the issue in 1967, here we are nearly half a century later, still debating gay marriage and questioning the rights of those men and women who do want to legally enact these loving long-term monogamous relationships.

It’s very interesting to see what has and hasn’t changed since then, how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go.

The sad part is that STILL have people who STILL feel this way.



3 responses »

  1. It is an interesting point you make here about gay women. I am straight, so I do not really care that much. But, it does reflect the current state of things with regards to women in the 21st century.

    Also, you´ve been tagged. You´re it!

  2. Society at large does feel it can comment, criticize and judge on how other’s get happy.

    But, as you point out, we have come a long way with respect to human rights. Hopefully the next generation will make the discussion and deliberation over gay rights a mute point.

  3. This footage is insane. “This man has been in jail 3 times for committing homosexual acts.” I am definitely glad to be gay in THIS day. My homosexuality to me….is a little fairy that looks like Julia Roberts that sits on my shoulder and helps me separate what clothes are fashionable and what is junk, she helps me know what is wrong and what is right of most things..ahaha. That’s what I would have said.

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