Still recovering from the disaster that was Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall? We might have the antidote.
For anyone still looking for an actually entertaining take on queer history, you might consider checking out “Mattachine,” a new serialized podcast that launched January 4. “Mattachine” plans to “uncover a lesser-known piece of queer history” by investigating The Mattachine Society, a mid-century “homophile organization” (read: “early gay rights organization with a fancy name”) that provided a catalyst for the queer rights movement of the mid/late 20th century.
Led by creator Devlyn Camp, the podcast will trace the formation of the Mattachine back through 1920s Chicago, the McCarthy era, and a series of “secret speakeasy-style meetings that brought together anonymous homosexuals.”
According to the New York Public Library, the Society sought to “educate the public in all aspects of homosexuality” and “effect changes in social attitudes towards gays.” And while it eventually became a voice in educating the public on queer issues, it fell apart due to internal power struggles and financial issues. “Mattachine” plans to explore the nature of those internal power struggles.
“Reading the hateful words that some of these gay people said to each other, and following the heartbreak that some of them experienced from rejection within our community opened my eyes to the problems that persist today,” says Camp, in reference to the internalized homophobia and divisiveness rampant in today’s queer community.
But what’s it all mean? Why study the Mattachine Society now? Why not now!?
“Public schools aren’t teaching us our history, so why not learn it on your bus ride to work in a dramatic and exciting fashion?” says Camp. “[Trump’s] administration is doing terrible things to our community, and we can learn how to fight him by studying what our ancestors did.”