Metrofocus: June 23, 2022

June is Pride Month, and for the first time since 2019, the New York City Pride March is officially back fully in-person, and this year’s theme is “Unapologetically Us.” The march is just one of many in-person events taking place throughout the city that aims to inspire, educate, commemorate, and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. One of the Pride March’s Grand Marshals, television and internet personality, Ts Madison, joins us to discuss the significance of this pride and her personal journey to becoming her unapologetic self.

Hugh Ryan, author of “When Brooklyn was Queer: A History,” joins us to look at the little-known story of Kings County’s vibrant and forgotten LGBTQIA+ past.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, IT'S PRIDE MONTH, AND THE SOCIAL MEDIA STAR LEADING NEW YORK'S FIRST FULLY IN-PERSON PRIDE MARCH IN THREE YEARS JOINS US.

> AND WHEN BROOKLYN WAS QUEER, THE UNKNOWN STORY OF THE BOROUGH'S VIBRANT AND FORGOTTEN LGBTQ PLUS PAST.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M GENERAL THAT FLANAGAN.

JUNE IS PRIDE MONTH, AND FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2019, THE NEW YORK CITY PRIDE MARCH IS OFFICIALLY BACK IN FULL FORCE.

THE MARCH WILL TAKE PLACE SATURDAY JUNE 26th, AND IT'S JUST ONE OF MANY IN-PERSON EVENTS THIS MONTH OCCURRING THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY.

THESE EVENTS WILL ALSO INCLUDE THE PRIDE FEST STREET FAIR AND PRIDE ISLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL AND THEY AIM TO INSPIRE, EDUCATE, AND CELEBRATE THE LGBTQ PLUS COMMUNITY.

THIS COMES AS TRANSRIGHTS REMAIN IN JEOPARDY ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

JOINING US NOW ONE OF THE MARSHALLS OF THE NEW YORK CITY 2022 PRIDE MAR, TS MADISON.

A TELEVISION AND INTERNET PERSONALITY AND AN ADVOCATE FOR THE LGBTQIA COMMUNITY.

MADISON, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

HOW ARE YOU?

NOBODY EVER ASKS ME THAT, THANK YOU FOR ASKING.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

FIRST, I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON THE FACT THAT FINALLY THE MARCH IS BACK IN PERSON SBRRK, AND WHILE A LOT OF THINGS HAVE TAKEN PLACE ONLINE AND STILL DO, THE SIGNIFICACE OF THE MARCH BEING BACK IN NEW YORK.

NEW YORK CITY IS KIND OF THE BIGGEST PLACE TO HAVE PRIDE IT'S KIND OF LIKE WHERE STONEWALL STARTED, IT'S WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.

AND TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, I'M EXCITED FOR IT BECAUSE I'VE NEVER BEEN A GRAND MARSHALL BEFORE.

I'VE HOSTED PRIDES, BUT I'VE NEVER BEEN A GRAND MARSHALL, AND IT'S SUCH AN HONOR TO BE THAT.

THE ONLY THING THAT FRIGHTENS ME A BIT IS I HAVE BEEN SEEING THE PROTESTERS, THE RIOTERS.

THEY CALL THEMSELVES, WHAT, THE PROUD BOYS?

OR WHATEVER NAME THEY'RE GOING BY.

I HAVE BEEN SEEING THEM GATHERING AT OTHER LITTLE PRIDES AND RALLIES AND TRYING TO, YOU KNOW, UPSET OR CAUSE RIOTS THERE.

AND YOU KNOW, IT GIVES ME A LITTLE BIT OF FEAR, JUST A BIT, BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN WATCHING HOW THE GUN VIOLENCE AND STUFF HAS BEEN RAMPANT IN OUR COUNTRY, YOU KNOW, IN THE PAST SIX MONTHS -- IT'S BEEN OUTRAGEOUS.

SHOOTINGS IN SCHOOLS, SHOOTINGS IN CHURCHES, SHOOTINGS EVERYWHERE.

AND IT DOES GIVE ME A LITTLE FEAR, BUT I HAVE TO SAY THAT I THINK THAT WE LGBTQIA-PLUS PEOPLE ARE ANOINTED, AND WE'RE COVERED, HONEY.

THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO MESS WITH US.

NOT THIS YEAR, NOT WITH PRIDE COMING BACK IN PERSON, AND NOT IN THE BIGGEST CITY IN THE WORLD FOR IT TO COME BACK TO.

WELL, AND I DO -- WE CAN CIRCLE BACK TO SOME OF THE OTHER PROBLEMATIC ISSUES THAT YOU MENTIONED, BUT I DO WANT TO ALSO JUST TALK ABOUT JUST THE CELEBRATION OF PRIDE.

AND IF THE PAST THREE YEARS -- I MEAN, WE'VE SEEN MOVEMENTS OF BLACK LIVES MATTER AND OF COURSE A 'ME TOO' MOVEMENT, WHERE ISSUES OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE HAVE TAKEN PLACE, AND OF COURSE SO MANY ISSUES WHERE PEOPLE PERHAPS WERE MORE MARGINALIZED IN THE SHADOWS OF SOCIETY HAVE COME FORWARD TO NOT ONLY SHARE THEIR STORY BUS DEMAND CHANGE.

HOW DOES THAT CHANGE THE WAY YOU APPROACH PRIDE THIS YEAR?

WELL, THE WAY THAT I'M GOING TO APPROACH IT THIS YEAR IS WITH GRATITUDE AND GRATEFULNESS FOR THOSE ORGANIZATIONS, YOU KNOW, CHAMPIONING THINGS AND MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN IN THE WORLD.

YOU KNOW, HONESTLY, AS A 44-YEAR-OLD TRANS WOMAN WHO HAS LIVED THROUGH MANY PRIDES AND MANY CHANGES IN MY COMMUNITY, IT IS SO GOOD TO SEE HOW FAR WE'RE COME FROM WHERE WE USED TO BE.

AND I THANK GOD FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO SEE PROGRESS.

EVEN THOUGH WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO, I'M GLAD I'M ABLE TO SEE PROGRESS NOW.

IT'S JUST AN AMAZING THING THAT WE HAVE ORGANIZATIONS WHO HAVE BEEN HARD ON THE GROUND, YOU KNOW, WORKING FOR CHANGE AND THEN TO SEE -- TO LIVE AND SEE LOTS OF THE CHANGES TRANSPIRING RIGHT NOW, IT'S AN AMAZING THING.

WELL, THE THEME OF NEW YORK CITY PRIDE THIS YEAR IS UNAPOLOGY ITICALLY US, AND I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SHARE SOME OF YOUR PERSONAL, UNIQUE, AND PERHAPS THE TRANS COMMUNITY FAMILIAR STORY ABOUT BECOMING UNAPOLOICALLY YOURSELF.

THIS IS THE GIRL TO ASK THAT TO.

TO ME IT'S MORE THAN JUST A STATEMENT, BECAUSE ONE ING I HAVE BEEN IN THE COURSE OF MY CAREER IS UNAPOLOGETIC ABOUT WHO I AM.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE MET ME IN THE SPACE OF BEING AN INTERNET SOCIAL MEDIA STORM I COME FROM A SECULAR WALK.

I HAVE BEEN IN THE ADULT FILM INDUSTRY.

I HAVE BEEN IN, YOU KNOW, SEX WORK AND THINGS LIKE THAT.

YOU KNOW, I'VE NEVER SHIED AWAY FROM THAT AND I'VE NEVER BEEN ASHAMED OF IT.

EVERYONE HAS A PAST AND EVERYONE HAS A PLACE WHERE THEY STARTED FROM, AND I'M NOT NECESSARILY THE MOST HAPPIEST THAT THAT WAS MY START.

HOWEVER, IT IS A PART OF MY STORY, AND IT'S A PART OF MANY GIRLS' STORY WHO WHO ARE TRANS.

YOU KNOW, AND GAY MEN, IT'S A PART OF THEIR STORY, BEING THRUST INTO SEX WORK, SEX SURVIVAL WORK AND STUFF LIKE THAT.

BUT FOR ME, WHAT'S THE BIGGEST -- WHAT'S THE BIGGEST UNAPOLOGETIC THING IS THAT I DON'T SHY AWAY FROM IT AND I'M NOT AFRAID OF IT.

I EMBRACE IT AND LET PEOPLE KNOW, IT'S NOT WHERE YOU START, IT'S WHERE YOU FINISH.

AND I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO REACH MANY DIFFERENT AREAS IN MY CAREER, AND I'M STILL GROWING.

I HAVE MY OWN TELEVISION SHOW, MY OWN TALK SHOW.

I HAVE A LOT OF THINGS PEOPLE SAID I WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO HAVE BECAUSE OF MY PAST, MY FORMER -- BACKGROUND.

AND I AM A BEACON TO SHOW PEOPLE THAT IF YOU ARE SERIOUS IN YOUR WALK AND YOU'RE SERIOUS IN YOUR COMMITMENT TO CHANGE AND PUSH YOURSELF FORWARD, THAT ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

AND YOU HAVE TO NOT SHY AWAY FROM YOUR PAST.

YOU HAVE TO EMBRACE IT, ACCEPT IT, AND YOU HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD.

UNAPOLOGETICALLY.

OF COURSE.

SPEAKING OF THE REPRESENTATION THAT YOU MENTIONED, I'M WONDERING HOW YOU LOOK AT THE SUBSEQUENT GENERATIONS COMING BEHIND YOU.

THERE HAVE BEEN SOME QUESTIONS PERHAPS FROM PERHAPS OLDER PEOPLE WHO ARE WONDERING IF A LARGER NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE -- MILLENNIALS, GEN-Z ARE IDENTIFYING ABOUT LGBTQIA PLUS BECAUSE IT'S TRENDY OR IF THAT'S A POPULATION THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN THERE JUST WITHOUT THE LANGUAGE TO SELF-FY.

WELL, IT'S ALWAYS BEEN THERE.

EVEN FROM MY GENERATION, WHEN I LOOK BACK, THERE HAS BEEN SO MANY GIRLS WHO HAVE IDENTIFIED AS DRAG QUEENS OR FEMALE IMPERSON IMPERSONATORS.

WE DIDN'T HAVE A NAME.

WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO CALL OURSELVES.

WE WERE ONLY CALLED -- I DON'T KNOW HOW I CAN SAY THIS, BUT I HAVE TO SAY IT UNAPOLOGETICALLY AND BLUNT, WE WERE KNOWN AT FAGGOTS AND DIKES AND ALL THE DEROGATORY SLURS, SO WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WE WERE.

NOW THAT WE HAVE PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, LIKE JANET MACH, LAVERNE COX AND ALL THE GIRL WHO IS PIONEER FOR THE PROPER PRONOUNCE WE ARE, WE'RE UNDERSTANDING, HEY, I'M NOT JUST AN FAG OR DIKE OR SOME NASTY SLUR.

I AM TRANS.

I AM NONBINARY.

I AM, YOU KNOW, GENDER FLUID, GENDER NONCONFORMING, THE WHAT I FEEL INSIDE.

THERE IS AN IDENTITY FOR IT.

PEOPLE THINK WE'VE INFLUENCED THE YOUTH.

NO, WE'VE OPENED THE DOOR TO IDENTIFY -- EXCUSE ME.

WE'VE OPENED THE DOOR FOR YOU TO IDENTIFY AS WHAT THEY WERE ON THE INSIDE.

LIKE, WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I WAS.

I DIDN'T KNOW.

AND THEN WHEN I FOUND OUT WHAT I WAS -- BECAUSE I WAS TOLD THAT I WAS AN FAG.

I WAS TOLD THAT I WAS, YOU KNOW, GOING TO HELL.

I WAS SOMETHING THAT GOD DETESTED AND HATES.

BUT AS I GREW AND FOUND SELF-ASSURANCE AND SEEN OTHER THINGS, LIKE, OKAY, THIS IS WHAT I AM.

THIS IS WHAT I FEEL.

THIS IS THE NAME OF IT.

THIS IS WHO I AM.

GOT IT.

AND SO BECAUSE NOW WE'RE LIVING IN OUR TRUTHS, IT OPENS THE DOORWAY FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO FALL IN LINE AND LIVE IN OUR TRUTH.

WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN HERE.

ALWAYS.

I'M JUST WONDERING IF YOU CAN EXPAND A LITTLE BIT ON THAT.

BECAUSE THERE WAS JUST SOMETHING IN THE WAY YOU SAID 'OH', AND 'GOT IT.'

WHAT'S THAT LIKE TO NOT ONLY UNDERSTAND WHO YOU ARE, BUT ACCEPTING YOURSELF FULLY IN THAT MOMENT?

THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT THE WAY YOU SAID 'GOT IT,' THAT INDICATES THIS A TRANSFORMATIVE MOMENT FOR YOU.

YES, BECAUSE WHEN YOU'RE GROWING UP IN A STRAIGHT HOUSEHOLD OR A CHRISTIAN HOUSEHOLD AND YOU'RE INFLUENCED BY RELIGION AND ALL THE THINGS THAT COME ALONG WITH IT, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE TOLD THAT THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE, THIS IS -- YOU'RE AN ABOMINATION.

AND THEN WHEN YOU GET OUT IN THE WORLD AND YOU GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET OTHER PEOPLE OR SEE THINGS OR WATCH SOMETHING ON TELEVISION OR SEE A DOCUMENTARY LIKE 'DISCLOSURE', AND IT BREAKS DOWN THE DEFINITION OF HOW YOU HAVE BEEN FEELING, WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN SEEING, IT'S LIKE GOING TO THE DOCTOR AND THEY DIAGNOSE YOU WITH SOMETHING.

AND YOU'RE THINKING IN ONE PART OF YOUR MIND, LIKE, OH, THIS IS WHAT IT IS.

BUT WHEN THEY DIAGNOSE YOU AND TELL YOU, THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE, YOU'RE LIKE, OH!

SO ALL THIS TIME, IT'S NOT REALLY ANYTHING WRONG WITH ME, BECAUSE I'M NOT ALONE.

I'M NOT ALONE, AND I'M NOT DEROGATORY.

YOU KNOW, I'M NOT DEGENERATE.

I AM NOT AN ABOMINATION.

I AM A TRANSWOMAN.

I AM NONBINARY.

I'M GENDER NONCONFORMING.

OKAY.

I UNDERSTAND WHO I AM.

IT'S OTHER PEOPLE THAT ARE DULL, NOT ME.

ONE OTHER QUESTION I JUST WANTED TO GET YOUR TAKE ON IS EARLY ON IN THE CONVERSATION YOU MENTIONED THAT THE LGBTQIA PLUS COMMUNITY IS ANOINTED.

AND YET JUST NOW WHEN YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT SOME OF THE STRUGGLES AND CHALLENGES YOU THAT FACE IN THE CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH, YOU RELATED THAT TO GROWING UP IN A RELIGIOUS HOUSEHOLD.

DOES, FIRST AFTER ALL, ACCEPTING YOURSELF CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR HIGHER POWER?

DOES IT STRENGTHEN IT?

DOES THAT CHANGE AT ALL?

BECAUSE THOSE TWO THINGS, ONE MIGHT SAY, WOULD BE IN OPPOSITION TO EACH OTHER, BUT I DON'T THINK THEY ARE FOR YOU.

NOT FOR ME, BECAUSE WHAT I FOUND OUT EXACTLY WHO I AM OR WHAT IS THE CLASSIFICATION OF, YOU KNOW, SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION OF WHAT I AM, I WAS LIKE, OKAY, SO HERE'S MY -- HERE'S WHY, YOU KNOW, EVERYONE ELSE DOESN'T GET IT, BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T OPENED THEMSELVES UP TO UNDERSTANDING ANYTHING BUT WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN TAUGHT.

AND EVEN THOUGH I WAS RAISE IN THE A CHRISTIAN HOME AND RAISED UP TO FOLLOW THE GUIDELINE OF GOD OR WHATEVER, I HAD TO UNDERSTAND THAT GOD OR THE PERSONIFICATION OF THE BEN EVENT LENT BEING OR WHATEVER PEOPLE CHOOSE TO CALL IT IS A CONNECTION -- IT'S ABOUT THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION.

IT'S NOT ABOUT THE RITUALS AND THE RELIGION OF IT AND THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF IT.

IT'S ABOUT THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION, BECAUSE I TELL PEOPLE ALL THE TIME THAT I'VE ALWAYS HAD A VOICE, A -- SOMETHING HAS ALWAYS COMMUNICATED WITH ME AND TALKED WITH ME AND WALKED WITH ME THROUGHOUT MY -- THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF MY JOURNEY, EVEN WHEN I WAS IN A SECULAR LIFESTYLE.

BECAUSE I'VE WATCHED MANY GIRLS NOT MAKE IT.

I'VE WATCHED THEM BE KILLED.

I'VE WATCHED THEM DIE OF AIDS.

I'M 44.

I'LL BE 45 IN OCTOBER.

SO I'VE WATCHED THESE THINGS HAPPEN.

AND I USED TO SAY TO GOD, WELL, WHY DID YOU SPARE ME?

I'M NOT THE MOST ARTICULATE, I'M NOT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, I'M NOT THE BEST REPRESENTATION, AND THE SPIRIT SAID TO ME, WELL, IT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE UNAPOLOGETICALLY YOU IT'S BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO RELATE TO YOU ON A LEVEL OF UNDERSTANDING IN A CHILDLIKE WAY.

IT'S BECAUSE YOU'LL BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN IT IN ITS SIMPLISTIC FORM AND SAY, IT'S NOT ABOUT A RELIGION.

IT'S ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

AND SO I FEEL THAT WHEN SOME OF US, OR A LOT OF US LGBTQIA-PLUS PEOPLE REALLY FIND THAT SPIRITUAL CONNECTION AND UNDERSTAND, LIKE, IT'S NOT ABOUT A RELIGIOUS FOLLOWING, IT'S ABOUT YOU BEING SPIRITUALLY CONNECTED TO A HIGHER POWER, I FEEL LIKE THAT'S WHEN YOU ACCEPT YOUR ANOINTING, AND GOD PROTECTS US.

LIKE, LISTEN, IF I TELL YOU SOME OF THE STORIES OF THE THINGS THAT I HAVE BEEN THROUGH IN JUST THE COURSE OF MY LIFE OR TRANSITIONING AND STUFF LIKE THAT, I COULD HAVE BEEN MURDERED.

I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DEAD.

I SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN A HOSPITAL.

IT'S LIKE, ALL OF THESE THINGS SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ME.

HOWEVER, THERE'S AN ANOINTING OVER TS MADISON.

I KNOW THIS.

AND WHEN PEOPLE TALK TO ME ABOUT GOD HATES FAGS OR GOD DOESN'T HAVE ANY LOVE FOR -- YOU'RE CONFUSED.

YOU'RE A MAN, NOT A WOMAN.

YOU'RE CONFUSING PEOPLE.

I'M LIKE, NO, I'M NOT CONFUSED.

I'M NOT CONFUSED.

YOU'RE CONFUSED.

BECAUSE GOD KNOWS ME.

HE SAID, IF WE'RE GOING TO FOLLOW WHAT THE BOOK SAYS, HE KNOWS THE HAIRS ON MY HEAD.

HE KNOWS THE DAYS OF MY LIFE.

HE KNEW ME BEFORE I WAS CONCEIVED IN THE WOMB, SO THIS MEANS I'M FOLLOWING THE PATH THAT WAS LAID OUT FOR ME BY THE DIVINE.

SO, YOU KNOW, THAT'S THE WAY I LOOK AT IT.

FIRST OF ALL,S THAT A BEAUTIFUL EXPLANATION.

WE'RE COMING UP AT THE END OF OUR TIME.

WE HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS LEFT.

I JUST WANTED TO ASK YOU, DO YOU SEE, I GUESS, THE REST OF THE CIS GENDERED STRAIGHT COMMUNITY CATCHING UP TO WHERE YOU ARE?

DO YOU SEE THAT HAPPENING AT LEAST IN YOUR LIFETIME?

IF GOD SPARES ME TO LIVE ANOTHER 45 YEARS, MAYBE.

BUT, YOU KNOW, IN THE NEXT 10, 20 YEARS, I SEE PROGRESS, BUT WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO.

BUT WE JUST HAVE TO KEEP OUR FEET ON THE GROUND AND MOVE IT FORWARD, YOU KNOW?

AND THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.

WE ALL HAVE TO COLLECTIVELY PUT IN THE WORK.

WE HAVE TO REMIND THE PEOPLE WE'RE HERE, WE'RE QUEER, WEIR TRANS, WE'RE ALL OUR IDENTITIES.

SO GET USED TO IT.

WE AIN'T GOING ANYWHERE, AND WE'RE MULTIPLY BIG THE DAY.

THAT'S THE NOTE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT ON.

TS MADISON, THANKS FOR JOINING US.

A TELEVISION AND INTERNET PERSONALITY AND AN ADVOCATE, A FIERCE ADVOCATE FOR THE LGBTQIA PLUS COMMUNITY.

AND OF COURSE GRAND MARSHALL FOR THIS YEAR'S 2022 NEW YORK CITY PRIDE MARCH.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME, AND MAKE SURE YOU'RE WATCHING 'THE TS MADISON EXPERIENCE' ON WETV.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK ACROSS THE EAST RIVER AT BROOKLYN AND THAT BOROUGH'S GAY PAST.

IT GOES TO GENERATIONS BEFORE THE GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT EXPLODE.

A NEW BOOK ENTITLED' WHEN BROOKLYN WAS QUEER 'IS A HISTORY FROM THE 1850s AND WALT WHITMAN TO THE LESBIANS THAT LABORED AT THE NAVAL YARD.

IT'S AUTHOR, HUGH RYAN, IS HERE WITH US NOW TO TALK ABOUT IT.

SO NICE TO HAVE YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

EXCITED TO BE HERE.

IT'S A FASCINATING BOOK.

BUT I WAS FASCINATED BY HOW YOU CAME TO THIS, HOW YOU SAID, OKAY, MAYBE I'VE GOT THE LOOK HARDER AT THIS.

MAYBE THERE'S A BOOK ABOUT THIS.

I HAD LIVE IN THE BROOKLYN FOR PROBABLY 13, 14 YEARS AT THAT POINT I STARTED DOING RESEARCH FOR THIS BOOK AND ONE DAY I REALIZED I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE GAY HISTORY OF BROOKLYN.

I KNEW ABOUT CHELSEA, HARLEM, GREENWICH VILLAGE, LOW AN EAST SIDE, MANHATTAN.

I WENT TO THE LIBRARY THINKING, SOMEONE'S WRITTEN A BOOK.

I JUST HAVEN'T READ IT.

THERE WASN'T ANYTHING.

THERE WAS NO WEBSITE, NO DOCUMENTARY.

I THOUGHT, WAS THERE NO HISTORY?

THAT'S YOUR FIRST INCLINATION.

YOU WOULD THINK, THERE'S NOTHING THERE.

EXACTLY.

QUEER PEOPLE ARE LIKE VAMPIRES.

CAN'T MOVE ACROSS WATER.

STUCK IN MANHATTAN.

I'M LIKE, I'M A JOURNALIST, ALREADY INTERVIEWING PEOPLE ALL THE TIME.

WHY DON'T I JUST START ASKING.

SLOWLY THE PIECES STARTED TO COME TOGETHER, AND AFTER A COUPLE OF YEARS THERE WAS LIKE, NO, THERE'S A HISTORY HERE THAT NEED TO BE TOLD.

EARLY ON IN THE INTRODUCTION PAGE YOU'VE GOT A QUOTE FROM WALT WHITMAN.

AND IT READS, THERE WILL BE A TIME HERE IN BROOKLYN AND ALL OVER AMERICA WHEN NOTHING WILL BE OF MORE INTEREST THAN AUTHENTIC REMINISCENCES OF THE PAST.

TELL ME HOW THAT WORKS FOR THIS BOOK.

IT'S KIND OF THE PERFECT QUOTE FOR ME BECAUSE I THINK FOR A LONG TIME NOT ONLY HAVE PEOPLE NOT LOOKED FOR QUEER HISTORY OR NOT SHARED IT WASN'T THEY FOUND IT, BUT THEY ALSO HAVEN'T LOOKED FOR BROOKLYN'S HISTORY.

NOW WE TALK, BUT WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, YOU NEVER TALK ABOUT BROOKLYN AS A PLACE THAT PEOPLE WENT TO OR HAD A HISTORY.

IT WAS A PLACE PEOPLE CAME FROM.

AND I THOUGHT, WOW, WHITMAN'S REALLY RIGHT ABOUT THIS.

THERE IS GOING TO BE A TIME -- AND I THINK THAT TIME IS RIGHT NOW -- WHEN PEOPLE ARE GOING SAY, NO, BROOKLYN WAS AND IS THE SECOND CITY OF THE EMPIRE, AND IT HAS ITS OWN HISTORY THAT IS OF COURSE INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH ALL FOUR OF THE OTHER BOROUGHS BUT ITS OWN THING.

WHEN I CAME ACROSS THAT IN WHITMAN'S JOURNALS, BECAUSE HE'S A FOCUS AT THE START OF THE BOOK, TO HEAR HIM SAY THAT IT WAS ALMOST AS IF HE WAS REACHING THROUGH TIME AND SAYING, WRITE THIS BOOK.

I'VE GOT A LINE FOR YOU.

TELL ME ABOUT WHAT YOU FOUND.

YOU TALK ABOUT PEAKS AND VALLEYS, IF YOU WILL, OF THE QUEER COMMUNITY IN BROOKLYN.

WELL, THE BIG THING I FOUND IS HISTORICALLY WHEN YOU GO BACK, YOU CAN FOLLOW THE QUEER COMMUNITY THROUGH FOLLOWING THE GROWTH OF BROOKLYN AS A CITY.

MY BOOK IS AS MUCH ABOUT BROOKLYN AS IT IS ABOUT THE QUEER PEOPLE, BECAUSE IT'S THE ECONOMICS THAT ENABLED QUEER LIVES.

THE OLDEST HISTORY WE HAVE IS ON THE WATER FRONT, BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE BROOKLYN BECAME A CITY, AND IT'S WHERE THERE WAS THIS CULTURAL INTERMINGLING.

YOU HAVE SHIPS FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD.

YOU HAVE PEOPLE COMING, SAILORS, AND ALL THAT INTERMINGLES ALONG THE WATER FRONT IN RED HOOK, BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, VINEGAR HILL, AND CONEY ISLAND.

ONCE I DISCOVERED IT WAS A CONNECTION TRAIL TO FOLLOW, I WAS SAYING, ARE THERE PARTICULAR JOBS?

WHAT ARE THE JOBS?

I CAN FIND THOSE JOBS?

EVERYTHING FROM SAILORS, TONS OF SAILORS AT THE BROOKLYN NAVY YARD.

I FOUND GREAT STORIES OF A TRANSMAN IN THE EARLY 1900s WHO WORKS AS A MAN AND GETS ARRESTED FOR WEARING MEN'S CLOTHING AND SMOKING.

I WAS LIKE, THIS IS SO EXCITING.

BUT THERE ARE ALL THESE OTHER JOBS, TOO.

SEX WORKERS TO BURLESQUE DANCERS, FIGHTING ROBERT MOSES FOR THE SOUL OF THE CITY, AND THESE STORIES WERE EXCITING AND UNDERTOLD.

WHY DO YOU THINK THEY WERE FIRST UNDERTOLD AND SECONDLY, YOU TAUKT ABOUT A KIND OF TRANSITION OF BROOKLYN ITSELF.

I THINK THEY WERE UNDERTOLD FOR A LOT OF REASONS, RIGHT?

WHEN YOU GO BACK HISTORICALLY, A LOT OF PEOPLE DESTROYED THEIR OWN RECORDS.

OR THEY DIDN'T TELL PEOPLE.

OR THEIR DESCENDENTS DESTROYED THEIR RECORDS FOR THEM.

ONE OF THE PEOPLE I TALK ABOUT IS HART UKRAINE.

HIS MOTHER AFTER HIS DEATH DESTROYED THE LETTER HE HAD BETWEEN MEN.

ANOTHER PERSON I FOCUS ON IS FLORENCE HEINZ, A BLACK DRAG QUEEN, AND SHE WAS THE MOST POPULAR FEMALE PERFORMER OF COLOR IN HER DAY AND THE HIGHEST PAID, AND YET THE NEWSPAPERS DIDN'T FOLLOW HER BECAUSE SHE WAS BLACK AND MASCULINE PRESENTING.

I FOUND ONE IMAGE OF HER EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS SO POPULAR.

SO THERE'S THE RECORDS THAT DON'T EXIST IN THE TIME PERIOD OR GREAT DESTROYED, AND THEN YOU HAVE THIS KIND OF REALLY DOWNTURN IN QUEER LIFE POST WORLD WAR II.

WHY DID THAT HAPPEN.

A LOT OF THINGS.

ONE, THE WATER.

THE SEAWAY OPENS UP, YOU GET SUBURBANIZATION, WHITE FLIGHT, AND THAT RIPS APART A LOT OF COMMUNITIES.

AT THE SAME TIME YOU HAVE PEOPLE REALIZING THERE IS SUCH A HINGE AT HOMO SEXUALITY, AND EVEN THE ARMY TELLING PEOPLE, IT'S BAD AND TOUGH POLICE YOURSELVES.

THE ARMY STARTS GIVING LECTURES WHERE THEY EXPLAIN TO PEOPLE WHAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS, HOW TO FIND IT IN OTHERS.

THEY TAUGHT PEOPLE TO FIND THINGS AND ACCEPT PRESS THEM.

ALL POST WORLD WAR II.

SO WHAT HAD BEEN DESTROYED IN ITS OWN TIME PERIOD GETS SUPPRESSED IN THE NEXT TIME PERIOD, AND NOW WE'RE IN THE THIRD MOMENT WHEN BROOKLYN IS QUEER AGAIN AND PEOPLE ARE INTEREST IN THE PULLING THE HISTORY OUT, AND DISCUSSING IT, THERE ARE SO MANY NOW.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

THERE'S SO MUCH WE CAN TALK ABOUT, BUT I WANT PEOPLE TO GO READ THIS.

IF SOMEONE SAYS TO YOU, HEY, I SAW YOU WROTE A NEW BOOK.

AND THE QUESTION IS, ESSENTIALLY, WHAT AM I GOING TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS?

WHAT WOULD YOUR ANSWER BE?

I THINK THE BIGGEST ANSWER WOULD BE THAT HISTORICALLY THROUGHOUT EVERY TIME PERIOD WE CAN LOOK AT, THROUGHOUT EVERY PLACE, THERE ARE PEOPLE WITH QUEER DESIRES, SEXUAL, GENDERED, AND THOSE PEOPLE FORM LIVES, AND THOSE LIVES MAY NOT LOOK A LOT LIKE OURS TODAY, AND THAT'S THE IMPORTANT PART.

WE HAVE TO LOOK WHAT THE THEY DID, HOW THEY EXPERIENCED AND TALKED ABOUT THEMSELVES.

I CAME TO THIS BOOK FROM A PLACE OF IGNORANCE.

I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS HISTORY, BUT IT WAS THERE.

AND I THINK FOR A LOT OF US, WE THINK, I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT A QUEER HISTORY WHERE I'M FROM, SO MAYBE IT DOESN'T EXIST.

I WANT TO TELL PEOPLE, GO OUT AND WORK IN YOUR COMMUNITY AND LOOK FOR THOSE STORIES YOURSELF.

I WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

THEY HAVE AN EXHIBIT UP BASED ON WHAT WE FOUND.

BUT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY DOES, TOO.

IT IS A WONDERFUL AND COMPELLING LOOK AT TIME AND PLACE -- I SHOULD SAY PLACE AND TIME OF THAT PLACE, AND I THINK IT'S JUST A FASCINATING JOURNEY YOU TAKE US ON.

THANKS SO MUCH AGAIN.

THE BOOK IS 'WHEN BROOKLYN WAS QUEER'. APPRECIATE YOU SPENDING TIME WITH US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

TAKE CARE.

YOU TOO.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

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