Wisconsin Pride is a two-part special created by PBS Wisconsin and released in June 2023. After a preview showing in Madison and another in Milwaukee's landmark Oriental Theatre, it aired on PBS on June 20, 2023.
The film is described on the official PBS Wisconsin website as follows:
Wisconsin Pride invites us to witness our state's history through a new lens. This two-hour documentary brings hidden LGBTQ+ stories to the foreground and reconsiders the long narrative of Wisconsin in light of the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people in our state.
Premiering on PBS Wisconsin and available for streaming online in June 2023, the documentary is a groundbreaking collaboration between PBS Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Historical Society.
LGBTQ+ history is Wisconsin history. Learn about trailblazing Wisconsinites who- facing intolerance, cisgender heterosexism and transphobia- responded by forming community, chosen family, living authentically, and fighting for their rights. In a word: manifesting pride.
The film demonstrates how diversity in sexual orientation, gender identity and expression are a broadly shared part of the human experience. It tells stories of Indigenous two-spirit people prior to and after European settler colonization and Wisconsin statehood, and continues through the 19th and 20th centuries- exploring how forward-looking Wisconsinites challenged LGBTQ+ harassment and injustice in visionary ways, long before LGBTQ+ activism reached the national stage.
Wisconsin Pride features and celebrates R. Richard Wagner's work as a historian and author. Wagner, who passed away in 2021, was a beloved activist, gay rights leader, elected official and public servant who worked for the state of Wisconsin for 33 years. His two-volume history from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press — We've Been Here All Along: Early Gay History in Wisconsin and Coming Out, Moving Forward: Wisconsin’s Recent Gay History — provides guidance and inspiration for the program.
The special is broken into two parts on the website and within the film, described as follows:
Part One: Hidden Histories
Part Two: Struggles & Victories
The following is an index of references within the film.
Interviewees are described in the film as follows (alphabetical by last name):
Ashley Brown - Historian, UW-Madison
Funding for Wisconsin Pride was provided by Park Bank, SC Johnson, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of the Capital Times, TruStage, the New Harvest Foundation, the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation, inc, Paula Bonner and Ann Schaffer, the La Crosse Community Foundation, the MGE Foundation, Rogers Behavioral Health, David E. Bedri and Jon E. Sorenson, the Cream City Foundation, Tom DeChant and Paul Gibler, the Frautschi Family Foundation, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Michael Gerdes in memory of Henry S. Lufler, Jr., the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Eldon Murray Fund, Madison College, Mike and Sally Miley, the Roth-Wheeler Family, the Susan M. Schaffer and Joan M. Hinckley Fund, Mary Strickland and Marie Barroquillo, UnityPoint Health – Meriter, the U.S. Bank Foundation, UW Health, The Valentine Fund within the Cream City Foundation, Susan M. Zaeske, Karen Gerdes, in memory of R. Richard Wagner, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Pegi Christiansen Fund, Gary A. Brown and Paul M. Hayes, Julie Underwood, Michael Verveer, Jill Wheeler and Margaret Close, the Focus Fund for Wisconsin Programs, and Friends of PBS Wisconsin.
Explore a digital timeline of Wisconsin LGBTQ+ history spanning the early 19th century to the present. Many selections are adapted from, Timeline of Wisconsin LGBTQ History: A Sampling (2008), compiled and published by R. Richard Wagner and GSAFE.
Credits: All images and text as indicated are copyrighted by PBS WIsconsin;
Index of topics and approximate times created by Don Schwamb.
Web site concept, design and format by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: August-2023.
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.