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Found and restored KQED documentary from 1961 addresses homosexuality for the first time

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In September 1961, KQED released a television program called “The Rejected,” that explored the “unpleasant” subject of homosexuality. Once thought to be lost, the show has been recovered and is available for viewing.

Almost an hour long, the black and white documentary comes with a warning before it begins from KQED General Manager James Day.

In his introduction Day warns that the subject matter is, “Controversial, delicate, and to some downright unpleasant.” He continues to say that the first step into the solution of a problem is to recognize that the problem exists.

The film is a rare insight into the emerging recognition of gay men in society and what the medical industry and public thought of it at the time. It appears to be the first public acknowledgment of a potential change in order.

Views are surprisingly supportive, addressing the extreme nature of the law and its punishment for homosexual acts. The film is less of an editorial against homosexuality as it is an amalgam of data and concepts of the time:

“Approximately fifteen million men in this country have or will have prolonged homosexual history,” the narrator states.

The topic of Constitutional rights for homosexuals even comes into question as the professional panel discusses whether changes to the document would ever be accepted to include homosexuals.

Although the video master is somewhat rough–many different tape stocks were used and the quality is often poor, but coherent. The documentary gives insight into the public’s thinking of homosexuality in the early 60’s, and begins dialog into recognizing them within society.

With commentary and realities from Anthropologist Dr. Margaret Mead, Dr. Karl Bowman (former President of the American Psychiatric Association) and several religious leaders, “The Rejected” is a history lesson as well as a benchmark to the beginning of the LGBT movement from both sides.

San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive has released the film to the public and it can be viewed below.

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