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StoryCorps OutLoud: Chapter 1

Posted on Saturday, June 7th, 2014.

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On June 28th, our new initiative, StoryCorps OutLoud, will begin–amplifying the voices of LGBTQ communities across the country. Why OutLoud? Why now? To explain the significance of this new initiative we begin–as you might have guessed–with a story.

45 years ago, police raided a Manhattan gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. It wasn’t uncommon at that time for police to try to shut down gay-friendly establishments, but in this monumental instance, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back.

20 years later a young radio producer named Dave Isay (aka the future founder of StoryCorps), set out to collect stories from that time. Armed with a tape recorder, he collected interview upon interview with those who had witnessed the Riots first-hand. The stories would become the very first documentary to cover the riots: Remembering Stonewall.

As Dave puts it, “These conversations turned my world upside down, and gave me a feeling of deep connection to a culture I’d known nothing about.” Making the documentary also further connected him with his own father, the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Richard Isay, who came out to Dave when he was 22 and Richard was 52.

Dr. Richard Isay (L) and Dave Isay (R), 2005.

Dr. Richard Isay (L) and Dave Isay (R), 2005.

Richard Isay died suddenly two years ago–and it was at that moment Dave realized he needed to launch OutLoud. Dave says his father “was very interested in seeing this happen, and I wasn’t able to raise the money.” After his father died, “that was it,” he said. “I was going to find the money if it killed me.”

We need your help! StoryCorps OutLoud is a multi-year initiative dedicated to recording and preserving LGBTQ stories across America. OutLoud will honor the stories of those who lived before the 1969 Stonewall uprisings, celebrate the lives of LGBTQ youth, and amplify the voices of those most often excluded from the historical record. The end result will be a diverse collection of stories that will enrich our nation’s history.

Support OutLoud today!

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