Lost Documentary About Gay People Unearthed by Television Archive to Air

The Kinsey Scale Image via KQED

The Kinsey Scale Image via KQED

KQED, the public media organization serving Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive, part of the special collections department at San Francisco State University’s J. PaulLeonard Library, today announced the recovery of The Rejected, the first ever nationally-televised documentary about homosexuality. Produced by KQED and introduced by KQED’s then General Manager James Day, it debuted on September 11, 1961. 

A story about the film and its recovery will air this evening at 4:30pm PST on KQED Radio’s All Things Considered. An article about The Rejected and link to the complete film can be found at kqed.org/arts. The hour-long documentary was described at the time as “a frank and outspoken appraisal of homosexuality in modern society.” It includes interviews with anthropologist Dr. Margaret Mead, religious leaders, early gay rights activists and others.

Many film historians believed that the original film had been lost according to KQED archivist Robert Chehoski, who got in touch with the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive to see if they could make it available. “Over the years I’ve been contacted by several film and LGBT studies professors who were looking for this pioneering film.” said Chehoski. “We’re thrilled the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive not only found it but are making it available to the public in time for LGBT Pride Month.”

“In the 1960s KQED was tackling subjects related to racism, the arts, civil rights, Native Americans and gay people that few others would,” said Alex Cherian, film archivist at San Francisco State University. “We are sometimes frustrated by the speed of progress but when you look at a film like The Rejected from 1961, you see that things have really improved since then. On the flip side, you also see many of the same challenges persist.”

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