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    HOW WE GOT GAY tells the incredible story of how gay men and women went from being the ultimate outsiders to occupying the halls of power, with a profound influence on our cultural, political and social lives. After the battles over civil rights for African Americans, and equal rights for women, the battle over gay rights is the first great fight for freedom in the 21st century. It is succeeding beyond anyone’s wildest imagination, with the speed and breadth of the victory stunning its detractors and supporters alike.

    What drove the gay community to finally demand power was a disease that was decimating its ranks: AIDS. HOW WE GOT GAY tells the powerful story of the struggle for gay rights, from the 40’s and 50’s to the present day. It takes us inside the secret lives gay people were forced to live, at a time when homosexuality was illegal in every province in Canada and every state in America and police harassment was a fact of life. Using a rich mix of never before seen archival images and footage and candid interviews with activists and personalities including author Edmund White, and Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, the documentary explores what life was like for gay people at a time when homosexuality was seen as a mental illness, and to be openly gay was to live in utter exile from society.

    With the social and sexual revolution of the 1960s, gays enjoyed a new found freedom. They also started to fight back. In 1969, the ‘Gay Revolution’ was unleashed with the Stonewall Riots, as an angry mob of gay people rose up against a routine police raid on a Greenwich Village bar. The film tells the devastating story of AIDS and its dramatic effect on the gay rights movement.

    What started as a barely noticed outbreak of a rare form of cancer in a small number of homosexual men in 1981 spread to become one of the deadliest pandemics in modern history. When AIDS is treated with indifference and hostility by society, the lack of response gives rise to a new kind of anger and a new kind of gay rights organization: the activist group ACT-UP.

    Through an extensive interview with AIDS activist Peter Staley, HOW WE GOT GAY shows how the movement for gay equality becomes consumed with the AIDS crisis, and how the gay community finally got the world’s attention. In the crucible of AIDS, the modern gay rights movement is born. By the year 2000, almost 500,000 people in North America have died of AIDS, but gay activists have also pushed for a drug regimen that has transformed AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic disease.