Review: FX’s Pride

Alia Shawkat, playing Madeline Tress in FX's Pride

Pride, an ongoing documentary series on the FX network, which released the first four episodes this past Friday, tells the history of LGBT+ pride, the riots, the protests, the parades, and as well as a more general history of the LGBT+ community. The series features interviews of experts on LGBT+ history, like journalist and podcaster, Eric Marcus, theorist and author, Susan Stryker, and author and professor, Jules Gill Peterson, as well as people who have participated in the movement, like activist and regular at Compton’s Cafeteria, Felicia “Flames” Elizondo. There were also some historical scenes acted out by Alicia Shawkat, who played Madeline Tress, a lesbian employee of the U.S. government who was fired because of discrimination againist her sexuality.

I appreciated the intersectional approach taken on this series. I learned that Betty Friedan, author of the feminist book, “The Feminine Mystique” was disappointingly homophobic, because she feared that association between feminism and lesbians would damage the movement. I surprised that she actually coined the term “lavender menace” which I had heard before, but did not know the history of. It was also brought up that her feminist ideas at the time focused on getting women into the workplace, an issue that primarily concerned white middle to upper-class women, but excluded working class women of color who were already working in order to survive. “Pride” was also very imformative about the connections between the feminist, and civil rights movement to the LGBT+ rights movement.

There were also some names and faces that I had seen before, like in “No Way, They Were Gay? Queer History Project: Hidden Lives and Secret Loves” by Lee Wind which mentioned the figures, Bayard Rustin, a gay civil rights and anti-war activist, and Christine Jorgenson, a transgender nightclub performer, who also came up in “Pride.” However, “Pride” mentioned that Jorgenson’s white privilege and ability to perform traditional femininity did ultimately make her a more successful figure than her counterparts of color which I again appreciated. I would recommend watching “Pride” which is ongoing, with the first four episodes available on Hulu, and the final three airing this Friday, the 21st on FX and on Hulu on the 22nd.