A 50-year milestone for the LGBT community - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

A 50-year milestone for the LGBT community

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Fifty years ago, CBS News aired a documentary that took on a taboo topic-- homosexuality. The hourlong special made history, marking the first time a television network showed a program about same-sex relationships.

The title was bold and blunt: "The Homosexuals." The subject matter was far more sensitive.

"A CBS News Survey shows two out of three Americans look upon homosexuals with disgust, discomfort or fear," the documentary said.

CBS News anchor Mike Wallace hosted the documentary in 1967. It was the first network investigation of the medical, legal and social challenges facing gay men.

"I know that inside now I'm sick," one person said in the documentary.

Since then, the gay community led the global fight against AIDS, paved a path to acceptance through popular culture and, in 2015, saw the legalization of same-sex marriage.

"We can do anything that our straight counterparts can do," said Glennda Testone, the executive director of New York's LGBT Community Center.

But Testone is concerned.

"You've got a president who approves of repealing guidance that actually protects transgender students. So I think we really need to pay attention to the actions," Testone said.

Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear a case about whether a transgender high school student could use the bathroom that matched his gender identity.

"It is not normal or natural for anyone to believe they are the opposite of their biological sex," said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.

Sprigg considers homosexuality to be abnormal and says most people are too afraid to say that.

"There are a number of areas where the LGBT movement poses a threat to freedom of thought, speech and religion, and that's where I hope the Trump administration takes steps to protect against that," Sprigg said.

Sprigg and Testone both find "The Homosexuals" relevant today. Sprigg says it's a confirmation of his belief that homosexuality is wrong, while Testone calls it a cautionary tale about how bias can be blinding.

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