Media by Queers, For Queer Youth

Copyright (c) by Dina Mazina and Rebecca DiBrienza, 2008. All rights reserved.

One of the first gay radio programs in the United States was called Friends. It began airing in 1960 on the campus station WGTB at Georgetown University. It became the longest running gay-oriented radio program in the country and hosted guests such as filmmaker John Waters and poet Allen Ginsberg. The DJs were playfully open about issues of sexual orientation, making such quips as “Just exactly what were Paul Simon and Julio doing down by the schoolyard?” The show aired on WGTB until 1976, when it was moved to Pacifica Radio, a group of stations founded by “an extraordinary group of pacifists and intellectuals.” It aired on Pacifica until 1982 and provided information about venereal diseases and community support groups, and contributed to the post-Stonewall gay liberation movement. WGTB station also debuted Sophie’s Parlor, one of the nation’s longest running lesbian-oriented radio programs. In 1976, it too moved to Pacifica’s D.C. area station after the new station management said that it “would no longer support the homosexual lifestyle.” [1]

The first queer-oriented television program, Electric City, began airing on San Francisco’s public access channel in 1984. Its mission was “to confront dramatic and controversial issues and to embrace events in the queer community.”[2] The idea for Queer TV started in Santa Cruz in 1991 as a collective volunteer effort. The programs produced were meant to “reflect the diversity within Santa Cruz.” Queer TV led to the emergence of Queer Youth TV, founded in 1997 by Tom Kwai Lam and Cece Pinheiro, among others, all of whom were actively involved in the production of Queer TV. Pinheiro secured funding from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. Queer Youth TV also served as a summer program for LGBT youth. The programming dealt with family issues, school safety, and peer acceptance, and included guest speakers such as Chastity Bono. [3]

“Some On-line Discoveries Give Gay Youths a Path to Themselves,” published in the New York Times on July 2, 1995, noted the rising prominence of LGBT teens using online resources for support, socialization, networking, and gathering information. Young gay organizers began to see the benefits of the internet’s anonymity, launching informative sites, including Out Proud and Youth Assistance Organization, to support queer youths coming out.[4] In 2002 The Advocate ran a story about Alex Hinton and Bret Berg, founders of, an educational resource that takes an “edgier, hipper approach,” offering short documentary films on a variety of subjects. Subjects included gay musicians and artists, gay history, and coming out. Hinton claimed that the prime objective of was “to demonstrate that sexual orientation isn’t just about sex…we’re more interested in having stories about empowerment and giving people a voice.” [5]


  1. Queer Airwaves, 29 REST OF REFERENCE?
  2. BOOK? p. 98
  3. BOOK?(105-7)
  4. Gabriel, Trip (1995, July 2). "Some on-line discoveries give gay youths a path to themselves". New York Times (Late Edition (East Coast)), p. 11. Retrieved November 29, 2007, from National Newspaper Abstracts (3) database. (Document ID: 6819116).
  5. Mikel Wadewitz (2002, June). "Tuning in to gay teens". The Advocate, (866), 26. Retrieved November 29, 2007, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 128815091) photograph of Alex Hinton and Bret Berg available.