Political activist Harry Hay started America's first successful gay rights organization, the Mattachine Society, in the midst of America's most conservative era, as Joseph McCarthy rabidly interrogated suspected Communists and deviants. Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay, winner of the Golden Gate Award for Best Bay Area Documentary at the 2002 San Francisco International Film Festival, tells the powerful story of Hay's work, which laid the foundation for the modern U.S. lesbian and gay rights movement. Hay, currently a resident of San Francisco, celebrated his 90th birthday on April 7, 2002.
The film traces Hay's roots in the Communist Party and the Labor Movement, where he learned the organizing skills he needed to bring together "America's most hated minority." In 1948, while working on the Henry Wallace presidential campaign, Hay wrote a startling document, declaring homosexuals an oppressed minority. While the idea is widely accepted today, at the time the notion of homosexuals as a minority was considered absurd. But it was this key concept that would eventually bring the movement together.
Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay reveals Hay's challenging and controversial views that continue to place this 90-year-old activist at the center of political debate. In the end, the film is an inspiring chronicle of an activist who refused to quit, and as a result, founded one of the most dynamic movements in modern American history.