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Slow Burn Podcast Excavates Bay Area LGBTQ History with ‘Gays Against Briggs’

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Headquarters of San Franciscans Against Proposition 6, 2275 Market St. Prop. 6, known as the Briggs Initiative, would ban gays and lesbians from working in California public schools. (Stephanie Maze/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Forty six years ago, California held its first statewide vote on gay rights. Prop 6, also known as the Briggs Initiative, sought to ban gay teachers from the classroom. The battle to stop that proposition is the subject of Slate’s current “Slow Burn” podcast season, chronicling an explosive moment in both Bay Area and gay liberation history. It follows the political trajectory of Harvey Milk, as well as a wave of anti-gay backlash from conservative politicians across the country. We speak with Slow Burn host Christina Cauterucci and early gay rights advocates Cleve Jones, Gwenn Craig and Ruth Mahaney, about lasting lessons from the Briggs Initiative and those who opposed it.


Christina Cauterucci, host of Slate's "Slow Burn: Gays Against Briggs" podcast

Cleve Jones, author, "When We Rise," organizer with UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers' union. Also co-founder of the AIDS Foundation and founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt

Ruth Mahaney, former professor of gender and LGBTQ studies

Gwenn Craig, queer elder who has worked on several electoral candidate and issues campaigns in San Francisco, including the supervisorial campaign of Harvey Milk and San Franciscans Against Proposition 6


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