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'On These Shoulders We Stand'

Stories from L.A.'s gay rights movement

L.A. gay rights protest at Silver Lake


L.A. gay rights activists protest at Silver Lake.

On These Shoulders We Stand tells the stories of 11 older members of the Los Angeles lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community from the 1950s into the early 1980s. According to the filmmakers, the documentary, showing at film festivals around the country, "brings to light Los Angeles’ significant, yet hidden, role in U.S. gay history by interweaving first-person accounts with narration and seldom-seen archival materials."

The producers want to spread the word that "not everything began with Stonewall."

The 11 participants in the film, directed by Glenne McElhinney, are:

  • Dr. Maria Dolores Diaz: Activist in the Chicano and Feminist Rights Movement.
  • Nancy Valverde: A barber who was arrested and jailed many times.
  • Kevin Thomas: Los Angeles Times writer and film critic.
  • Dr. Marsha Epstein: Founding physician at the Herself Feminist Women's Health Center.
  • Dale Reynolds: Hollywood actor, founder of Gay Actors Rap in Los Angeles.
  • Margo Strik: A graphic artist, active in Southern California Women for Understanding.
  • Miki Jackson: Friend of Morris Kight, early volunteer at the Gay Community Services Center.
  • Ivy Bottini: A founding member of the National Organization for Women.
  • Don Norman: Came out at a very early age in Los Angeles, Chemical Dependency Counselor.
  • Troy Perry: A Pentecostal Preacher, founded Metropolitan Community Church, in Los Angeles.
  • Mia Yamamoto: Attorney, Los Angeles Public Defenders Office.


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