Alongside the ‘great men’ theory of history, we also have a tendency to think in ‘great events’, and that the things that have changed society fell out of the sky fully formed. That’s certainly been true of gay rights, where you could be forgiven for thinking no one had considered there should be more equality until Stonewall in 1969, or that the whirlwind of gay marriage in the US was a couple of overtures (the legalisation in Massachusetts in 2004, and Prop. 8 in California) before the Supreme Court decision in 2015. However, there was a lot more to it than that, laying the political groundwork for what was to come.
Political Animals is a look at the first four openly gay people to be elected to the California state legislature, all of them women (although there were previous gay elected officials in California – not least Harvey Milk – they’d operated on a more local level, rather than state-wide). However, as well as looking at the women themselves, the film is keen to show the work they did promoting gay rights in California, particularly in terms of legislation that helped pave the way for gay marriage. [Read more…]