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Lance Loud January 1973: the PBS documentary series An American Family introduces viewers to their first unashamed gay person. Filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond recall television's first queer youth. (Rebels & Pioneers).

Susan Raymond: The first time we met Lance we turned on the cameras, walked into the door of his room at the Chelsea Hotel, and just started shooting. Didn't even say hello.

Alan Raymond: We were told by [producing station] WNET that he was "a little different." His roommate seemed like he was part of a couple. It was eminently clear early on. The coded word was flamboyant.

SR: Flamboyant was in every press release. It was definitely overblown by the PBS publicists.

AR: The typical view is that [his mother] Pat only then realized he was gay. That's not true. He came out to his family at 16.

SR: He didn't come out to his family in episode number 2 at 19. He came out to America. Pat Loud wasn't shocked. America was shocked.

AR: It triggered an avalanche of homophobic press. [Terms such as] "evil flower" and "emotional dwarf' were applied to Lance.

SR: I didn't realize what a bashing he was going to take.

AR: It cast a shadow over his whole life. Clearly, no one had put a real live gay person on TV before. Before Lance there wasn't an accessible gay character. I don't think we realized [the impact it would have].

SR: Will & Grace, The Real World can be traced directly back to Lance.

AR: What you see on TV is the real him. He proved to be one of the most interesting members of the family. The important thing was that he was living within the context of an American family that accepted him as gay.

SR: He was a free spirit seeking to live his life on his terms.

AR: He touched a lot of young people. He was a cultural lightning rod.

SR: By the `80s we couldn't even explain to kids what the controversy was about.

AR: I wish he'd been more appreciated in his lifetime.

AR: We all love Lance and miss him.

The Raymonds' Lance Loud! A Death in an American Family, an ITVS documentary, will appear on PBS in early January.
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Article Details
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Author:Raymond, Susan
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:Nov 12, 2002
Words:344
Previous Article:2 for Wisconsin February 1982 & November 1998: the first state to pass a gay rights law later goes on to send the first out lesbian to congress:...
Next Article:Elaine Noble November 1974: a progressive Massachusetts candidate becomes the first openly gay person elected to state office. (Rebels & Pioneers).


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