Equal will follow the lives of many historic LGBT+ people played by some of the biggest queer actors according to HBO’s cast announcement.
The four-part docuseries is centred around several turning points in the fight for LGBT+ civil rights in the US and will include some never seen before archival footage.
Along with those historic clips, actors like Anthony Rapp, Jamie Clayton and Cheyenne Jackson will portray legendary figures in the LGBT+ community.
While certain more notable figures will, of course, make an appearance – such as Sylvia Rivera (played by Hailie Sahar) – the series will also include the stories of many people who’s contribution has been largely forgotten.
For example, Keiynan Lonsdale will play Bayard Rustin, who was a leader in the US in movements for civil rights, socialism and gay rights. Rustin was an advisor for Dr Martin Luther King, and one of the brains behind the March on Washington.
However, he was arrested in 1953, which lead to his sexuality often being weaponised against him and the wider social justice movement.
Other incredible figures followed in the series include Lucy Hicks Anderson (played by Alexandra Grey), one of the first documented black transgender people in the US. She was a socialite and an entrepreneur during the prohibition era, however a syphilis outbreak at the brothel she stayed in led to her outing.
Rent star Anthony Rap interprets Harry Hay, the founder of the Mattachine Society. The manifesto he wrote – The Call – demanded protection for gay people and the improvement of their rights.
24th October 2002: Harry Hay passes away, aged 90. Hay has been referred to as the "father of gay liberation". He was the founder of the Mattachine Society as well as the Radical Faeries. The Mattachine Society was the first gay rights group in the US. #OnThisDay #Queerstory pic.twitter.com/x5pf1X8kXi
— Gay Community News (@GCNmag) October 24, 2018
The star-studded cast of Equal isn’t just playing historical figures though – many will act as invented figures who took part in an actual historic event.
For example, Isis King will play Alexis, a composite character who took part in the Compton Cafeteria Riot of 1966. The riot is one of the first documented incidents of queer and trans people fighting back against the police abuse they suffered.
Meanwhile, Sara Gilbert will interpret J.M from Cleveland, a fictional character meant to stand-in for the many lesbians who had to stay in the closet during the 1950s out of fear of losing their friends, family and job.
The series is set to air in October on HBO Max for US LGBT+ History Month.
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.