The Spark: The Origins of Pride (2019) - full transcript

It's a type of cancer.

Its characteristic: it only affects gay men

and in particular
those who take stimulants.

The LGBT cause
remains quite unknown.

It is linked to sexuality
and so it is considered as something dirty.

I breaks God's law.
Do not forget Sodom and Gomorrah.

It goes beyond sexuality.
It is first and foremost a love story.

The prohibition of homosexuality

resulted in a large social reprobation.

We're here to fight against this marriage
that will destroy families.

When you belong to a minority,
when you face discrimination,

sometimes humour is a weapon.

It seems rather easy to repress
some emerging feeling of homosexuality

and to restore the individual,
to make him or her normal.

Meeting is very hard,

There are few gay establishments
in Paris, in the seventies.

It's often outrageous.
You see clubs for queens.

Mid-sixties, you would find gay places
Rue Sainte-Anne.

But it was quite expensive.

There, you would rather see
chic people trying to hide.

Some kind of gay socialites.

It's not for us.
It is more bourgeois than gay.

Bourgeois before gay.

Gay people have always met
in public places.

Public toilets were meeting points.

We knew that we could meet
in those places.

But you had to locate them.

It was a way to meet
without anybody noticing.

Jacques Chirac, mayor of Paris,
had created an urban squad.

When parks were closed

in Les Tuileries, for instance,
there was a real invasion.

We were very athletic at the time.
We climbed barriers.

This squad's official mission was
to control identities and ensure public order.

On site, they beat gays up.
I know what I'm talking about.

It was rather like what was happening
in the united States and elsewhere.

We had police raids,
identity controls.

We were never at rest,
like some wild animals.

People wanted to beat us up
because we were different.

Arcadie was created in 1954
by André Baudry, a former seminarian.

It was a stern man who led the association
and the review with an iron fist

For us, it was from another century.

We were opposed
to that kind of homosexuality.

We wanted to make the revolution,
to change society.

The tenth of March 1971
is a landmark

for the LGBT movement,
the gay people in France.

There was a radio programme
called "Allô Ménie".

I'm Ménie Grégoire.
Welcome to the show.

The Salle Pleyel is crowed out.

The radio network RTL
was advertising this programme

whose subject this very week was:
homosexuality, a painful issue.

Young homosexual boys
said to me they were unhappy

to the point to attempt suicide.

they can't stand it.

À group of activists,
women and men,

went and disturbed the programme.

you cannot be indifferent
to this suffering.

There is no suffering.

Listen, something totally unexpected
has occured here.

People are invading the stage.

We are not suffering.
Freedom! Freedom!

Everybody stood up
and climbed on the stage.

This was fabulous.

- Gay people are on the stage.
- We want freedom!

It was a victory.
The show was interrupted.

The interruption of this show
hosted by Ménie Grégoire

was a landmark
for gay activists in France.

The movement became more modern.

To me, it is like the French Stonewall.

We went against the tide.

Oh poor gay people,
let's help them.

Poor young boys
who're not manly enough.

this very night,
these men and women

decided to create a group called
the Homosexual Front for Revolutionary Action.

We're here to be a kind
of internal contradiction.

Like others, we're born into
bourgeois and straight families

with their strict education.

Women are meant to procreate,

and men are meant to be
machos and inseminators.

The main figure of the FHAR
is Guy Hocquenghem,

a Parisian,
bourgeois and intellectual,

a far-left activist.

Most of men are not gay

because they fear to lose their superiority
with this type of sexuality.

Guy Hocquenghem
embodies a particular time.

That's the first time you read,
you listen to, you see someone

- he was handsome,
a kind of Adonis -

who talks,
who simply talks

as if tit were a simple topic.

To me, Guy has been one
of few gay men

to say that it is thanks to women
that gay men rebelled.

Gays with us!

Women played a major role
in the LGBT movement.

Lesbians had a decisive role
in the creation of the FHAR.

There's something common to feminism
and the fight against homophobia,

it's the struggle
against patriarchy.

And this is why gay men would have
the same status as women.

Through the insults, gay men
are seen as passive, feminine.

They were also seen negatively,
considered as passive and feminine.

That's how they adopted feminism.

Women do not have
the same economic status.

A lot of men participated
to the second meeting.

They would interrupt women.

We said stop right away.

We've had our share of misogyny.

We'll create our own group,
the Red Dykes.

You could see everywhere

people hitting on other people.

We made out anytime anywhere.

There was an ad for the subway.

Take the second car.
Subway was another car.


We had our own slogan:
Meet in the second carriage.

Gays were getting on
the second carriage.

That was a meeting point.

It was a total liberation.
We dared to make out.

Girls and boys.
It was a true melting pot.

It was a time of sexual liberation.

It was a time of real orgy.

lt was a democratic orgy.

End of the seventies,
in Le Marais, in Paris,

there's a radical change.

À few owners opened gay bars.

They wanted to do like everywhere.

End of the seventies,
beginning of the eighties,

this neighbourhood is,
I won't say notorious,

but it is rather dirty, bleak.
You don't go there.

Pioneers weren't necessarily activists.

They wanted to do differently,
to offer something different.

They had travelled. They knew
how it was in Amsterdam, New York.

They wanted to copy
what existed elsewhere.

The first gay bar "Le Village"
was created end of 1978.

It was opened all day.
Prices were like everywhere.

There were no curtains.
The door was opened.

People were also on the sidewalk.

It was highly symbolic.
We did not need to hide.

You could go in front of the bar,
walk past it.

You would see who was there,
see your friend. lt was open.

In 1978, Le Palace opened.

Everyone and no one could enter.
That was great.

There were people, often girls,
who decided who could go in.

I was with a friend.
We went in.

And there was Karl Lagerfeld.

But he didn't go in.
The girl said to me and my friend: go in.

And Karl went: what's happening?
I don't understand. I can't go in.

Not every night. Beat it!
That's what she said to Lagerfeld.

It was harsh to some celebrities,
to say the least.

Don't come with your grandma.
Don't come with your friends.

You have nothing else to wear.

You would see men, women,
youth, old people, celebrities.

Tramps, ministers, presidents, actors, etc.

You would see everything.

Watch, dance, drink, sing
and more if people get along.

And people got along in this place.

And on Sundays,
there was the gay tea dance.

À kind of tradition
with a gay touch.

That was fun!

Some of them could escape
to parental constraint.

to overwhelming bourgeoisie,

to unbearable Catholic principles.

That was a way
to meet people of your kind

and to discover disco music
piece by piece.

It was a lively music
from the United States, from New York.

It was the time of disco
With Jimmy Somerville.

All these fantastic hits.

A joyful music.

That's a wave of joy,
a wave of freedom.

You had pink satin trousers.
Yellow, green, every colour.

Taht was life, night-time
a colourful period.

That was part of an undefined gay culture.

That was even sometimes clandestine.

But the message to the world
was clear: Fuck off!

Last Night

The election of François Mitterand
brought some hope

event though there was
no real promises of changes.

On May, 10th 1981,
we were Place de la Bastille.

There was a banner of the CUARH,
which coordinated the gay movement.

We were there, euphoric.

We shouted:
we want a Ministry of Gayness.

We were hoping for change.

We saw it was possible.

Homosexuality will be decriminalised.

You must consider the context,
how French society was.

If you were condemned for homosexuality,
it appeared in your criminal record.

It was really awful.

Some of them can't accept it.
| knew one who committed suicide.

He was haunted by what his family
could think of him.

It may seem paradoxical.

But at this time,

the norm, the opinions

were based on homophobia.
That was something common.

The Keeper of the Seals,
the Minister of Justice may now speak.

This discrimination

and this repression

are contradictory to our principles

those of a free and great country.

The moment has come
for this assembly

to put an end to these discriminations

and all those
that still exist in our society

because that's unworthy of France.

I wouldn't change a word.
l wouldn't change anything.

l'm glad to have had the opportunity
to make this statement

and that it gave birth to a law,
to new rights.

We have to deem upon
the deep latent homophobia,

this subjacent movement,

because it did not disappear
with the promulgation of the law.

That's pretty unique
to see such a change.

There was some hope.

It's always the same thing.

In this world,
each manifestation of joy,

each manifestation of freedom,
of happiness

is swept away by something else.

In 1981, I worked
at Claude Bernard hospital

in the department
of infectious and tropical diseases

Besides tropical diseases,

I was in charge of patients
whose cases were enigmatic.

There was something particular with
these five patients described in the review.

They had no anterior cause
to explain their immune deficiency.

But they had something in common,
their sexual orientation.

They were all gay men.

I received the news in the morning.

And in the afternoon,
I welcomed a patient

who had been suffering
from pulmonary infection for several weeks.

There was no explanation.

He was holding the hand
of his companion.

He was openly displaying
his sexual preference.

And I immediately saw the link

between what I had read
in the morning

and the patient | had in front of me.

The Kaposi sarcoma.

That's the scientific term
of a type of cancer

already seen in Africa
and which strikes the Occident.

Its characteristic: it only affects gay men

and in particular
those who take stimulants.

You don't know how you catch it.
There is no test.

There is no particular signs.
There is no information.

- Will it affect your relationships?
- No, not at all.

No. If I am bound to catch it,
I'll catch it.

It's like any other disease.
Nothing's different.

It makes no difference.

People were refusing in a way
to be informed.

When we handed out flyers,

people were kind of violent.

Taht's what happened
with Aides first activists.

I'm trying not to lean too much

about the consequences
and what not.

Our world collapsed.

It was over.
Everything disappeared.

Nightlife was no longer attractive.

The disco ball
was not shining anymore.

It was bright, shining.
And it became dark.

Shame on you! It's the same
in France and in the United States.

You deserve it! You had it coming!
You decadent people!

The Church really played its part

and put the emphasis
on the causal link.

I had gay patients.

And I had to leave
Claude Bernard hospital.

The director of the hospital said

that if wanted to treat gay people
I had to go elsewhere.

Today, everybody say yes to condoms.

When doctors told us
we'd rather put condoms,

we went what?
That was my first reaction.

You're talking about condoms.
That's from another time.

Do they sell those things?

I didn't know what it was.

It's a thing you put on your cock.
That's all I knew.

I didn't know much more.

How does it work?
lt was almost laughable.

The person who was told
he or she was positive

expected to die within two years.

We went the first
to use a treatment

which proved to be ineffective,

It was called HPA-23.

Hundreds of Americans
came to France for this drug.

Some made the trip on Concorde
just for a consultation.

They paid 12,5 francs to the hospital.

This became a real issue.

Are you willing to shake hands
with a HIV-positive?

Here's our phone number 851 56 56

I remember that some of my friends
who were HIV-positive and died

also suffered mentally
because they were rejected by their families.

They were not supported
by their close family members.

People could honestly say

that an adult who was HIV-positive

could not touch a child.

People spread this idea.

End of the eighties,
begining of the nineties,

it's a world of terror.
Let's be frank.

People are worried,
people are powerless.

Everyone, not only gay people,
are sitting on a powder keg.

There is no real treatment.

People are sick.
It is a horrific sight.

The whole immune system is destroyed.
I've seen this. That's impressive.

l'd rather say it's terrifying.

Every two days, you were at the hospital
to say goodbye to someone.

That's what we lived.

And that wasn't a pleasant sight.

There were huge spots

all over the face,
on the back.

Death is never pleasent
but you can be prepared for it.

But this was sheer brutality.

When | celebrated my 21st birthday,

We were something like 25
at my house.


À few years later,
half of them, at least, had died.

My grandfather was marked by WW.
I was marked by AIDS.

| can imagine what people felt
after the war.

People say remember this guy,
he's dead.

He died at the front,
killed by a bullet.


But we went on with our lives.

We adopted safer sex.

We were trying to preserve our world,

to hold tightly to our way of life.

I remember one time,
after the funeral of a friend,

I eloped with the widower
to spend the night with him.


It's easy to talk about it today
but I was not reassured at the time.

We had a gun on the temple.

Having a shag anywhere at anytime
was no longer an option.

Those who kept this way of life died.

That makes infected people feel better.

They're not isolated,

They're told that he is
a huge Hollywood star.

This man embodies virility.

And they learn that he is gay,
that he is infected, that he's going to die.

It's a great feeling
even though they're going to die soon.


This group's objective
is in a way to fight fear.

The fear of getting sick.

The fear of being gay people

subjected to the State, to powers.

We feel very tiny
faced with pharmaceutical labs,

with medicine or medical research.

From the start, we displayed
a form of humour.

That's something that could be found
also in hospitals,

in waiting rooms.

There always was a drag queen
to laugh off the situation.

Right from the start,
we had the support of media.

Journalists loved Actu Up.

because we offered them
some performances.

They were invited on site
and could take pictures.

the condom on the obelisk

is the most iconic performance
organized by Act Up.

That was our best accomplishment.

That's our way to fight AIDS!

They wanted the condom
to stay there for one day.

They ripped it up.

You're more reactive to withdraw
a huge condom on the obelisk

than to install condom distributors
in high schools

or syringe distributors in towns.

There are more important things
than HIV-positive people.

No, | won't stop.
l's World AIDS Day.

Once more,
France totally messed up.

Your department is useless.

We went very far as activists
because we were afraid to die.

Let's fight AIDS!

It was an all-consuming activity.

Our lives were dedicated to this cause.

Act Up gets angry!

Mid-nineties, that's a turning point.

That's the beginning of triple therapy.
Doctors have much more control.

At the end of the nineties,
a new phrase was used:

find acceptance.

We had to accept that infected people
would not necessarily die.

I think that we've learnt much
from this tragedy,

that mankind got strenghtened
in the process.

Gay people were first considered
as normal patients

and then like normal individuals.

And because the disease was also
transmitted between heterosexuals,

there was a form of equality.

At that time, gay people
acted with dignity,

though they were deeply suffering.

And it struck the population,

And gay people were considered
differently by the whole society.

There was then
a form of sympathy.

Opponents to the PACS
led a large protestation.

Tens of thousand people

in the heart of the capital
this afternoon

to show their opposition
to the civil solidarity pact.

No fags!

Two men in a couple
cannot build a family.

That's not possible!

No one expected such a violence.
There was a kind of uproar.

A lot of things
were said or done.

We could not imagine
that such reactions were possible.

Many people were struck
by how violent the reactions were.

There were so many
shocking slogans and statements.

How can shuch insults
be uttered in public places?

The TV channel M6 broadcasted a show
during the debate on the PACS.

They asked me
if I was willing to participate.

The question was not for me
do I make my coming out or not

but can I refuse,

I'm destabilized.
I'm happy. I don't hide anything.

l'm serene. I'm about
to run for mayor of Paris.

Why will I choose to be exposed?

But homophobia at this time
is so violent.

that I would consider myself a coward
to avoid the debate.

So I decided to participate.

I chose to do it for those who do not live
in Paris, in big cities, in full light.

for those who are isolated,
for youngsters.

I knew suicide was an option
for young gay people.

When Delanoë had the courage
to make his coming out

I thought he was lost.
But I was wrong.

This building right before me

will be a home for Parisians

It was not an issue

because Parisians acted
in a very smart manner.

The fact that | was homosexual
was not a criteria.

They wanted to see what I was capable of,
if I was smart enough.

They tried to imagine what the result could be
if I was elected.

I'm delighted to have seen Parisians

acted like true democrats.

That's what I'm the most proud of.

The fact that l'm gay
did not matter.

In the streets, on markets,
on the subway, not a single time,

I was told that the fact l'm gay
was a problem or an asset.

They had their opinions.
But my situation did not matter.

That's what I was hoping for.

That's the mayor of Paris.

He had a major role to play.
It was a bit like...

That was great,

Same-sex marriage, that's a landmark.

And for the gay movements,
that's a betrayal.

You enter the city hall.
You promise to be faithful, etc.

All the values we were opposed to.

Men or women
who wish for same-sex mariage,

that's their choice
and it must be written in the law.

I'm totally supportive.
But that's not my thing.

All this struggle for such a result,
that's a big waste.

What's the point
to do as mum and daddy?

To live through the seventies
with revolutionary gay people

to obtain same-sex marriage
and maternity,

If I had knew,
if someone had told me,

would have stayed at home.

Your law, we don't want it!

Marriage is an institution
which guarantees the transmission of life.

The traditional form of family
is completely altered.

Gays do not have brains.

With the debate on same-sex marriage,
we were surprised once again.

We had seen the same reactions
with the PACS.

But naively, we thought
that the situation had evolved.

We thought that with the PACS

the question had been largely discussed.

First, second, third generations.

We're all children of straight people.

What struck me the most in the demonstrations
against the PACS and same-sex marriage,

it is the fact that the Church
supported them.

But they were facing people
who wanted to get married.

Some of them wanted
to get married at the church.

they should have given them their blessing.


After 136 hours and 46 minutes
of debate,

the National Assembly has adopted

the bill to legalize
same-sex marriage.

To the adolescents,
boys and girls, of this country

who have been hurt,
who have been lost these last days,

we want to say that they're unique
that they have a place in society.

Keep your heads high.
You don't have to blame yourselves.

We state this loud and clear
with a strong voice.

As Nietzsche said: Truth kills.
And if you repress it, it will kill you.

Thank you very much.

We have this need
to identify with someone else.

We have to find a model,
some references.

That's very important.

We're learning all the insults,
fag, dyke, tranny

before realizing
we belong to this movement.

That may sound stupid
but when | was young

homosexuality was a boys’ thing.

I had never seen
two girls kissing in a movie,

two girls kissing in the streets

or lesbians among celebrities,

There was a kind of pride,

beyond the pride of being gay,

of being clandestine,

You don't see nothing
but if you knew...

Do we still need community places?
Sure, we do.

Among people of your kind,
there's no need to be on your guard.

Lesbians are not bothered by men.

There's no problem to see
a man hitting on another.

We need this.
Straight people cannot really understand.

They don't realise it
because they live in a straight society.

Sometimes, I have to pinch myself.

Don't forget the guy
who was beaten up in Vierzon.

Don't forget the lesbian at the factory
who is taunted for her sexuality.

Of course, it happens.
We cannot deny it.

In some countries,
gays are facing death penalty.

I think that, here in France,
those who fight for gay people,

are quite indifferent,
make do with this situation.

Yes, we're opposed to this.

Alright, what are we doing?
Do we demonstrate?

Do we march in the streets?

We find it regrettable.
That's it.

Here, we've obtained everything
so let's not think of other countries.

This is some kind of indifference, really,
some kind of selfishness.

Freedom is also a privilege.

Wealth is not the only privilege.