Before Homosexuals

World Premiere of “Before Homosexuals” at Wicked Queer in Boston

World Premiere, MFA Boston 4/8/17 2PM, Wicked Queer

Court sketch by Carol Ruzicka.

We are excited to announce the world premiere of “Before Homosexuals: The Prequel to Before Stonewall” will take place on April 8th, 2017, 2:00 PM at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as part of the 33rd Annual Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival.

Emmy Award-winner John Scagliotti guides us in a wondrous tour of erotic history, poetry and visual art in this point-of-view documentary on same-sex desire from ancient times to Victorian crimes. He explores how the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the growth of LGBT political power in the 1990s cleared the path for artists and scholars to re-discover pre-20th century same-sex desires. With dozens of experts he revels in lesbian love spells from ancient Rome, censored chapters of the Kamasutra, Native American two-spirit rituals and more. A prequel to “Before Stonewall” (which he produced with Greta Schiller and Robert Rosenberg), “Before Homosexuals” unearths the garden of human sexual delights and the endurance and creativity of “an army of lovers”.

Scagliotti was news director at WBCN Radio Boston in November 1975 and was arrested. He brings the Boston arrest full-circle when he begins the film on the Greek island of Astypalaia. Standing over same-sex graffiti from 2,500 years ago, he points out the naturalness of homosexuality among the ancient Greeks, in contrast to his arrest and conviction for “soliciting to commit an unnatural act” in Boston in 1975. Scagliotti fought that conviction all the way to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, where the ruling was overturned.

After being arrested and convicted for “soliciting unnatural and lascivious acts” in 1975, Scagliotti fought (with the help of the ACLU) and won to overturn the ruling at the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, 1977. Still from “Before Homosexuals: The Prequel to Before Stonewall”.

Representative Barney Frank at the time told Gay Community News that this is an important step forward for gays and lesbians. “This is binding,” he said, “In effect, it has amended the state’s laws against unnatural acts… Private consensual, homosexual sex is not convictable.”

Scagliotti will be presenting the film with a few people from both in front of the camera and behind the scenes for this special world premiere event. Tickets can be purchased starting at 10:00AM on March 23rd at the MFA Website or at the Wicked Queer WebsitePrice for tickets will be $11 or $9 for MFA members.

We hope to see you at the screening,

The “Before Homosexuals” Crew

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In 1983 John Scagliotti produced the first gay and lesbian history film for PBS called Before Stonewall. This now classic film went on to win two Emmy Awards and was relicensed two more times by PBS after its first national broadcast in 1986.  While Before Stonewall logically should have started in the ancient period, the filmmakers could only research as far as people were alive (around the 1920’s) due to intense homophobia in the fields of historical scholarship and archival preservation. Even the National Archives did not have a category called homosexuality.  However, due to immense changes during the 1990’s in the academic and archival fields resulting from pressure by gay and lesbian activists this material is now available; making scholarship and preservation possible on this mostly hidden subject matter of same-sex expressions before the 20th Century.  Before Homosexuals will be dedicated to historian Louis Crompton, who passed away a few months after his interview for this film.



John Scagliotti Director/Producer  In 1985 Scagliotti released Before Stonewall. After its national broadcast on PBS in December of 1986, the film went on to win two Emmy Awards as well as other honors including first place at FILMEX in Los Angeles. In 1991 Scagliotti created In the Life, the first television series on glbt life on Public Television. In 1997 Scagliotti began work on the sequel of Before Stonewall. After Stonewall chronicles the history of the lesbian and gay movement from the riots at Stonewall to the end of the 20th Century.


Betsy Kalin Producer/Co-Writer  In 2004, her feature length documentary, Hearts Cracked Open, premiered to great acclaim at the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and has gone on to win several awards.  Her film, Roof, premiered at New York City’s MoMA as part of New Directors/New Films and is a part of the Short Shorts compilation released by Picture This! Entertainment.  In 1997, Betsy formed Itchy Bee Productions and her experimental and documentary shorts have screened at festivals worldwide.  She also wrote and directed the lesbian biography series, LesBios, for web broadcast. She is currently producing and directing the feature-length, East L.A. Interchange and the short documentary, Chained!.

Olivia Tusinki Line Producer/Researcher  After spending two years working in Mali with the Peace Corps, she has lived in London since, completing a Masters in City Design from the London School of Economics.

Dave W. Hall Associate Producer/Web Designer The Operations Manager of the Kopkind/CID yearly seminar and retreat.

JoAnn Wypijewski Senior Researcher/Narration Writer  An independent writer and previous editor of The Nation magazine. She is the president of the board, program director and co-founder, of Kopkind, a summer residency and public education project for political journalists, activists and filmmakers.

Christopher Dawes Assistant  Director/Associate Producer  A multimedia producer at the New York Gay and Lesbian Center where he produced more than 30 mini-documentaries for the online newsmagazine and filmed over 17 live events.  He was also an Assistant Editor at In the Life TV.  His recent short film Long Nights Journey into Day was selected to be shown at CineSlam, Vermont’s Shorts Fest.