A few weeks later there were peaceful protests against this police violence against queer people. That was more than two years before Stonewall, one of the first ever LGBTQ demonstrations. And yet hardly anyone around me seemed to know about this historic event. But I was hooked and L.A.’s queer history became my passion.

If only to create context and references for viewers who may be little or not at all familiar with queer history. And, speaking of universality, much of what happened in Los Angeles actually had ramifications for the rest of the country, if not the world.

It was here that the Mattachine Society was founded, which was the first time homosexuals in the US had organized to fight for their rights. It was here that America’s first gay magazine was published, and after Stonewall, it was also Los Angeles that hosted what is now known as the Pride Parade around the world for the first time.

But at the same time, it’s not like all queer people know everything we’re talking about here. I often have the feeling, especially with younger people in the LGBTQ community, that they are not particularly interested in what used to be. It’s not always as fun as an episode of Drag Race, of course.

And at the same time, I noticed at many of our festival screenings in the USA that the people who you would think know everything I’m about inside and out are particularly interested in the film. So older white gays and lesbians who have even witnessed a lot themselves.

Fortunately, many people are no longer directly affected by the issue in their lives, but that does not mean that people are not still dying of HIV and AIDS. Having the choice today to ignore all the struggles, concerns and fears of generations is a hard-won luxury that very few queer people have had in the past 100 years. Knowing our history and how we got to where we are today, I don’t find traumatizing, but an important lesson.