January 27, 2009


NEW YORK—IN THE LIFE, the only three-time Emmy nominated public television series documenting the gay experience, celebrates Black History Month in its February show “Mobilizing Hope,” delving into discrimination and marriage equality with New York Governor David Paterson, HIV prevention in the ballroom, and life “on the down-low.”

In its lead-story, “Ballroom 2.0,” IN THE LIFE profiles New Jersey community activist Bernie McAlister and his "House of Jourdan,” part of the gay ball sub-culture that has expanded its social role to include AIDS education/outreach to queer youth. The 1990 documentary “Paris is Burning” revealed the vibrant and decadent ball culture of New York City. In Newark, the ball scene is thriving but with an emphasis on alternative families, safe-sex education, and positive role modeling -- providing direction and hope for LGBT minority youth.

In A CONVERSATION WITH… New York Governor David Paterson and Yale professor, gay activist and cultural historian George Chauncey reflect on the continuing struggle for gay civil rights as longtime vanguards, themselves, against bigotry and discrimination.


And in its REAL TO REEL series, IN THE LIFE profiles filmmaker Abigail Child and her film “On The Downlow.” Being gay, “out,” and sexually active is a social conundrum in the black community -- a taboo -- and incompatible with “masculinity.” When men have sex with other men, it must be hidden, covert, on the "down-low." In this film, Child takes a compassionate look at four men leading these double lives, offering a rare window into the allure and tension of this world.

"Mobilizing Hope" begins airing on American Public Television stations Febuary 1st, and will be available for free video streaming and downloadable podcasts from the IN THE LIFE website starting February 2nd. To find out when it will air in their local areas, to stream or download it, viewers should go to www.inthelifetv.org.