Release Date: Thu, Jun 1, 2023

PBS Wisconsin premieres all-new documentary, 'Wisconsin Pride' about hidden local LGBTQ+ history, celebrates with community screenings across state

Photo Credit: Madison LGBTQ+ Archive.

Photo Credit: Madison LGBTQ+ Archive.

Screening Kit (program description, logos and additional photos)


The all-new PBS Wisconsin documentary, Wisconsin Pride, brings hidden LGBTQ+ stories forward and reconsiders our state’s history in that light.

A groundbreaking collaboration between PBS Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Historical Society, the film reveals Wisconsin’s history in a more inclusive scope. Learn about trailblazing Wisconsinites who, when faced with intolerance, responded by creating community, living authentically, fighting for rights and having pride in themselves.

Wisconsin Pride is available for streaming anytime online and on the free PBS App on all streaming devices and will be broadcast 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 20 on PBS Wisconsin.

Wisconsin residents will also have several opportunities to come together to celebrate our LGBTQ+ history at community screenings across the state. PBS Wisconsin will host screenings of Wisconsin Pride in Milwaukee, Madison, Rhinelander, Mineral Point and La Crosse.

“This incredible documentary is about brave and brilliant Wisconsinites who made history,” said PBS Wisconsin associate director of community engagement Dulce Danel. “We’re so excited to bring people together for these events to celebrate our vibrant LGBTQ+ community and our state’s history.”

Visit for more information about upcoming community screenings of Wisconsin Pride.

Wisconsin has a long, but hidden, LGBTQ+ history. This emotional and revelatory two-hour documentary starts with Indigenous people prior to Wisconsin’s European colonization and continues through the 19th and 20th centuries. It also takes viewers through the 1970s and ‘80s, when LGBTQ+ leaders' fight for equality earned Wisconsin the nickname “The Gay Rights State.''

PBS Wisconsin producer Andy Soth hopes viewers take away a richer appreciation for our state’s history. “LGBTQ+ history, simply put, is Wisconsin history,” he said. “This is an authentically Wisconsin story. There are so many intersections with Wisconsin traditions and our LGBTQ+ citizens.”

Wisconsin Pride also features and celebrates R. Richard Wagner’s work as a historian and author. Wagner, who passed away in 2021, is featured in the documentary, and his two-volume history from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press — “We’ve Been Here All Along: Early Gay History in Wisconsin” and “Coming Out, Moving Forward: Wisconsin’s Recent Gay History” — provided guidance and inspiration for the program. Wagner was an activist, historian, gay rights leader, elected official and public servant who worked for the state of Wisconsin for 33 years.

Funding for Wisconsin Pride is provided by Park Bank, SC Johnson, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of the Capital Times, TruStage, the New Harvest Foundation, the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation, inc, Paula Bonner and Ann Schaffer, the La Crosse Community Foundation, the MGE Foundation, Rogers Behavioral Health, David E. Bedri and Jon E. Sorenson, the Cream City Foundation, Tom DeChant and Paul Gibler, the Frautschi Family Foundation, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Michael Gerdes in memory of Henry S. Lufler, Jr., the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Eldon Murray Fund, Madison College, Mike and Sally Miley, the Roth-Wheeler Family, the Susan M. Schaffer and Joan M. Hinckley Fund, Mary Strickland and Marie Barroquillo, UnityPoint Health - Meriter, the U.S. Bank Foundation, UW Health, The Valentine Fund within the Cream City Foundation, Susan M. Zaeske, Karen Gerdes, in memory of R. Richard Wagner, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Pegi Christiansen Fund, Gary A. Brown and Paul M. Hayes, Julie Underwood, Michael Verveer, Jill Wheeler and Margaret Close, the Focus Fund for Wisconsin Programs, and Friends of PBS Wisconsin.

PBS Wisconsin is a service of the Educational Communications Board and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

PBS Wisconsin is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA-TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.


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Tara Lovdahl

Tara Lovdahl


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