Writer-filmmaker and fierce LGBTQ ally Joe Gantz talks about his new book “A Secret I Can’t Tell” available on Carpenter Hill Publishing with Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™. Originally published in 1983 the nonfiction book was the only record of American gay and lesbian headed household family life during the heyday of the homophobic Moral Majority. In republishing the book Gantz revisits the families 40 years later with new interviews and a new unparalleled look at how far we’ve come and underscores how close we are to returning to a dark past. In Florida in 1977 a county ordinance was passed which banned discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based on sexual orientation. After Anita Bryant’s successful “Save Our Children” campaign which demonized gays and lesbians the law was overturned and it launched a wave of repeals of civil rights for gays and lesbians in other states. Though in 2020 the United States Supreme Court finally ruled that 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination based on sex our LGBTQ community is still dealing with over 300 discriminatory bills this year alone including Florida’s recent “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” law that has made 2022 the worst year ever for legislative attacks on LGBTQ people. The updated 2022 version contains fascinating new interviews with some of the children who are now adults in their 50s with children of their own. The new foreword written by Scott Gatz founder and CEO of Q.Digital tracks the effects of keeping their parents’ relationships a secret in a time when it was dangerous to be out particularly as a gay or lesbian parent who could lose custody of their kids. The book shows that parents also struggled coming out to their children without any community or legal support or even representation in the media at that time. The secrecy these families had to maintain forced the kids into a kind of a closet along with their parents and the effects lasting for decades. We talked to Joe about his inspiration for republishing “A Secret I Can’t Tell” and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.
Joe Gantz is an Emmy-winning writer and documentary filmmaker known for examining personal stories with honesty, humor and depth. He is the producer of Taxicab Confessions which was on HBO for 16 years as well as many feature length documentaries including American Winter, Ending Disease and The Race to Save the World.