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How a once overlooked civil-rights leader became an icon of gay marriage equality

In the 1980s, the US activist Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) adopted his younger longtime partner Walter Naegle, a strategy that gay couples employed as the only means to share civil and legal protections at a time of state-sanctioned discrimination. It was not, however, the first time that Rustin was at the forefront of a social struggle. After studying Gandhian methods of nonviolent resistance during a trip to India in 1948, he helped to teach the principles to Martin Luther King Jr, and to organise the March on Washington in 1963. Despite being a leading organiser and strategist in the fight for racial equality from 1955 to 1968, Rustin was a somewhat unsung civil-rights hero during his life, largely because he was openly gay. As recounted by Naegle, Bayard & Me explores how Rustin’s legacy, which intersected with the two of the biggest civil-rights struggles in US history, was cemented posthumously by LGBT activists who recognised him as a pioneer in the fight for marriage equality.

Director: Matt Wolf

Producer: Brendan Doyle

Website: Super Deluxe

1 June 2017

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