LGBT

Look At This Lesbian PSA From 1938

The Hollywood Code in 1934 banned references to homosexuality in films, but sexual public service movies got around this by warning of the "evils" that such behavior produced. Watch out, Betty. That lesbian is getting mighty close!

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The Hollywood Code in 1934 banned any reference to a long list of subjects, including homosexuality.

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The enforcer of the code, Will Hays, stated that that no picture should ever "lower the moral standards of those who see it" and that "the sympathy of the audience shall never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin."

Watch the whole scene:

View this video on YouTube

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Will Hays' sudden retirement in 1945 was another blow to the faltering authority of the Production Code Administration. By 1956 the Production Code was revised and weakened, it approved such formerly controversial subjects as miscegenation, abortion, childbirth, and drug addiction. By 1959 any subject except homosexuality could be presented in PCA–approved films.

Sarah Karlan is the Deputy LGBT Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Sarah Karlan at sarah.karlan@buzzfeed.com.

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