Oral history interview with Jean Ponton, 1953-

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Oral history interview with Jean Ponton, 1953-

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Jean Ponton worked as a volunteer for Gay Fairfax TV, an important LGBT television show.

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<a href="/items/browse?advanced%5B0%5D%5Belement_id%5D=47&advanced%5B0%5D%5Btype%5D=is+exactly&advanced%5B0%5D%5Bterms%5D=The+interview+belongs+to+the+Rainbow+History+Project.+The+RHP+release+form+was+used+and+all+rights+are+reserved.">The interview belongs to the Rainbow History Project. The RHP release form was used and all rights are reserved.</a>

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Jean Ponton (b.1953)
Gay Fairfax TV
Dr. Jean Poston is a historian for the Defense Department who worked as a volunteer for Gay Fairfax TV beginning in 1990 while she was coming out as a lesbian and through Gay Fairfax’s transition to another show called Gay Spectrum. Dr. Poston worked as a volunteer for gay and lesbian TV through 2000, when the last legacy program that spun off from Gay Fairfax ended. She usually operated a camera, but also did audio, lighting, and set design, as well as occasional floor directing and set directing.

Gay Fairfax is important as a very early gay and lesbian TV show. Gay Fairfax began in 1990 and the first show aired in 1991. The Fairfax Lesbian and Gay Citizens Association, which advocated for equality for lesbians and gays, sponsored the show. It was aired by Channel 10 TV, a public access station run by Cox. Gay Fairfax TV received good support from Channel 10 throughout its airing lifetime. Gay Fairfax TV was produced entirely by volunteers, including its executive producers, Barry Forbes and Rob Wilson.

Gay Fairfax TV was a public access cable television show in a “talking heads” format by and for the gay and lesbian community. The programming presented issues of importance to gays and lesbians throughout the country as well as local color. Its mission was to present positive images of gays and lesbians in a news and information magazine-format. It aimed to make a difference in the wider community, as well as for gays and lesbians.

Dr. Poston highlights how far gays and lesbians have come in our struggle for equality in the 25 years since Gay Fairfax’s first show. Topics covered on Gay Fairfax include gays in the military, commitment ceremonies (marriage was only a dream), gay adoption, and child custody. Organizations such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, SMYAL (Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League), DC Lambda Squares (square dancing), and the Gay and Lesbian Chorus also were showcased on Gay Fairfax TV. These issues and organizations were “upfront and personal” during Gay Fairfax’s lifetime.

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Interviewer

<a href="/items/browse?advanced%5B0%5D%5Belement_id%5D=2&advanced%5B0%5D%5Btype%5D=is+exactly&advanced%5B0%5D%5Bterms%5D=Elizabeth+Lyttle">Elizabeth Lyttle</a>

Interviewee

<a href="/items/browse?advanced%5B0%5D%5Belement_id%5D=3&advanced%5B0%5D%5Btype%5D=is+exactly&advanced%5B0%5D%5Bterms%5D=Jean+Ponton">Jean Ponton</a>

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Citation

“Oral history interview with Jean Ponton, 1953-,” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed August 13, 2020, https://archives.rainbowhistory.org/items/show/1621.

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