Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black created and wrote the miniseries.
Based on the book, When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by Cleve Jones, it is the story of a group of individuals who became closely connected in the birth of the gay rights movement. It tells the story of the movement through the stories of a handful of real people.
The four-part drama follows the struggle for LGBTQ rights from the early 1970s to the present.
Last year Black heard that the US network ABC was actively searching for LGBT themed projects. “I didn’t believe it so I went in to take the meeting and discovered to my surprise that it was true.
“My family’s from Texas and Arkansas and Louisiana, conservative, religious, military, I love my family and in the south you watch ABC because you trust ABC and because ABC tells the family stories,” Black tells Fairfax Media.
“And, I thought, this is maybe the only opportunity to introduce my LGBT family to my southern family in a way that we can trust each other and speak the same language, the language of family,” he says.
Cleve Jones hopes the miniseries will serve as inspiration to many activists who have emerged in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has pledged to uphold Barack Obama’s executive order protecting LGBT federal employees from discrimination. However, Trump has revoked Obama’s order instructing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms not aligned with their biological sex.
One of the more moving moments in the series – and in history – is Cleve’s AIDS Memorial Quilt, the ever-growing collection of panels dedicated to those taken by the plague. It also does well to explore a host of issues that dwell in the spaces created by the intersections of sexuality, race, gender identity, and economics.
When We Rise stars Guy Pearce, Mary Louise Parker and Whoopi Goldberg with Pearce remaining a compelling figure throughout.