New Documentary Explores Lesbian Activist, Professor Emerita Sally Gearhart's Incredible, Multifaceted Life

Thursday, April 01, 2021
Sally Gearhart smiling and raising her right fist upward
Photo by Silvia Turchin

48 HILLS (SAN FRANCISCO) -- While renowned as a stirring feminist writer-speaker and separatism proponent — eventually establishing her own utopian space in the wilds near Willits, California — she was by no means a stranger to working side-by-side with gay men in the liberation movement, including Harvey Milk during his final years. As a professor at San Francisco State University, Gearhart helped develop one of the first women and gender studies programs in the United States. Those are just some of the accomplishments covered in “Sally,” which also showcases a fiercely independent yet infectious personality.

The question of why Gearhart has been generally passed over in the lore of the gay liberation struggle — beyond the narrative limitations and systemic sexism inherent in writing a Hollywood entertainment — ”is something that has no easy answers,” Craig said. “Obviously, Milk is just one of the many, many examples of the erasure of women, just like the erasure of people of color and and queer people. It’s essential that the narrative be corrected.”