Political Animals
Political Animals
Political Animals
Item#: POL-1118
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Running Time: 86 minutes
+ 53 MInutes
Grades 9- Adult
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned
A Film by Tracy Wares and Jonah Markowitz


“The political has rarely seemed more personal than in (this) portrait of four lesbian politicians who were fighting for their LGBT constituents long before the marriage-equality debate came to the fore. The movie leaves you admiring its subjects for their resilience and, no less importantly, their rhetorical force.”
– Los Angeles Times

"A vibrant tribute to four lesbian political activists. There are several eye-opening revelations contained in the film. The first is the reminder of how long it took for LGBT rights to be legally validated. It also is surprising to realize that the legislative pioneers were women rather than men.”
– The Hollywood Reporter

“Engrossing... charts the long hard climb by California’s first four ‘out' state politicians, all lesbians, to pass a series of bills gradually raising LGBT rights to the levels of non-gay average citizens. It may appear to many American that same-sex marriage and other gay rights issues ‘suddenly' became a matter of ubiquitous public debate and legal reality. But the groundwork for such progress ... was laid by years, even decades of grunt work by on-the-ground activists and legislators gradually chipping away at resistance.”
– Variety

Political Animals is an inspiring portrait of four defiant women who refused to let hatred and homophobia stop them from making history and achieving legal recognition for LGBT people throughout California and the United States.”
– Jenn Wilson, LA Film Festival

“An important historical contextualization of the groundbreaking legislative work done in the 1990s by four women -- work that paved the way for the LGBT rights that the country enjoys today.”
– MovieMaker Magazine


• Audience Award, Best Documentary, LA Film Festival
• Jury Award, Best Documentary, LA Film Festival
• Audience Award, Documentary Competition, Provincetown International Film Festival


• Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival
• Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival
• Denver Film Society
• qFLIX Philadelphia




Prices include DVD and limited Public Performance Rights
• K-12 Schools, Public Libraries & Community Groups: $89
• Colleges, Government, Business: $295
• Colleges, Government (with DSL): $395

Political Animals chronicles the ground-breaking LGBT civil rights victories of the first four openly gay elected California state legislators -- all women -- who took the fight for equality from the streets and into the halls of government.

Documenting the tough struggles they endured, the film highlights their pioneering success and hard-fought political victories that helped pave the way for significant change at the national level, including marriage equality.

Before Sheila Kuehl's run for office, no out gay person had even won a primary in a state-wide election in California. A former child TV star who later became a Harvard-trained lawyer, Kuehl made history as the first openly gay member of the state legislature. Jackie Goldberg was a leader in the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley before she became a teacher and the first openly lesbian member of the LA City Council. Carole Migden was a feminist activist who worked with Harvey Milk, and after his assassination was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Raised Irish-Catholic, Christine Kehoe cut her political teeth opposing a statewide ballot initiative that would have quarantined people with HIV.

As the films shows, once in office, these articulate and determined women became true political animals, working tirelessly over many years to overcome entrenched opposition and pass historic legislation for LGBT equality. Bills they authored and fought for included the first domestic partnership registry enacted by a state legislature, the first anti-bullying bill protecting gay students, and others. The film features excerpts from some of the lengthy, heated debates over their proposed legislation, including the insults they endured.

More than a film profiling pioneering legislators for LGBT rights, the film illustrates the critical importance of committed individuals taking the campaign for any social cause into local, state and national legislatures in order to fight for and enact laws that will insure real, lasting change.