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‘Outstanding’ doc brings overdue spotlight to lesbian activist Robin Tyler

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In the new Netflix documentary “Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution” – now streaming on the Netflix platform – filmmaker Page Hurwitz takes viewers behind the scenes of a landmark 2022 performance featuring an all-star lineup of queer stand-up comedians.

She also reveals the powerful queer activism that has been pushing mainstream boundaries over the past five decades and beyond through a collection of out-and-proud comics that reads like a “who’s who” of queer comedy icons.

In doing so, its spotlight inevitably lands on Robin Tyler, who – after becoming the first lesbian comic to come out on national television and co-starring in a network series with her partner, Pat Harrison – incurred the wrath of sponsors (after an on-air remark aimed at notorious anti-LGBTQ mouthpiece Anita Bryant) and wound up unceremoniously dropped by the network.

Tyler persisted, and her passion led her to activism, where her contributions are likely well known to many Blade readers. She organized and produced the first three national marches on Washington for LGBTQ rights, including 1987’s “mock wedding” of hundreds of queer couples; she and her future wife (the late Diane Olsen) were the first couple to sue the state of California for the right to be married — leading to the seven-year legal battle that culminated in marriage equality.

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