217 episodes

In 1978, state Sen. John Briggs put a bold proposition on the California ballot. If it passed, the Briggs Initiative would ban gays and lesbians from working in public schools—and fuel a growing backlash against LGBTQ+ people in all corners of American life. In the ninth season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Christina Cauterucci explores one of the most consequential civil rights battles in American history: the first-ever statewide vote on gay rights. With that fight looming, young gay activists formed a sprawling, infighting, joyous opposition; confronted the smear that they were indoctrinating kids; and came out en masse to show Briggs—and their own communities—who they really were. And when an unthinkable act of violence shocked them all, they showed the world what gay power looked like.

Want more Slow Burn? Join Slate Plus to immediately access all past seasons and episodes of Slow Burn (and your other favorite Slate podcasts) completely ad-free. Plus, you’ll unlock subscriber-exclusive bonus episodes that bring you behind-the-scenes on the making of the show. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Subscribe” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/slowburnplus to get access wherever you listen.

Season 8: Becoming Justice Thomas
Where Clarence Thomas came from, how he rose to power, and how he’s brought the rest of us along with him, whether we like it or not. Winner of the Podcast of the Year at the 2024 Ambies Awards.

Season 7: Roe v. Wade
The women who fought for legal abortion, the activists who pushed back, and the justices who thought they could solve the issue for good. Winner of Apple Podcasts Show of the Year in 2022.

Season 6: The L.A. Riots
How decades of police brutality, a broken justice system, and a video tape set off six days of unrest in Los Angeles.

Season 5: The Road to the Iraq War
Eighteen months after 9/11, the United States invaded a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Who’s to blame? And was there any way to stop it?

Season 4: David Duke
America’s most famous white supremacist came within a runoff of controlling Louisiana. How did David Duke rise to power? And what did it take to stop him?

Season 3: Biggie and Tupac
How is it that two of the most famous performers in the world were murdered within a year of each other—and their killings were never solved?

Season 2: The Clinton Impeachment
A reexamination of the scandals that nearly destroyed the 42nd president and forever changed the life of a former White House intern.

Season 1: Watergate
What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down President Nixon?

Slow Burn Slate Podcasts

    • History
    • 4.6 • 23.6K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

In 1978, state Sen. John Briggs put a bold proposition on the California ballot. If it passed, the Briggs Initiative would ban gays and lesbians from working in public schools—and fuel a growing backlash against LGBTQ+ people in all corners of American life. In the ninth season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Christina Cauterucci explores one of the most consequential civil rights battles in American history: the first-ever statewide vote on gay rights. With that fight looming, young gay activists formed a sprawling, infighting, joyous opposition; confronted the smear that they were indoctrinating kids; and came out en masse to show Briggs—and their own communities—who they really were. And when an unthinkable act of violence shocked them all, they showed the world what gay power looked like.

Want more Slow Burn? Join Slate Plus to immediately access all past seasons and episodes of Slow Burn (and your other favorite Slate podcasts) completely ad-free. Plus, you’ll unlock subscriber-exclusive bonus episodes that bring you behind-the-scenes on the making of the show. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Subscribe” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/slowburnplus to get access wherever you listen.

Season 8: Becoming Justice Thomas
Where Clarence Thomas came from, how he rose to power, and how he’s brought the rest of us along with him, whether we like it or not. Winner of the Podcast of the Year at the 2024 Ambies Awards.

Season 7: Roe v. Wade
The women who fought for legal abortion, the activists who pushed back, and the justices who thought they could solve the issue for good. Winner of Apple Podcasts Show of the Year in 2022.

Season 6: The L.A. Riots
How decades of police brutality, a broken justice system, and a video tape set off six days of unrest in Los Angeles.

Season 5: The Road to the Iraq War
Eighteen months after 9/11, the United States invaded a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Who’s to blame? And was there any way to stop it?

Season 4: David Duke
America’s most famous white supremacist came within a runoff of controlling Louisiana. How did David Duke rise to power? And what did it take to stop him?

Season 3: Biggie and Tupac
How is it that two of the most famous performers in the world were murdered within a year of each other—and their killings were never solved?

Season 2: The Clinton Impeachment
A reexamination of the scandals that nearly destroyed the 42nd president and forever changed the life of a former White House intern.

Season 1: Watergate
What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down President Nixon?

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Gays Against Briggs | 1. A Hotbed of Homosexuality

    Gays Against Briggs | 1. A Hotbed of Homosexuality

    In the 1970s, San Francisco became a welcoming home for tens of thousands of new gay residents—and a modern-day Sodom for the American right. With a moral panic sweeping across the United States, a Florida orange juice spokeswoman inspired an ambitious California politician to launch his own campaign against lesbians and gays—one that would change the course of U.S. history. 

    (If you—or anyone you know—are in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, anytime: Dial 988 or visit 988lifeline.org.)

    Season 9 of Slow Burn was written and produced by Christina Cauterucci. Slow Burn is produced by Sophie Summergrad, Kelly Jones, and Joel Meyer. 

    Josh Levin is the editorial director of Slow Burn.

    Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.

    Susan Matthews is Slate’s executive editor.

    Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We had engineering help from Patrick Fort and Madeline Ducharme.

    Our theme music is composed by Alexis Cuadrado. Artwork by Ivylise Simones, based on an image of Silvana Nova and a poster designed by Larry Hermsen and the Too Much Graphics Collective.

    Join host Christina Cauterucci and special guests as they record a special, live episode of Slow Burn at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 13.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 50 min
    Gays Against Briggs | 2. Defend Our Children

    Gays Against Briggs | 2. Defend Our Children

    In 1977, John Briggs was a small-time state senator with big dreams. But Briggs’ plan to ban gay and lesbian teachers from California schools changed the arc of his life and career. Suddenly, he was a right-wing hero, and a villain of the gay rights movement. And his message seemed to be catching on all over the country.

    Season 9 of Slow Burn was written and produced by Christina Cauterucci. Slow Burn is produced by Kelly Jones, Joel Meyer, and Sophie Summergrad. 

    Josh Levin is the editorial director of Slow Burn.

    Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.

    Susan Matthews is Slate’s executive editor.

    Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We had engineering help from Patrick Fort and Madeline Ducharme.

    Our theme music is composed by Alexis Cuadrado. Artwork by Ivylise Simones, based on an image of Silvana Nova and a poster designed by Larry Hermsen and the Too Much Graphics Collective.

    Join host Christina Cauterucci and special guests as they record a special, live episode of Slow Burn at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 13.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 53 min
    Gays Against Briggs | 3. Harvey Milk vs. the Machine

    Gays Against Briggs | 3. Harvey Milk vs. the Machine

    After decades of wandering and job-hopping, Harvey Milk found his purpose as a gay community leader with growing political ambitions. But his historic election was just the beginning. As John Briggs’ gay teacher ban gained momentum, it was up to Supervisor Milk and his allies to figure out how to stop him. 

    Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock all episodes of Slow Burn: Gays Against Briggs. Your subscription also gets you ad-free access to all your favorite Slate podcasts, plus other member exclusive content. Join now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Subscribe” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/slowburnplus to get access wherever you listen.
    Season 9 of Slow Burn was written and produced by Christina Cauterucci. Slow Burn is produced by Joel Meyer, Sophie Summergrad, and Kelly Jones.

    Josh Levin is the editorial director of Slow Burn.

    Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.

    Susan Matthews is Slate’s executive editor.

    Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We had engineering help from Patrick Fort and Madeline Ducharme.

    Our theme music is composed by Alexis Cuadrado. Artwork by Ivylise Simones, based on an image of Silvana Nova and a poster designed by Larry Hermsen and the Too Much Graphics Collective. 

    Join host Christina Cauterucci and special guests as they record a special, live episode of Slow Burn at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 13.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 57 min
    Gays Against Briggs | 4. You Must Come Out

    Gays Against Briggs | 4. You Must Come Out

    In the early days of the anti-Briggs campaign, a Richard Pryor comedy set turned into a public fiasco and laid bare longstanding divisions in the gay community. With the movement low on cash and running out of time, thousands of gay Californians decided their only option was to tell the world who they really were. 

    (If you—or anyone you know—are in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, anytime: Dial 988 or visit 988lifeline.org.)

    Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock all episodes of Slow Burn: Gays Against Briggs. Your subscription also gets you ad-free access to all your favorite Slate podcasts, plus other member exclusive content. Join now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Subscribe” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/slowburnplus to get access wherever you listen.

    Season 9 of Slow Burn was written and produced by Christina Cauterucci. Slow Burn is produced by Kelly Jones, Joel Meyer, and Sophie Summergrad. 

    Josh Levin is the editorial director of Slow Burn.

    Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.

    Susan Matthews is Slate’s executive editor.

    Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We had engineering help from Patrick Fort and Madeline Ducharme.

    Our theme music is composed by Alexis Cuadrado. Artwork by Ivylise Simones, based on an image of Silvana Nova and a poster designed by Larry Hermsen and the Too Much Graphics Collective. 

    Join host Christina Cauterucci and special guests as they record a special, live episode of Slow Burn at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 13.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 57 min
    Gays Against Briggs | 5. Strange Bedfellows

    Gays Against Briggs | 5. Strange Bedfellows

    As Election Day approached, the campaign to defeat Proposition 6 faced formidable odds. John Briggs’ fundraising juggernaut was churning out cash, and public opinion polls were solidly in his favor. To turn the tide, gay rights activists unveiled a powerful symbol and gambled on the support of an improbable ally: Ronald Reagan.

    (If you—or anyone you know—are in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, anytime: Dial 988 or visit 988lifeline.org.)

    Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock all episodes of Slow Burn: Gays Against Briggs. Your subscription also gets you ad-free access to all your favorite Slate podcasts, plus other member exclusive content. Join now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Subscribe” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/slowburnplus to get access wherever you listen.

    Season 9 of Slow Burn was written and produced by Christina Cauterucci. Slow Burn is produced by Joel Meyer, Sophie Summergrad, and Kelly Jones.

    Josh Levin is the editorial director of Slow Burn.

    Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.

    Susan Matthews is Slate’s executive editor.

    Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We had engineering help from Patrick Fort and Madeline Ducharme.

    Our theme music is composed by Alexis Cuadrado. Artwork by Ivylise Simones, based on an image of Silvana Nova and a poster designed by Larry Hermsen and the Too Much Graphics Collective. 

    Join host Christina Cauterucci and special guests as they record a special, live episode of Slow Burn at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 13.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 55 min
    Gays Against Briggs | 6. The Murders at City Hall

    Gays Against Briggs | 6. The Murders at City Hall

    On election night in 1978, gays and lesbians in California braced themselves for the statewide vote on Proposition 6. Less than a month after the results came in, a pair of killings shocked San Francisco and the nation.
    Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately unlock all episodes of Slow Burn: Gays Against Briggs. Your subscription also gets you ad-free access to all your favorite Slate podcasts, plus other member exclusive content. Join now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Subscribe” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/slowburnplus to get access wherever you listen.
    Season 9 of Slow Burn was written and produced by Christina Cauterucci. Slow Burn is produced by Sophie Summergrad, Kelly Jones, and Joel Meyer.
    Josh Levin is the editorial director of Slow Burn.
    Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts.
    Susan Matthews is Slate’s executive editor.
    Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director. We had engineering help from Patrick Fort and Madeline Ducharme.
    Our theme music is composed by Alexis Cuadrado. Artwork by Ivylise Simones, based on an image of Silvana Nova and a poster designed by Larry Hermsen and the Too Much Graphics Collective.

    Join host Christina Cauterucci and special guests as they record a special, live episode of Slow Burn at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 13.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
23.6K Ratings

23.6K Ratings

Globaldenny ,

An important, historically rich podcast

As a 53 year old Gay man who lived in Southern California in the 70s & 80s, I lived through the events outlined in this season’s episodes. Although, I hope, much of my generation is intimately familiar with this era, I doubt many people younger than me have much idea of what we went through then to get to where we are today.

Szulisr614 ,

Informative and easy listen

I’ve gone through all 6 seasons and this is such an informative, easy to listen to podcast. You really become immersed in each story and come out educated at the end.

angrylf ,

Season 9 is great so far!

Working my way through season 9 and it is nice to hear historical fact being reported where lesbians and gays get the credit they deserve - thankfully trans activists have not been shoehorned into the story claiming a part of history that doesn’t belong to them.

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