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Gay Fairfax: A History - page 2

After months of training on studio equipment and field production equipment, a small studio crew was assembled and the mature, sophisticated, and serene looking Michelle Michaels was asked to co-host the program with Barry. 

Barry produced the first episode, which aired in May 1990. Other (Channel 10 trained) volunteers outside of the gay community like director Mark Singer, Jim Weber, and Anita Weber were asked to help out as many others were still completing the required training courses. The certification courses had to be taken at the Northern Virginia Community College studios or the small FCAC studio at the James Lee Center in Annandale.

The segments included a segment on gay community news by David Vanderbilt (that was discontinued after two episodes), an interview with author Armistead Maupin, a speech by the late former staff sergeant Perry Watkins, and coverage of a display of the Names Project AIDS Quilt and candlelight vigil.   These segments were produced, taped, and edited by Kevin, Larry, and David.  The program first aired at a 10:30 or 11:30 pm time slot. 

The first episode “sharing news, views, and pride” caused such a flurry of local media coverage. Just about every local news program covered the debut of Gay Fairfax. The supposed controversy came from a few ultra conservative residents of Fairfax County like Richard Enrico from the Foundation for Moral Restoration who went head to head with Barry and his "deathstyle" on both the evening news and live during the newscast the next morning. 

Who will ever forget the woman who said "Fairfax is not a Gay county . . . the people of Fairfax believe in the family and God and are not Gay . . . I don't think we should legitimatize a lifestyle that is unhealthy. It's the major cause of AIDS in this country."  Of course Barry responded confidently with his  "if they don't like the program they don't have to watch it; that is the beauty of public access television." 

He also stressed the importance that such programming was for the gay community. The press coverage was also supported by many of the people at the Fairfax Cable Access Corporation including its executive director - Fred Thomas.  He defended FLGCA's freedom to express itself as long as the material was not considered obscene by Virginia state law.

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