The Hays Code

How it shaped LGBTQ+ representation in film

The Motion Picture Production Code Front Cover

The Hays Code

In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and recognizing the vibrant community of Angelenos that work at the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County, we are bringing you stories from L.A.’s LGBTQ+ past and present. Los Angeles is home to many vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ communities, and the 1934 Motion Picture Production Code, commonly known as the Hays Code, is just one story of people, places, organizations and events that have shaped Los Angeles and beyond.

Val Hatcher, Gallery Interpreter, shares how the Motion Picture Production Code, commonly known as the Hays Code, impacted LGBTQ+ representation in film.

Val Hatcher Headshot

Val Hatcher (she/her) is a Gallery Interpreter at NHMLAC. While her favorite subject to talk about at the Museum is spiders, her true loves are storytelling, TV, and film. “I love movies. When choosing a subject to focus on, it had to be film and queer representation. I know how much it matters to see ourselves on screen, authentically. The work and activism of Vito Russo has been a major influence on my life, and I hope sharing this story will encourage people to seek out his work and to reconsider the visibility and invisibility of LGBTQ+ characters on film.”


These stories are just a few representations of LGBTQ+ stories in L.A.  In every neighborhood and community, LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations have historically shaped the city, and they continue to do so today. Visit ONE Archive’s Queer Terrains to explore a map of more historic locations. 

We also want to hear your stories! If you were to make a map of your LGBTQ+ L.A., what would you add? What places have shaped you and the communities you are a part of? Where do you see LGBTQ+ history being made today? 

Upload a photo on your Instagram story and tell us why that place is significant to you. Tag @NHMLA with #PrideMonth and your post could be featured on @NHMLA’s Stories!