’81 Words’ Limited Series From ‘Pose’ Co-Creator Steven Canals in Development at FX

Based on an episode of “This American Life,” project follows true story of gay activists Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings

Last Updated: July 24, 2020 @ 3:21 PM

“81 Words,” a new limited series based on Alix Spiegel’s award-winning episode of “This American Life,” is in development at 20th Century Fox for FX.

From “Pose” co-creator Steven Canals, the project will follow the true story of gay activists Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings, who took the risk of challenging the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of homosexuality in the 1970s.

Here is the show’s logline:

“Until 1974, the medical establishment considered gay people sexually deviant and diagnosed them as mentally ill. 81 Words tells the true story of gay activists Frank Kameny & Barbara Gittings who risked their career & reputation to conspire with the GAYPA – a clandestine group of closeted psychiatrists – and challenge the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of homosexuality.”

Canals serves as writer and will executive produce via his Story Ave. Productions banner. Elisabeth Seldes and Neri Tannenbaum executive produce for Pal Pictures.

There is also an upcoming PBS documentary called “Cured” directed by Bennett Singer and Patrick Sammon, that covers similar ground to “81 Words.” Singer and Sammon will also serve as producers on the potential FX limited series along with Spiegel.

Canals is known for co-creating “Pose” alongside Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The fellow FX series stars MJ Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Dominique Jackson, India Moore and others, following New York’s ballroom culture of the 1980s.