I Believe There’s An LGBT Community, But…
February 18, 2013
PFOX’s ‘Ex-Trans’ Spokesperson Exposed
February 21, 2013

Interview With an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End!

The POTUS noted Stonewall in his 2013 inaugural address:

We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth…

Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.

Numerous media outlets recounted how the noble gays and lesbians fought that night – never mentioning trans folk… carrying on that long and painful tradition of ciswashing queer history – especially Stonewall history. I wrote about this phenomena over at TransAdvocate after NPR ran a piece recounting how middle-class white gay men were the real heroes of Stonewall. Kat has documented the ciswashing of Stonewall (and the equality movement which followed) well:
 
[column size=”one-third”]  Stonewall Plus 1 [/column] [column size=”one-third”] Stonewall at 5 [/column] [column size=”one-third” last=”true”] Stonewall Plus 17 [/column]  
[column size=”one-third”]  Stonewall at 20 [/column] [column size=”one-third”] Stonewall Plus 22 [/column] [column size=”one-third” last=”true”] Stonewall Plus 26 [/column]  
[column size=”one-third”]  Stonewall Plus 27  [/column] [column size=”one-third”] Stonewall Plus 29 [/column] [column size=”one-third” last=”true”] Stonewall Plus 31 [/column]  
Not surprisingly, the white, gay, Mattachine Society member and author of Homosexuality: A Research Guide and the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality had the following to say about the role trans folk played at Stonewall:

A strange new myth has arisen about the origins of the gay movement. This myth, fervently endorsed by some trans activists, holds that the gay and lesbian movement was, essentially and pivotally, the work of their group, the transgender people. The transgender folk were in the vanguard, gay men and lesbians followed meekly after. This bizarre claim in the opposite of the truth.

Let us then be honest. If we are to speak of a “transgender” contribution we must restrict ourselves to drag queens. They were the only transgender folks around in those days. None of them in fact made a major contribution to the movement.

Wayne Dynes, 12/16/2009

Too often, the story of Stonewall is told by folks like Dynes (who was, incidentally, off touring Europe at the time of Stonewall). What follows is an interview given by an actual Stonewall veteran, Roy McCarthy.


I Survived Stonewall

To think that it has been 30 years since that night in June that all this has happened… We’ve made a lot of progress. but there’s a lot more to be made. The fight continues on — and I’m right out there!

Opening Night

I had a most unusual beginning — an initiation to the riots. I was asleep! I was across the street… my childhood sweetheart was fixing to start his first year at Columbia University — he was a psych major. I was spending the summer with him, and I was upstairs in his apartment – sound asleep; and his apartment was right across the street from Stonewall Inn. He comes running upstairs saying “Roy! Roy! The queens are rioting across the street! The queens are rioting!”

So I go running down, following him…. By the time we got down there, the paddy wagon had just pulled up. The queens were just starting to come out and someone had just thrown a high heel. There may have been coins or whatever, but I was there within a couple minutes after the festivities started. I did see high heels flying! The queens — the transgenders or the crossdressers — were yelling something from across the street by the paddy wagon; they were yelling at the cops. We were cheering on the transgenders — the crossdressers — it just sort of snowballed from there.

Setting the Stage…

[pullquote]At the time they were called crossdressers as opposed to drag queens. Drag Queen was a regular guy – gay or straight – who dressed up as a woman to perform a show. Crossdressers – or transgenders as now – were 24 hrs.[/pullquote]You gotta understand… where everybody’s head politically was at at that time. We’re talking late 60s — 1969. We’re talking about a period of time when it was not only okay, but fashionable to riot against authority thanks to the Vietnam War, and… to the Civil Rights riots a year before. [and when] Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated — we had rioting in the streets. We were rioting and protesting the Vietnam War all along, and we had Moratorium Day every October in the 60s — I think it was around October 17, somewhere around the middle of October. We would have the anti-Vietnam War Moratorium march, which almost always turned into rioting. Later on in the summer of ’69 we also had Woodstock.

In the gay community — now when I talk about the gay community, people have to understand I’m not talking about male homosexuals. I am old school: and when I talk about gay community, the transgenders were a part of it. We never ever considered them not! Bisexuals, crossdressers, were never ever not considered a art of it! We were all gay! I’m kind of sad that all this division and fracturization is come about.

Back then in the gay community we were kinda pissed off that everyone else was getting their civil rights and we weren’t. We were tired of the police busting in and dragging us out just because we were out there to have a good time.

And even the crossdressers were pissed off because by law they had to have at least three articles of clothing on them that were according to their birth gender. That all these things set up to… guarantee that we would have a record. They would tell us to go across the street, and we would follow the police orders; and there would be another cop across the street waiting to give us a ticket for jaywalking. We were tired of gay people being locked up in psychiatric hospitals and getting tortured! We had our own Auschwitzes and Dachaus! And we were just pissed off about all of that! And it had to end!

It was obvious with the paddy wagon there they were just doing another one of their Saturday night raids. It was hot and it was humid that night, and none of us were really in the best of moods that night. We had just buried Judy Garland that day in Forest Lawn out in Hollywood — our icon! We were kinda pissed off.

The First Acts

At first the cops cleared out Stonewall Inn. Those that weren’t gonna get loaded up in the paddy wagons, the cops were telling them to go home. We started taunting the cops, and… they saw the crowd that was starting to gather. The crowd this time was getting bigger and bigger and we started pressing in on the police, and they got scared. They took refuge inside the Stonewall Inn, and barricaded themselves inside. It was after that that somebody had pulled up a parking meter outside there from Christopher Street and smashed in a window.

I got by one of the police cars — the NYPD patrol cars — and I was at the back and I start shaking up and down on the back. Then we started rocking it from side to side, up and down from the front and back, see-sawing the front and back and rocking it from side to side. Next thing… we ended up turning it over on its roof. We crushed its little `bubble-gum machine’ it had on top. By now there was a huge crowd, and somebody somewhere had tossed a Molotov cocktail, and I helped set the cop car on fire. By this time it was only 20 minutes from the time I first arrived down there… And there was a huge crowd!

The Emotion

Back then I wasn’t as big as I am now — I was 5′-7″, about 130 lbs. I was a 19 year old male prostitute. In ’69, I was a prostitute; because I’d been kicked out of home and I was living on the streets and I had to survive. The Stonewall Inn was made up of the dregs of the community. Transgenders and transsexuals were not allowed in many of the gay clubs. And the Stonewall Inn was mostly prostitutes and drug addicts, and drag queens and transgenders. It was not your respectable gay club.

But it was those of us who had nothing to lose, and stood up, and everybody joined in afterwards. We were all very tight knit very tight knit. It wasn’t like we were giving verbal support to the queens who were getting locked up in the paddy wagon. It wasn’t just some sort of spectator thing like at a football came — this was something from our heart, deep down inside.

The Climactic Scene

By this time we could here cop cars coming like crazy from every which direction, and riot police were showing up. I was looking around for my boyfriend, my lover. I saw there was this leather-jacketed, NYPD motorcycle cop who had my boyfriend in a headlock. Now my boyfriend was wearing these John Lennon granny glasses which was very popular at the time. And [the cop] had him in a headlock with his baton hitting him in the face with the bottom end of the baton, and blood was coming from my boyfriend’s face. He was my first love, puppy love, fierce love.

I lost my mental capacity for reason. I jumped on the back of that cop and I took the baton from that cop and – with some strength from somewhere – the adrenaline got me going where I was able to take the baton out of the cop’s hand and I was beating cop. I know I got about three or four hits on the guy and the next thing I knew – bang, I’m seeing stars I’m on the ground! Then there’s blood coming all down my face, on the left side! A cop on horseback came up behind me and whacked me in the head with his nightstick. That was one of the TPF – Tactical Patrol Force. This was before there was such thing as a SWAT unit. They used Tactical Patrol, and they were on horseback, and they used those police to disperse riots and…that’s what they did on me, and I was really bloodied. A piece of my skull got chipped off and wound up on Christopher Street. To this day I’ve got a place in my head where a piece of my skull is missing – a little chip off the old block!

Salvation During Battle

It was four transgendered people who saved my butt! At the time they were called crossdressers as opposed to drag queens. Drag Queen was a regular guy – gay or straight – who dressed up as a woman to perform a show. Crossdressers – or transgenders as now – were 24 hrs. Transvestite would dress up to go out to a club, be they were not necessarily performers…they would just dress up to go out to a club,

There was like one on each arm. my arms and my legs, and then they carried me down to a basement place where they helped patch me up. There was some tear gas that had been shot at us, and in fact one of the canisters…I do remember the canister going off not five, six feet in front of me when I was out on the street. I got a full face, full throttle…. I told the transgendered person “get a bucket of water… and just dump it on top of me.” That’s the best first aid [for tear gas]: a bucket of water.

The rioting went on for about three days. I never was able to find my boyfriend until after…later on the next week I found out that a piece of glass from his eyeglasses… got punctured in thought the eye and lodged in the brain. He is now in a psychiatric hospital up in Maine. [He’s] beyond repair. His parents refused to bring charges against the police at the time because they said ‘this was God’s judgment upon us.’

In fact no charges were ever brought against any of the demonstrators. We were all originally arrested and charged with drunk, and rioting, and disorderly conduct and all that. But Mayor John Lindsay… stepped in and ordered that charges not be brought against any of us, and we were all released. When I say ‘we,’ I mean the other people – I was never in jail myself.

Antagonists Within

To this day I have no affection for Harry Hay and the Mattachine Society. To have us arrested, and to tell us to “Quiet down! Don’t rock the boat!” I’m sorry! I try to be inclusive, and I know there are other issues that people care about. But basic fundamental of the right to be, and the right to love who I feel attracted to is basic and most important and overriding of everything else. The Mattachine Society was afraid that if we rioted, we were going to throw the clock back 20 years – if that was possible!

The The Mattachine Society is equivalent to our modem-day Log Cabiners. The Mattachine Society was a group of self-hating, self-loathing gay folks who felt that we were all emotionally underdeveloped or something – sub-human in some way. These were a bunch of yellow-bellied cowards who were frightened in little comers, who didn’t want us to upset the apple cart. Who thought at that time that if we didn’t create any kind of a mess… if we just did things quietly and applied for disability – let the psychiatric people say we did not develop emotionally enough or psychologically, that there was something wrong with us mentally or emotionally because we loved people of the same sex or the same gender… or because someone who was a male and always identified as a female wanted to really pursue that. Obviously that person was wacked-out. And it was just as strong with transsexual, transgender people.

Sexual [Reassignment] Surgery was started in the 50s or something, it was not new by the time the riot came around. However, there was a lot of kids who were sexually trying to [reassign] themselves in back rooms and hallways because of fear… and because there was just nowhere else for them to go. However, thanks to the Mattachine Society telling everybody we’re sick, we’re mentally ill – that was hard enough for gay people… but for transgendered and transsexuals, where could they turn to? Avenues of positive help were not open, even though they did exist. And guys who wanted to be female had nowhere to turn. They felt so disgusted with them selves, they tried to sexually [assign] themselves with a razor blade and clean towels and a needle and thread. It just did not work! This was the same period of time when abortions were still illegal, and many women were getting it in back alleys and the butcher shops. A lot of guys hemorrhaged to death in their bathrooms and died in back alleys…

And the Mattachine Society wanted us to stay that way. I think it’s also important to understand that most of the people in the Mattachine Society were middle-class, and upper-middle and upper class people economically. So they had a lot to lose, and they saw us as a threat. The Log Cabin is in essence, the modem day Mattachines. The Mattachine Society did not speak for the gay community. Just like the Log Cabin does not speak for the transgender community. They never have, and they never will.

The Closing Act

For the next two nights there was rioting going on. Yeah. I was there! I was out there. bandaged-up head and all… just screaming along with everyone else. We were just a big mob in the street… and there was this park – I think it was Washington Park… right there at the end of Christopher Street – right there at the end of three days was born the Gay Liberation Front. Of course everything back in those days was called the Liberation Front! You know, we were all Liberation Fronts. And so, before there was a Gay Political Caucus there was a Gay Liberation Front.

And in those early days – I shouldn’t just say transgender inclusive because nobody was excluded – the whole thing of Gay Pride Parade and every thing… of that night… was started by, was all about the transgenders! Gay people – gay males – we joined in. But it was started by transgenders. Now even though we joined in within five or ten minutes. it was still five or ten minutes later! We joined in… it’s important for people to understand. To join in means somebody else was already there. And that was the transgenders. Somebody said it was a brick – I say it was a high heeled shoe, who knows if it was a pump or a brick…or a pumped-up brick? It was called “The Hairpin Drop Heard ‘Round The World.'” That’s how CBS News covered it, and ABC News covered it, and it was in Time Magazine… “The Hairpin Drop Heard ‘Round The World'” – I guess that was the first Gay Pride slogan!

Final Memories

My favorite memory is the moment I first went out the door, and I saw the queens and the transgenders being loaded up in the paddy wagon and somebody – finally – threw a high heel! It was that moment – it was such a liberating moment inside, it was so freeing! It felt so good – finally, we’re not taking this shit no more! Pardon my french! We weren’t going to take it any more! No more! Over! This is it! No Más!

I have heard. that people went around to a bunch of different gay clubs… saying “Out of the clubs, into the streets!” Or “Out of the bars, into the streets!” I think that’s what somebody told me was being said. I mean. I don’t know because I was already in the street! That was the defining moment.

It feels special in some ways, and in other ways it feels like an accident of history. Thirty years later, I am so saddened by knowing where the community is at now; in which transgenders and transsexuals – in many cities – are excluded from the Pride Parade. Many transgendered and many gay people do not know the role that transgenders [played]; how important…. We would not have Gay Pride Parade if it was not for the transgenders. We would not have Gay Pride Week! We probably wouldn’t have this show (After Hours Radio, 90.1 KPFT). Everything had its birth with transgenders and transsexuals finally standing up!

Some people call Harry Hay (founder of the Mattachine Society) one of the ‘great founders.’ He was the founder of nothing! If anything he held us back! And to tell us “Don’t make waves…!” Well just remember this: if you don’t make waves, you ain’t going nowhere! And we had to go somewhere, because this could not continue. The hypocrisy of it all was really astounding. Which is why, for thirty years, I have always been there for the transgendered people because quite literally, you saved my butt! And helped patch me up!


Stonewall instigators Silvia Rivera (far left) and Marsha Johnson (with umbrella) protesting for 475 - a comprehensive LGBT rights bill - which followed the Stonewall Riot.

Stonewall instigators Silvia Rivera (far left) and Marsha Johnson (with umbrella) protesting for 475 – a comprehensive LGBT rights bill – which followed the Stonewall Riot in 1971 and 1972.

By 1973, trans folk had been fighting the LGBT’s legal battle in the courts for more than 3 years. After 475 failed to pass, the following occurred:

After a three-and-a-half-year battle, a bill to ban discrimination against homosexuals in employment, housing, and public accommodations was voted out of New York’s City Council’s General Welfare Committee.

The measure won approval of seven of the eight committee members on hand after an amendment was approved relating to transvestites. This was the fifth attempt to get the bill out of committee. The amendment stated that nothing in the definition of sexual orientation “shall be construed to bear upon the standards of attire or dress code.” The amendment was key to committee passage and the wording had been worked out carefully by Theodor S. Weiss and Carter Burden.

Bebe Scarpie, Director of Queens Liberation Front, met at City Hall with the sponsors and QLF’s attorney, Richard Levidow, a week prior to the voting on the bill. Ms. Scarpie and attorney Levidow submitted to the above wording as an alternative to getting the bill passed. The clause, according to Mr. Levidow is unconstitutional and won’t hold up in court because of the “equal rights” protection of the US Constitution. “QLF gave in on being included in this piece of legislation because politicians were using the transvestite as a ‘scapegoat’ for not passing the bill,” says Lee Brewster, former director and founder of QLF.

Queens Liberation Front won’t issue a formal statement on the bill until it is either passed or defeated, which looks possible as we go to press.

– Drag Magazine, 1973

And thus did the trans community fall on its own sword so that the gay community could enjoy a little equality. And so began a long and painful tradition of the cisgender GLB community throwing trans folk (of any and all stripes) under the bus, year after painful year.


NOTES:

  • Interview of Roy McCarthy by Vanessa Edwards Foster for the Texas Association for Transsexual Support (TATS), July, 1999
  • This interview comes from the Transgender Archives in Houston, Texas.
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites TransAdvocate.com and TheTERFs.com, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.

48 Comments

  1. According to the Transgender Law and Policy Institute, up to 5% of the United States population identifies as transgender.  For many, this term and identity represents a new facet of the LGBT community in the mainstream as trans people have only recently publicly gained the attention of the masses. The truth is that trans people have long been an important and integral part of the social and political movements to garner support for LGBT people.  And with Bruce Jenner most recently and courageously sharing his authentic self with the world through his Diane Sawyer interview, the mainstream media and many American households are buzzing with the question, what does it mean to be transgender? And if you’re reading this, you might even be asking yourself, “Am I transgender?”  As someone who has worked with and came to care for many trans or gender non-confirming folks, my hope is that this brief post will help provide you with some insight and answers along on your journey.
    First, a little context.  Up until 1973, the psychological community still sanctioned homosexuality as a mental disorder.  While it was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (the DSM) that year, the psychological community is still conflicted about how to best support people who self-identify as gay. Thankfully, there are many professionals (gay and heterosexual) who acknowledge and promote the mental and emotional health of gay folks by adopting supportive and gay affirmative practices.  Sadly, however, there is still a large segment of the population who advocates for the use of conversion therapy, which aims to rid gay people of their same-sex desires in order to make them “straight”.  Too often the practice of conversion therapy is both emotionally and physically damaging and inappropriate, leaving the clients more emotionally damaged, confused and isolated from their families and loved ones.  Now that transgender people are being more widely recognized in the public sphere, our culture is faced with the same questions and barriers as a society on how to best support trans folks.
    For better or for worse, gender dysphoria is still listed in the DSM as a mental disorder. Many counselors like myself, don’t consider identifying as trans as a mental health disorder, however, this often presents a conundrum for trans advocates as many states require a person to carry a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to begin gender affirmative treatment such as hormone replacement therapy and what has previously been known as sexual reassignment surgery, which is more colloquially referred to as “top” and “bottom” surgeries in the community.  Given the restrictions on treatment, you can see how in order to live in accordance with your gender identity, some have to be stigmatized in order to receive the appropriate, supportive, and necessary medical interventions that are gender affirming.  More plainly put, trans people must admit to being “sick” before receiving what is often life saving treatment.
    Despite trans visibility increasing in the past few years, many folks still have questions and concerns about what it means to be trans.  There are a lot of online resources that often feature the voices of trans people themselves such as Laura’s Playground, TransAdvocate and PFLAG National.  These are all great resources if you yourself think you may be trans or need insight about a friend or loved one.  As a mental health professional, I will share with you the criteria of gender dysphoria which might help you gain some insight and clarity into what trans people might be experiencing.  Here is an abbreviated list of that criteria:
    Feelings that your internal gender identity does not match your physical characteristics
    A desire for the sex characteristics of another gender (ex. sex organs such as penis, vagina, testicles or things like amount of body hair, tone of voice, waist to hip ratio, etc.)
    Feeling that you should be treated as a different gender (than what you were assigned at birth)
    Strong and persistent internal feelings that you are of a different gender or sex that you were assigned at birth
    Again, this is a list based on heteronormative ideals and standards which see a trans identity as being “disordered”.  There are histories of cultures with two-spirited, or third genders which haven’t described or treated trans folks in the same way.  I hope that this can serve as a starting point to form questions, invite discussion and ultimately garner understanding and compassion for people who all identify as trans like Bruce Jenner, Leelah Alcorn, Chaz Bono or Laverne Cox. All too often the health and livelihood of trans folks depends on our willingness to develop empathy and compassion, irrespective of our cultural or religious backgrounds.  The truth of the matter is, lives are at stake.
    And if you think that you might be trans, I invite you to seek out support in a trusted friend, loved one or affirmative counselor who can help guide you and support you on your journey of being your most authentic self.  You deserve that ability to do so. We all do.

  2. Aria Ehren says:

    Increased transgender visibility is heralded as a “tipping point” for the transgender community, but is it helping the trans community? Aria Ehren offers her perspective.
    No doubt, we are in an age of increased trans visibility. It’s what the press is telling us, it’s what Hollywood is showing us, and the truth that there are already trans people in our everyday lives is starting to become clearer to the masses who are starting to pay attention. It is in many ways, as Time Magazine put it, “The Transgender Tipping Point“. But, what’s really tipping, and is it tipping enough to make actual progress for trans people?
    This increased visibility has come, and continues to come at a cost. While we have visibility, we continue to face incredibly slim representation. While we have a handful of amazing transgender celebrities, these celebrities represent only certain narrow bands of trans existence and — especially among actors — they are not always in control over the narrative.
    Increasingly troubling is media insistence on continuing to tell our stories within the limitations and framework of the very systems we fight against. Our stories and struggles are being and commodified for maximum appeal to a wide audience, often without our involvement. We’re also being shut out of representation in portrayals where it is most critical we be represented for the sake of accuracy in the face of a history often viewed through a narrow lens.
    What we’re observing is not a deep, enduring will to improve transgender lives, it’s the grasping of marketers and executives to ride the wave of trans visibility and monetize our struggles. The money making apparatus of the media is not seeking to tell our stories accurately, but to select for the most ideal, appealing, or controversial depending on which representations are most salable in the current market. This is the transgender experience being leveraged for monetary gain by the same people who have profited in past and continue to profit from our oppression.
    “The Transgender Tipping Point” as far as the press is concerned is not the midpoint between our struggle and our victory — we’re just getting started and the vast majority of us are still struggling. Rather, it’s the point at which the marketers realized inspiration porn could sell copy just as well as transphobic bigotry. This is just good business — capitalism does not lend itself well to altruism, even in the more liberal press. There is profit to be gained in the press, and an easy recipe you can use to do it:
    Deny us agency over the framing and presentation of our stories: Narratives that haven’t been selected, cleaned up, re-framed, and targeted are too unpredictable. Controlling the narrative means you can narrowly direct the message.
    Maximize appeal to white, cisgender liberals: Treat our fight for survival as an inspirational tale of strength through adversity. Continue to refer to our political progress as an achievement of the “gay rights movement”. Pretend we’re already on the descent from the mountain standing in the way of recognition of our rights.
    Make us the objects of entertainment: Objectify us as our bodies and discuss our sexual orientations, dating encounters, surgical histories, and medications as though they’re essential parts of our identities and experiences. Cultivate more insecurity in your trans audience so you can sell us self-help products and cosmetics.
    Don’t challenge your audience with anyone subversive: Showcase only those who appeal to cisgender beauty standards — trans women who “pass” and embody traditional femininity, trans men who “pass” and embody traditional masculinity, and non-binary people assigned female at birth who continue to use she/her pronouns.*
    Make transness a product: If you control the message, you control the cultural concept of transness. You’ve seen the profitability of the gay pride movement. You want that, and you don’t want all these pesky suffering trans people standing in the way of an idealized, gentrified, marketable image of transness. Glamourize trans existence.
    Make money off detractors too: Give transphobic bigots a platform in the name of fairness. Bear no responsibility for making harmful statements or allowing editorials by vitriolic essentialists. Ignore journalistic ethics and continue failing to fact-check scientific and medical facts. Fail to understand that trans lives are at risk and that there is a death toll associated with public support for transphobia. Defend detractors’ rights to a platform, after all, you can’t make as much money from their fans if you deny them one.
    Hyperbolic conspiracy theory? Maybe so, but the end result is that trans people are still not benefiting in the ways we need to be.
    In television and online streaming, we have been observing a slow increase in visibility since before the “Tipping Point” was declared, but a rapid increase in transgender characters since then. We have become the product in a fully exploitative, appropriative manner. Similar to gay representation in the 1990s, we stare into our screens and stereotyped, shallow versions of ourselves are reflected.
    The tradition of hiring cisgender male actors to play transgender women, and cis women to play trans men continues to this day with actors winning awards and critical acclaim for their brief portrayal of a cisgender interpretation of our lives. They are praised for their bravery, rewarded for their courage, and passed large paycheques while actual trans people continue to be underemployed and impoverished.
    Transgender reality TV has quickly become a thing, and it is not for us either. It may cast and star real transgender people, but it’s formatted and presented for a cisgender public. It sells our struggles as entertainment and profits from both the curiousity of the public and the grasping of trans people to see ourselves in the media. Arguably it’s never been about us, with many past examples having relied heavily on the tropes that have long served to make us targets.
    Reality TV may be changing with the times, and it may even manage to help educate the public and normalize our existence, but at the same time it’s continuing to support an industry owned and run by many cisgender people who profit from our exploitation. Worse they continue to provide and profit from the platform of our detractors. While their moods may have shifted and we may now see mostly positive representation, it’s at their whim, and the wind can still push against us at any moment.
    Trans people are dying. Trans people are being denied human rights. We are being denied access to medical care. We are disproportionately at risk for suicide and violent death. We are still lacking basic protections in a multitude of areas, and lacking recourse where we are protected. A large but uncertain number of transgender people are being left behind in what few improvements we have experienced.
    In two weeks many of us will be memorializing our dead peers and friends around the world, killed in violent crimes over the past year. We legitimately wonder whether we or our friends will be on that list next year. We cry, we swallow, we get up, we hug those close, and we try very hard to carry on existing.
    We need acceptance from cis people, and — to be fair — acceptance seems to be increasing, but is it acceptance of us for who we are? Would cis people see humanity in us if we were not being repackaged in the image of cis humanity? So removed is the image of ourselves seen on TV and in the paper from the actual realities we face that it’s hardly recognizable. It’s a simulacrum of a cis person with just enough trans flavour to appeal to novelty, and to us it has no immediate value. It doesn’t create jobs, feed us, provide shelter, let us go to the bathroom, give us legal protections and remedy, grant us medical treatment, or stop us from getting killed.
    If visibility is indeed the path to acceptance, then we need visibility that improves the lives of all transgender people. What we’re getting right now falls far short of the mark. The “tipping point” won’t truly have been reached until that occurs.
    Footnotes
    *: This is absolutely not to say there is anything wrong with any of those identities or expressions listed, but with how trans people in these categories are exploited for appeal to a cisgender public.
    Follow Aria on Twitter (@litui)
    CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE ARTICLES FROM THE QUEERNESS COLLECTIVE.

    51.048615
    -114.070846
    Downtown Commercial, Calgary, AB, Canada
    Share:EmailTwitterFacebookRedditGooglePinterestTumblrLike this:Like Loading… Posted In:OpinionTagged:ranttipping pointtranstransgendervisibility


  3. <!–
    wpa2a.script_load();
    //–>Stephanie via Flickr
    By Tasha Sanders
    For the first time in her life, my eight-year-old daughter is finally able to be her true self. She loves dresses, the color pink, and rocking purses with pizzazz. These may seem like normal things, but for my daughter, being able to showcase her identity publicly this way is brand-new.
    My daughter is transgender.
    You may recall from an earlier article I wrote that we initially used the term “gender variant” when describing my child’s identity. You see, this has been a journey, and it hasn’t always been easy. When Emery first started displaying “feminine” traits, I’ll admit, I was a little uncomfortable. I’ve had to work hard to retrain my brain and undo the stereotypes and damaging notions society and the media have hammered into me. And while I was still working that out, labeling Emery’s identity as gender variance was a way to swallow what was happening with my child. But this isn’t gender variance.
    Janet Mock says that defining what it means to be transgender as “trapped in the wrong body” is victimizing and puts transgender folks in a position to be pitied. I agree, but I use this phrase because it’s how Emery has described her experience for years. She’s told me that she has felt like she’s a girl inside, or rather, in her heart.
    But I think it’s important to discern that just because she has felt trapped, that doesn’t mean she thinks of herself as a victim. She is unapologetically herself and refuses to let anyone put her in a box. When she talks about Happy meals at McDonald’s, she says she would like a “girl” toy, air quotations and all. Her comprehension of silly gender roles is so mature for such a young age. She’s going to be an amazing advocate for the cause one day, and I’m excited to see her progress.
    My own progress in this journey has been significant as well. When we were using the term “gender variant,” Emery was allowed to dress as she wanted at home, but in public, she otherwise presented as a boy. She wore boy clothes to school and was referred to with male pronouns. Emery has always been a happy child, but I could see the effects this caused. Pretending to be someone she wasn’t was draining her of her full potential. As soon as she got home, the clothes would immediately come off and it was back to dress-up.
    When I found out that Emery had been bullied daily — and considering the high trans suicide attempt rate — I knew something had to change, and I set to work.
    First, I reached out to Emery’s school district and set up a meeting. While I was apprehensive at first, the supportive staff quickly reassured me. I was told that some of the staff had already been to a diversity training, and that they’d refer to Emery as “she” from here on out. She would have access to the counselor any time she needed it, and no one would know a thing about Emery’s identity unless she wanted it made known.
    They said it would perhaps be best if she used the staff bathroom versus the girls’ or boys’ bathroom, and I agree this is a fine solution … for now. I do worry how we’ll handle this as Emery hits puberty, and how gym class will be dealt with. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
    We started meeting with a counselor on a regular basis to help Emery develop tactics for combatting bullying. She’s opened up to me much more and lets me in on her feelings, where before she was guarded over them.
    We watch I Am Jazz on TLC every week together, and this show about the life of a transgender girl is so helpful — not just for me, but for her as well. Since we don’t know any other transgender youth in our area, it’s important for Emery to see herself represented in the media. It helps bolster her identity and allows her to relate to someone like her, which she can really do with Jazz. The media has a huge impact on the way society perceives identity, and providing accurate representations of trans folk will help us achieve more widespread acceptance.
    While the media seems to be doing a better job of this, there’s still work to be done. Trans youth, people of color, and those who don’t fit the beauty standard established by our cis-centric society are noticeably lacking in the media.
    The movie About Ray will be released this year and tells the story of a transgender teenager, but Ray is played by Elle Fanning, a cis white actress. The film Stonewall has been gaining momentum, but again, the actor playing the lead character who started it all is a cis white male. This doesn’t accurately depict the diverse group that’s credited with starting the revolution, with numerous trans women and people of color at the forefront.
    And while I’m happy for Caitlyn Jenner and applaud her bravery for finally transitioning to the person she always was inside, it’s important to note that her story isn’t typical. Money, fame, race, and a socially acceptable level of attractiveness made this transition easier for her than for everyday trans people who may not have the money for a sex change or beauty products, or who don’t necessarily fit the beauty standards society mandates.
    I’m glad we’re finally hearing more about LGBT lives, but enough with the whitewashing and ciswashing, OK, Hollywood?
    When Emery’s school started this year, I was a ball of nerves the entire day. She was fitted in a fun black dress with sparkly flats and was eager to go public for the first time ever. When I finally got home from work that day, I was greeted with only enthusiasm and positivity. The kids were much more receptive than they were last year, and I think a lot of it has to do with the way Emery is now presenting herself.
    As we continue to discuss these issues in the media and as society grows more accepting, it will be easier for more children (and adults) to feel like they can live their true, authentic selves. While we will certainly face hitches as Emery gets older, she’s truly happy now, and that is worth it all for me.

  4. Last year I attempted, but failed, to organize a march from the Christopher St. Pier in New York City to publicize the fact that the transgender community were largely involved in the riots, and were instrumental to the subsequent gay rights movement that sprang into life. Now, one year later, Roland Emmerich has created his version of Stonewall, that not only excludes the role of transgender people in the events of 1969, but also other queer people of color.
    The backlash has been swift. Stonewall veterans, trans community leaders, and allies alike, have come together and are calling Emmerich to account for his depiction of Stonewall as a twink revolution. One group even going so far as to create a parody of the official trailer, outlining some of the issues with the film:
    Erasure from the historical record and the frequent portrayal of transgender as being “new” or “20 years behind” the LGB, has resulted in trans women of color being left in a state where they are subject to a rate of slaughter that mainstream media does not or will not report, and that mainstream LGBT organizations frequently overlook. Nineteen transgender women have been murdered in the U.S. so far this year, and the total keeps growing. Nineteen women have been beaten, stabbed, burned, dismembered or shot to death — largely because the LGB organizations that were founded by the blood and sweat of trans women of color have turned their backs in the past out of a move to be seen as more “respectable” and palatable to cishet America.
    Putting it another way, the transgender community has had 19 Matthew Shepards so far this year alone.
    Now that the transgender movement has its moment in the media, more LGB organizations are embracing the T and becoming fully LGBT inclusive. Yet the depiction of events at Stonewall in Emmerich’s portrayal serves to add to the myriad of other productions and narratives which have sought to incorrectly portray Stonewall as a white gay male party — and furthers the harmful view that transgender is a new phenomena. Stonewall was started by the “Queens” – trans women of color and drag performers of color, lesbians, sex workers, homeless queer youth, and gays of all types — not by clean-cut white college boys.
    In an attempt to counter the whitewashing and ciswashing by Emmerich, a group calling itself S.A.I.D, or “Stonewalling Accurate & Inclusive Depictions,” has created an educational rally scheduled to take place on Thursday 27th August at Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank, CA.

    The following are scheduled to speak at the event:
    Professor Jennifer Thompson, Ph.D. — CSUF History Dept., Black trans woman, historian of African studies
    Dr. Marie Cartier, CSU Northridge (Gender & Women’s Studies), historian, openly lesbian author
    Ashley Love, journalist, S.A.I.D. organizer, Black Trans* Women’s Lives Matter coordinator, transsexual/intersex advocate
    Rachel Rose Luckey, Stonewall Democratic Club, Chair of Transgender Community Issues
    Eli Erlick, Director of Trans Student Educational Resources, trans woman
    Jennicet Eva Gutierrez, Familia: Trans QLM co-founder, Latina trans woman (made headlines this summer after interjecting President Obama’s White House speech to decry the violence faced by detained Latina trans women)
    Jonel Hudson, former MTV Networks employee, Black trans woman, artist
    Faith Cheltenham, BiNet USA President.
    If you are trans, an ally, or simply a member of the greater LGBT, you are invited to attend the event. Come and meet the speakers and add your voice in solidarity with the women who have been killed this year, as well as help to put an end to the fallacious portrayal of transgender people in queer history and help to build a bridge between LGBTQ of all types and ages.
    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




    Source: News

  5. Il trailer di Stonewall è un cumulo di menzogne
    di Marta Magni, • 11 ago 2015 Nessuno commento

    Facebook0
    Twitter0
    Google +

    L’hai già visto succedere.
    Questa è la storia di un bravo ragazzo bianco, un bravo ragazzo bianco cisgender con la testa piena di sogni e un’indole sensibile che scappa dalla sua piccola, gretta cittadina di campagna dove tutti sono grezzi ma la mamma gli vuole bene ed approda nella grande mela, dove invece, assieme all’ammore, troverà una una grande famiglia di adorabili strambi pronta a volergli bene per quello che è e soprattutto troverà una coscienza sociale. Una coscienza sociale che, come tutte le coscienze sociali generate dall’aver vissuto in mezzo alla gente gretta prima e agli strambi poi gli consentirà di fare grandi cose con il suo grande cuore, tipo, non so, dare il via ai moti di Stonewall, iniziare il movimento per i diritti LGBTQ+ e consentire a noi tutti, oggi, di vivere un po’ meno vessati se non discretamente bene. Grazie Danny.

    Giusto? No.
    Questa è la storia di Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major Griffin Gracy, di Stormé DeLarverie. Questa è la storia delle drag queen e delle donne transgender di colore che hanno dato il via ai moti di Stonewall.

    Queste sono le facce di chi, nel giugno del 1969, ha iniziato una rivolta allo Stonewall Inn. Non Danny, non la versione sbiancata, abbellita, ripulita, rimaneggiata di una storia che esiste, ed esiste documentata.
    Non ci sono né puntini da unire né atti da immaginare nel racconto di Stonewall, non ci sono eroi da inventare per dare un volto a chi s’è alzato in piedi ed ha iniziato una rivoluzione. Ci sono invece testimonianze, interviste, foto, racconti di come si sono svolti i fatti. Se oggi a giugno piovono foto arcobaleno e matrimoni egualitari, hashtag toccanti e leggi a tutela degli individui LGBTQ+ non è merito di nessun Danny, personaggio fittizio in un film che dichiara, dichiarando una sonora cazzata, d’essere “tratto da una storia vera”.
    Questa non è una storia che puoi riscrivere come se fosse una puntata di Glee. Non è la versione più gay di The Perks of Being a Wallflower e non è un edificante racconto che scalderà i cuori perché Danny trova l’amore e una famiglia tutta sua e una causa per cui combattere ed è bianco, ed è carino, ed è innamorato, ed è cisgender, ed è così solo così che “i gay” possono essere, è solo così che possiamo essere raccontati. Questa versione melliflua e sempre uguale, in cui il nostro amore è proprio uguale al vostro e se ci fanno sopra gli spot tv dobbiamo solo esserne felici.

    C’è già la storia di Stonewall: è la storia delle donne, delle drag queen, delle transgender, degli attivisti, degli uomini gay e delle lesbiche che nel giugno del 1969 hanno detto anche basta ai soprusi della polizia. Delle stesse persone che, qualche anno dopo, sono state marginalizzate dal movimento che avevano contribuito a creare.
    C’è una storia, e non è una storia bianca, e non è una storia carrina, e non è una storia d’amore. È la storia di una rivolta.
    La rivolta di Stonewall è stata iniziata da donne di colore transgender, e nessuno dovrebbe dimenticarlo. Senza di loro non ci sarebbe nessun movimento gay, nessun pride. Questa è la storia di Stonewall.
    P.S. La petizione per boicottare il film ha già raggiunto un incredibile numero di firmatari. Sì, si boicotta un film che non è ancora uscito in base al suo trailer, ma non facciamo finta che nei film ormai non ci sia TUTTA la trama, o che su imdb non sia possibile accedere al suo candido cast completo ove dei “veri eroi” che hanno fatto la storia non c’è minimamente traccia.
    Fra le proposte avanzate per contrastare questa orrenda bruttura c’è quella di donare l’equivalente del biglietto del cinema all’associazione per i diritti delle persone trans a voi più vicina. Perché sì, diamine, se la passano ancora malissimo.

    //= 360 ) {
    av_size = ‘336X280’;
    } else {
    av_size = ‘300X250’;
    }
    }
    var av_fu=encodeURIComponent(location.hostname+location.pathname);
    document.write(‘‘);
    /* ]]> */

    (function(g,d,id){
    upCloo = g.upCloo || [];
    upCloo.push(
    {
    “permalink” : “http://www.softrevolutionzine.org/2015/trailer-stonewall-menzogne/”,
    “siteKey” : “it-ub05MPstw”
    , “options”: {
    “headline”: “Ti potrebbe interessare anche:”
    }
    }
    );
    var s = d.createElement(‘script’) , n = d.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];
    s.type = ‘text/javascript’;
    s.async = true;s.id = id;
    s.src = ‘//r.upcloo.com/a/a.js’;
    !d.getElementById(id) ? n.parentNode.insertBefore(s,n) :false;
    })(this,document,’upcloo_js_sdk’)

    Facebook0
    Twitter0
    Google +

    Tags: cisgender, cisnormatività, lgbt, lgbtq, marsha p johnson, Miss Major Griffin Gracy, movimenti sociali, persone di colore, rivoluzione, stonewall, Stormé DeLarverie, sylvia rivera, transgender, whitewashing

  6. […] that the first bricks, shoes, and bottles were thrown not by a fictional gay white man but by the real unsung heroes of the movement: drag queens, trans people, and butch lesbians, most of whom were of color. These activists […]

  7. Stonewall (2015) (vs. Stonewall, 1969)

    August 6, 2015 at 9:37 am
    Leave a comment

    I have a lot to say about the trailer for “Stonewall.” If you haven’t watched it yet, you should do so now, so you can form your own opinions before being inundated with mine.
    This film is a divisive topic in our community right now.
    Since early July when the first photo previews were released, I’ve been reading articles and I’ve been reading comments sections, and it seems everyone is angry at someone for “rewriting history” for one reason or another. Many trans people and those who loves us, or, more to the point, anyone who believes that trans people–especially women and “street queens” of color–were at the crux of the movement and not just some side characters are (I believe rightfully) upset that the film both whitewashes the event and furthers the marginalization of trans people by centering on a white, cis (not-trans) narrative.
    At the same time, we have some white cis gays who are upset that we are the ones “rewriting history” (I believe I’ve seen the term “revisionist” being thrown around) by talking about the trans women of color who were front and center in the movement, saying that there were mostly white people at the bar, or mostly older people, or that we are using 2015 language to describe a late 60s and early 70s reality. And I’m trying to listen to where the anger (that I think is misplaced) is coming from. And maybe that’s something to explore, another day, in another post, because I’m sure people are upset about having to acknowledge the ways they benefit socially and structurally for their whiteness, and I’m sure some people are upset that a lot of activists are angry in ways that don’t always feel helpful, and maybe they feel personally attacked; I’m sure it hurts to be a white person who feels like you can’t tell your story.
    This is what I have to say to other white people (especially white cis people), and anyone making similar arguments:
    Sit down, and step back. No one is saying your feelings don’t matter (okay, except for some activists who genuinely are saying your feelings don’t matter), but while you’re worried about hurt feelings and bruised egos, trans women of color (in particular) are worried about LOST JOBS, higher rates of HOMELESSNESS, higher rates of HIV, lost opportunities across the board, and BEING MURDERED. Maybe that was your fear too, in the 60s and 70s and even through the 90s, but life sure has improved for you. (Improved; I’m not saying it’s perfect.) Meanwhile, trans women of color not only continue to have hurt feelings too, but higher rates of everything else that’s shitty as well – like everything I just mentioned, as well as continued marginalization in the very movements that they helped build! WHY *NOT* BE FRUSTRATED THIS MOVIE CENTERS ON A YOUNG, CIS (and otherwise “conventionally attractive”) WHITE GUY, when that is the story of NEARLY EVERY MAINSTREAM MOVIE EVER? Why not, when it really matters, when creating a movie about history, take the opportunity to tell a story through the eyes of…
    Sylvia Rivera, a homeless Latina street queen, only 17 years old at the time, credited for throwing the first beer bottle? or Marsha P. Johnson, a Black street queen there throwing herself a 25th birthday, credited for throwing the first brick? or Miss Major, 28 at the time, another Black trans woman, leader during the riots, and victim of police brutality and arrest?
    THIS is our history, folks.
    “Trans woman of color” is not a buzz phrase; it’s not an activist “line”; it’s a lived experience. There were gender nonconforming people in 1969, being dealt the worst shit of all possible shit, and there are gender nonconforming people in 2015 being dealt the worst shit of all possible shit. Sylvia Rivera, who put her LIFE on the line for us, was BOOED and told to “shut the fuck up” when trying to talk about her experience! And while trans people are getting a lot of press attention now, and there have been major gains for the (white) gay and trans communities, I still PERSONALLY only feel safe when I perform gender along the lines of what mainstream society expects of a “man”, and the threat of violence when I deviate is palpable even though I benefit from the protection of my white skin!
    Black and Latina Lives Matter. The idea that we can only tell this story through a white lens, in a way that is palatable for white people, in a way white people can “relate to” (as if we can’t relate to people of color?? is that not a totally dehumanizing and othering idea??) just again serves to show Black and Latina people that society (still!) devalues them. This is racism in action!
    The idea that we can only tell a story that has a cis person as the main character again shows gender nonconforming people that we can only be on the periphery, even in stories about a movement our sisters were front and center in. This is cissexism in action!

    Sure, I believe that this film will do a good job depicting the violence, property destruction, militarization and militancy involved in the early movement. (The trailer, and Roland Emmerich’s entire career in film demonstrates that much.) But is that enough? Do we really want our movement codified by a filmmaker who has publicly announced he doesn’t care about historical accuracy? Do we really want our story MISTOLD? A young white gay man simply DIDN’T throw the first brick — so why on earth would we be comfortable with THIS revisionist, fictionalized version of such an important moment of our history?
    Sure, some older white gays are remembering, well, what they remember — great. That doesn’t mean their version of history should be the version that’s told, or that it is even necessarily true. It is not beyond possibility that white people in the late 60s and early 70s flat out ignored the people of color that surrounded them, or were among those who booed Sylvia. Sadly, I am not totally shocked that I am sitting here writing this post in 2015, where we have to have a movement to acknowledge something so basic as the fact that Black lives matter. Because apparently that’s still up for debate.
    Stop proving, again and again, Gay Inc., that profit is more important than people.
    Stop proving, again and again, Gay Inc., that the only way to do something right, is to do it ourselves.
    Boycott Stonewall (2015) and support the work of Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel by helping fund Happy Birthday, Marsha instead.
    Like this:Like Loading…

    Related

    Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

  8. Stonewall Movie Erases Trans Women And Black Drag Queens From History

    Added by Amy Walker on August 5, 2015.Saved under GeneralTags: ciswashing, Stonewall, Stonewall riots, whitewashing

    Ask most people who are a part of the LGBT+ community and they will have heard of the phrase Stonewall. Some will conjure images of the Stonewall organisation, but most will be aware of the historical Stonewall Riots after which the organisation is named.
    The Stonewall riots were a series of violent protests against the police by the LGBT+ community in New York in 1969. Many cite the Stonewall Riots as the single most important event that led to the LGBT+ liberation movement in America, and the foundation upon which all modern LGBT+ rights are founded upon.
    The Stonewall Riots have become so recognised as the pivotal LGBT+ equal rights event that in 2013 American President Barack Obama used it in the same sentence as Seneca Falls and Selma, two major points in history for female rights and black rights respectively.
    With Stonewall being such a major part of the LGBT+ struggle, and a major piece of modern history it was inevitable that a film about that struggle would be made, especially when LGBT+ rights are such an important battlefield in todays society.
    As such today we were given the first full trailer for the film ‘Stonewall’, from Hollywood director Roland Emmerich.

    Now, some of you might be excited by that trailer, some of you might be looking forward to seeing the film, but some of you might be quite angry too. To those that are unaware there is some level of controversy regarding Emmerich’s version of historical events.
    The trailer, claiming to be a ‘true story’, tells the audience that a young, white, cisgender, gay man was the first to throw a brick and start the Stonewall Riots. In truth, real historical truth based on hundreds of eye witness accounts and documented evidence that Roland Emmerich seems to have completely skipped over or simply ignored, the riots were started by black drag queens and transgender women.
    Yep, sorry eager film audiences but you’re waiting to watch a lie. The film that is being depicted as the historical telling of one of the most important moments in LGBT+ history is completely fictitious. Yes, the riot actually happened, that’s not made up, but everything else in this film appears to be.

    The two people most credited with sparking the riots and paving the way for modern LGBT+ rights were Marsha P.Johnson, a black drag queen, and Silvia Rivera, a transgender woman. It was not a cisgender, white, gay man named Danny. The two people who are universally recognised as starting the riots aren’t even in the film!
    For those of you who might not think that it’s such a big deal, that it’s just Hollywood tweaking a story to make it work on film a little better, shut the hell up! It is important. If you went to see the film Selma and they’d cut out Martin Luther King Jr. and instead had the march being led by Jackie Chan you’d probably think that there’s something wrong there.
    Changing history like that is wrong. Hollywood and Roland Emmerich are trying to take away the accomplishments of these two women, and others like them, and give it to white men, yet again. Not only is it historically innacurate but its totally god damn disrespectful.
    This film is a slap in the face to the people who took part in the riots, who fought in the streets for your right to be treated like a human being. It’s an insult to the LGBT+ community, to trans people, to drag queens, to women and people of colour. Hollywood have taken our moment of major historical significance and told us that the only way people will care is with a white man as the hero, that the only way change really happens is if a white man fights for it. Hollywood’s hero complex at its absolute worst.
    Do not support this film, do not promote it, advise it or even go and see it. It’s a whitewashing, tranphobic piece of cinema that wants to crap on an important historical moment.
    Amy.
    xx
    Follow Amy on Twitter
    Join Amy on Facebook

    Add Amy on Tumblr

    Join Her Fans on Facebook
    !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);lang: en_USShare this:SharePinterestLinkedInEmailPrintRedditTumblr

    Related
    Comments commentsAmy WalkerManaging Editor at Planet TransgenderManaging Editor Amy Walker
    Amy is a published comic book writer and letterer living in the UK.
    Amy began her writing career before she started her transition from male to female, working with the British publisher ‘Reaper’ where she wrote a number of issues of the company’s flagship book ‘Bex’.
    Now working under her female identity Amy has worked on a number of web comics as a letterer. She has contributed to both ‘A Stranger Comes to Town’ and ‘Circles’, which was nominated for an Arcade Award in 2013. She has also lettered work that has been published by the popular horror festival FrightFest.
    As well as working in the comics industry Amy has also been maintaining a popular web blog, http://www.transgirlwriter.blogspot.co.uk

  9. So I as the grand vampire of news have not posted for a long time, enslumbered (it’s not a real word, but damn that) as I have been editing, but now I’ve wrested the reins from my colleagues to soar into a good old fashioned rage!
    With the landmark ruling to legalise same-sex marriage across the United States of America, a decision drawing infantile calls for civil disobedience from bigots claiming to be anything other than bigots, it was inevitable in this heady climate of LGBTQ backslapping that a film about the beginning of the struggle for people like me would be on its way. Roland Emmerich’s “Stonewall” has rolled up claiming to be just such a film to authentically capture the ‘true story’ of that turning point for LGBTQ rights so monumental that Barack Obama mentioned the Stonewall Riots in the same breath as Seneca Falls (when those nasty feminists reared up demanding more, the cheek of it) and Selma (when the uppity coloured folk demanded more).
    The story of the film Stonewall is a fictionalised one of a young gay man named Danny fleeing his corn-fed roots to live in New York, ending up with the assorted queers of the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Here he finds acceptance from the marginalised but he didn’t realise the petty, cruel oppression of the NYPD against people who didn’t conform to the sexual norm. On that fateful day when the down, out but not out-for-the-count queer community of the Stonewall Inn was again raided for no good reason by the NYPD, Emmerich’s film says that Danny threw that first brick through the window of the bar when the embattled police barricaded themselves within.
    Bravo, Roland, have an Oscar you sensitive bastard! A gay man telling the story of the birth of the modern gay rights movement must surely be a sign of the times. Why, yes it is! Now I don’t like to bash, but Roland Emmerich is a wealthy, white, cis-gender gay man. I don’t take issue with his wealth, I take issue with him fundamentally misrepresenting this historical fact by placing a white gay man at the centre of the action.
     
    Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, the true face of Stonewall
    Transgender people and women, mostly recognisably not white folks, were the instigators and it was a black trans drag queen Marsha P. Johnson who was at the heart of the inciting incident. And it was Puerto Rican transwoman Sylvia Riveria, a.k.a. Miss Major, that launched the first high heel at the police putting her sisters in the back of paddy wagons. And when queens are throwing their heels, they mean business! Both of these women went on to become key figures in LGBTQ activism, also campaigning against racism, sexual violence, transphobia, and for AIDS awareness and treatment.
    To be very clear, the Stonewall Riots WERE NOT spearheaded by some young white twink. There were certainly white gay men there, but as Roy McCarthy (who was actually there so I like to believe him) says, “the gays joined in”. He acknowledges that this moment in history is not one that can have a white saviour slapped onto it. The patrons of Stonewall had among them prostitutes (McCarthy himself was one), drug addicts, drag queens, and a huge transgender contingent; they were the people forced out of other gay clubs because they just weren’t palatable for assimilation. These people were forced onto the edge of society and the edge of the queer community.
     
    Do you know where the indomitable Miss Major is in the film “Stonewall”? Nowhere. Sylvia Rivera is not even  a footnote. Do you
    I’d much rather see a film about these sisters. Fierce as fuck for freedom!
    know where Marsha P. Johson is in Emmerich’s masterwork? A minor character, relegated to the edge of the screen, and lost among a sea of credits. The trans community and ethnic community in the great big rainbow is a sideshow in Emmerich’s film. These communities have too long been a sideshow in the public face gay rights organisations present to the the heteronormative world. In 1973, the Queens Liberation Front had been fighting in court for 3 years against discrimination, but ultimately removed protections for trans people from the wording of the bill to see it passed. The trans community sacrificed its own well-being so that the rest of the queer community could breathe easier.
    In this time where Laverne Cox and Caitlin Jenner are conquering headlines, should we not show the trans community the respect it deserves? The situation for ordinary trans people is on the whole abysmal, improving in liberal nations certainly but not where it should be. Transpeople should be socially where gays and lesbians have been lifted up to, since they are ultimately the ones that lifted the LGBTQ community up to fight. So I say to you, everybody whether queer or straight, don’t see this film. This film is a lie. This film will not educate anyone. This film is nothing new. This film is another straight white saviour come to save the Other. We’re above that.
     
    Chavonne Brown
    Chief Editor
     
    Further Reading
    http://www.themarysue.com/stonewall-film-trans-erasure/
    http://planettransgender.com/stonewall-movie-erases-black-trans-women-and-drag-queens-from-history/
    http://mic.com/articles/121256/meet-marsha-p-johnson-and-sylvia-rivera-transgender-stonewall-veterans
    http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/25808/1/will-new-film-stonewallbe-another-example-of-whitewashing
    Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInTumblrMoreRedditPinterestGoogleEmailPrintLike this:Like Loading…

    Related

    Tags: current affairs, Film, human rights, LGBT, queer issues, Roland Emmerich, Stonewall, transgender

  10. […] recently publicly gained the attention of the masses. The truth is that trans people have long been an important and integral part of the social and political movements to garner support for LGBT peop….  And with Bruce Jenner most recently and courageously sharing his authentic self with the world […]

  11. […] to those riots. It should be impossible to discuss Stonewall without discussing the role played by trans people, homeless LGBT youth, effeminate men, working-class black and Latino queers, drug dealers and/or […]

  12. […] you know, we kind of kick-started the modern queer rights movement. You see, even back then we were not in the same position to assimilate into “straight […]

  13. […] you know, we kind of kick-started the modern queer rights movement. You see, even back then we were not in the same position to assimilate into “straight […]

  14. […] like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha Johnson played in the Stonewall Riots and otherwise agitating for LGBT rights. Yep, those “female fetishizers” right there, holding back the gay […]

  15. […] often the way the story of the Stonewall riots have been told has overlooked or covered-up that transgender folk played a major role in leading those riots that brought out at the Stonewall Inn. (That biased retelling is sometimes […]

  16. […] (although still two steps behind Canada and the Netherlands) involved drag queens. Also read this, this, and this. If you’re looking for a more balanced diet, you may want to read […]

  17. […] See also: Interview with an actual Stonewall Riot veteran: the ciswashing of Stonewall must end! […]

  18. […] Interview With an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End! […]

  19. […] this spirit isn’t found in other regions nor has it been the historical norm.  Additionally, this value has been historically missing in numerous national organizations. […]

  20. @MiaEley says:

    Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End! http://t.co/sl63Katnjf

  21. RT @AutumnSandeen: Via @transadvocate: Interview With an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall… http://t.co/EHo2mQj0 #trans #lgbtqia

  22. @CytnhisD says:

    RT @AutumnSandeen: Via @transadvocate: Interview With an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall… http://t.co/EHo2mQj0 #trans #lgbtqia

  23. RT @transenough: Interview With an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End! http://t.co/Q3bhPlhn

  24. voted “Fascinated” in “Interview With an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End!” http://t.co/Lze2ec5h

  25. The first-hand account was fascinating. I guess I have good sources; Stonewall was not “ciswashed” for me. I’ve known the role of the drag queens and transgender people in the riots for quite some time. Yet I know there is a LOT of work to be done and still much for me to learn. This was very informative, especially with regard to the attitudes and the politics of the day.

  26. @bijouworld says:

    RT @transadvocate: Interview With an Actual #Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End!: http://t.co/bVjgPxCj #trans #lgbt

  27. Rivkah Freund says:

    One of the greatest ciswashers of all time is HRC!

  28. Interview With an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End! http://t.co/UpCI3guL

  29. @KirstyM_85 says:

    RT @SVFarnsworth: Such a great piece about the cis-washing of Stonewall http://t.co/7WvASlbr (actual organisation should read it too) #LGBTHistoryMonth

  30. @grishno says:

    The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End! http://t.co/nYPmS26X

  31. RT @transadvocate: Interview With an Actual #Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End!: http://t.co/bVjgPxCj #trans #lgbt

  32. Many transgendered and many gay people do not know the role that transgenders played; how important…. We would… http://t.co/dNLhmRhb

    • Rivkah Freund says:

      Yes indeed! And of course, we are also dealing with the age-old tension between liberation and assimilation in the queer community. In my time in San Francisco, many of the young gender-queer folks would simply not put up with the lilly-white national LGBT organizations.

  33. @NKDaily says:

    RT @sisneros623: Interview with an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End! http://t.co/2yqUrYoL #lgbtq #history #activism

  34. @Ashersaurus says:

    RT @transadvocate: Interview With an Actual #Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End!: http://t.co/bVjgPxCj #trans #lgbt

  35. @tjjourian says:

    RT @sisneros623: Interview with an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End! http://t.co/2yqUrYoL #lgbtq #history #activism

  36. Interview With an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End! http://t.co/NsmhxzKU

  37. RT @transadvocate: Interview With an Actual #Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End!: http://t.co/bVjgPxCj #trans #lgbt

  38. A very interesting look at the role transgendered folk played in the Stonewall riots by someone who was there http://t.co/Lth1LwTB

  39. @dialogic01 says:

    Ending the Ciswashing of Stonewall… http://t.co/lqgnvA9W

  40. @JLGothos says:

    RT @transadvocate: Interview With an Actual #Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End!: http://t.co/bVjgPxCj #trans #lgbt

  41. Via @transadvocate: Interview With an Actual Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall… http://t.co/EHo2mQj0 #trans #lgbtqia

  42. RT @transadvocate: Interview With an Actual #Stonewall Riot Veteran: The Ciswashing of Stonewall Must End!: http://t.co/bVjgPxCj #trans #lgbt

Leave a comment