Forty Years from Flashpoint Stonewall

In her blog Trans Political Vanessa Edwards Foster writes:

As the LGBT community been enrapt in Pride celebrations in numerous cities across the globe this month, there’s been plenty of news that’s hit the wires. Most all of it in America has centered around Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (a campaign promise by President Barack Obama that has yet to be addressed) and marriage issues or the Dept. of Justice’s recent amicus curiae brief filed regarding DOMA (the Defense Of Marriage Act of 1996).

Individual organizers in the GLBT community are using this anniversary and devoting media to capitalize on the event to address the recent outrages in the gay and lesbian community.

It’s a notable anniversary for Pride celebrations and marches this month as it is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. That occasion was also about outrage. The folks that night had had enough of being treated like crap. No más!

“If the police came in, they were going to check your ID, rough-up some people. The drag queens always seemed to get roughed-up first.” — Larry Stansbury of Capital Pride.

Today, of course, those surviving veterans of Stonewall are all near, or in their sixties or above. They still remember that night well. And though this is a milestone anniversary, there appears to be a collective yawn in this country at least in recalling our history and having these pioneers of Queer history around for the retelling.

Odd. We want to revel in this special anniversary with parades and parties and such. Yet the organizers and perhaps a sizable portion of at least the gay and lesbian community would rather just forget what this date memorializes or the people who created the flashpoint on June 28, 1969.

Included is a quote from Stonewall veteran Miss Major:

I am hoping against the reality that the gay community will get off it’s ass & do the right thing by the girls that are still here from the 1969! The shit stops here. (The) riot at Stonewall – when you think about it – that was 40 years ago. If you can add, that makes us elders, ones that need the respect for what we began and for living with the bullshit they throw at at us…. WE ARE STILL HERE, DAMNIT!!!

We are not going to disappear or fade away. I have no closet to hide in – I burned the house to the ground. NO HIDING PLACES.

Vanessa continues:

We march in the Parade and point to the history of Stonewall. But simultaneously there’s no sense that anyone wants to know or to remember the community’s warriors or even know the history of that night.

People want to mouth the words “Stonewall” as it’s become only an occasion in which to party. Unfortunately there will be no lessons learned from it. In Twitter-ese, time to bring out the Fail Whale.

Please read all of: Who Cares About The Stonewall Girls (And Guys)?
by Vanessa Edwards Foster ~ posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2009

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