Friday, June 28, 2019

Stonewall Rebellion: 50 Years Ago at Midnight

Aug. 2018 Stormé
Stormé DeLarverie is from here
Stormé was always clear: “It was a rebellion, it was an uprising, it was civil disobedience. It was no damn riot.”
Stories are missing from several accounts of what occurred that fateful night. For example, some say the grief over the death of Judy Garland, whose funeral service had ended not long before the midnight uprising, put many of her followers in a less obedient place: the deep grief may have fueled the rebellious anger and rage.

I grew up hearing that. I also grew up with the impression that this was primarily a white gay male story, of men fed up with police harassment and brutality, finally ready to fight back, for dignity and for freedom. Later I learned about Sylvia Rivera, a powerful figure in that story and in the story of NYC's political struggles at that time. There is a question over whether Sylvia was there that first night:

I then learned that homeless queer kids, queens, and trans people of color were part of this story.

Among the voices most often left out of the account is that of Stormé DeLarverie, the mixed-race Black lesbian butch who called out for others to do something when the cops invaded the Inn. Here is more about her:

Here, from a documentary, are other parts of the story of that night:

May the rebellion continue, for all who participated back then, their memories, and for all of us who came along and came out after that night.