stonewall was a riot

Black LBGTQ History Icons

Marsha P. Johnson

  • A leader of the Stonewall Riots. According to several eyewitnesses, Marsha was the one who “really started it”. She was “in the middle of the whole thing, screaming and yelling and throwing rocks and almost like Molly Pitcher in the Revolution or something”
  • Dedicated her life to activism:
    • Co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (later renamed Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries)
    • Ensured that the young drag queens, trans women and other street kids on Christopher Street were fed and clothed. Marsha also housed them whenever she could. 
    • In the 1980s, she was an activist and organizer in ACT UP. 

Stormé DeLarverie

  • Also a leader in the Stonewall Riots - has been identified as the “butch lesbian that threw the first punch” against the police officers.
  • Several eye-witnesses recollections also recognize her as the cross-dressing lesbian that yelled “why don’t you guys do something” at the bystanders that evoked the reaction from them that helped make Stonewall a defining moment in history.
  • Unofficially worked at gay bars who otherwise couldn’t afford security.

Bayard Rustin

  • Was a leading strategist of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement between 1955-1968:
    • The formidable behind the scenes figure of the civil rights movement who organized the March on Washington
    • Through his influence, the civil rights leadership adopted a non-violent stance.
    • Is and was often overlooked in African-American history because of the public’s discomfort with his sexual orientation.
  • Supported LGBTQ rights and movements.
  • Was posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

  • Another leader in the Stonewall Riots.
  • Has been involved in community efforts since 1978. She has worked at local food banks, provide services for trans women suffering from addiction or homelessness. During the AIDS epidemic she also provided healthcare and funeral services.
  • Is currently serving as the Executive Director for the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project, working to assist transgender persons who are disproportionately incarcerated under a prison-industrial complex.

Alvin Ailey

  • At the young age of 22, Alvin AIley became Artistic Directer for the Horton Dance Company where he choreographed as well as directed scenes and costume designs.
  • Formed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 1958 but continued to choreograph for other companies.
  • Ailey’s signature works prominently reflects his Black pride.
  • Is credited for popularizing modern dance. 
  • Was also posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Feel free to add anyone I’ve missed!

10

Queer History.

The other morning I got into a ‘debate’ over the film Stonewall and one person said he didn’t care about the history of the Stonewall Riots or our queer history in general. Honestly, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This person didn’t seem to care that the only reason he (we) has any rights or can even happily come out without the fear of being arrested is because of events like the Stonewall Riots and the people that fought. Yet he enjoys the benefits of it (work equality, marriage, anti-discrimination laws, oh and being able to go to a gay bar and drink/dance the night away). So I wanted to put together a small overview of the riots in the hopes it enlightens anyone or gives someone the nudge to learn more. (If anything is incorrect just leave me a comment, I’m by no means an expert in this). Enjoy. 🏳️‍🌈✌️👭👬

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 🌈✨ Marsha P. Johnson (1945 - 1992) was a transwoman and activist and veteran of the Stonewall riots of 1969. She formed STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), a street activist group, alongside Sylvia Rivera, helped support trans and gay homeless kids and was an AIDS activist during her later years. She was once asked in court what the “P” in her name stood for, and she answered “Pay It No Mind.” Her body was found in the Hudson River, and even though it was ruled as a suicide, it is not clear how she passed away. Rest in Power, Marsha P. ✊🏾

Before she died I said to her “Sylvia (Rivera), it just drives me crazy when people say to me ‘now was Stonewall a gay rebellion or was it a transgender rebellion’”. And I told her “I just tell them yes”. “Sylvia, what do you say? What would you say if somebody says 'did you fight back that night because you were gay, because you were a self-identified drag queen, because of police brutality, because you were a sex-worker, you had to turn tricks in order to survive, because you were homeless, because you knew what it meant to go to jail, because you didn’t have a draft card when the demanded to you that night?” And I’ll never forget her answer it was so succinctly eloquent, she said: “we were fighting for our lives”. And the fact is that oppressions overlap in people’s life, as they do in this room. There are people in this room who are carrying heavier burdens of discrimination and oppression. There are people who had more dreams that have been deferred. There are people who have less opportunities, more doors slammed in their face. And that was true at the Stonewall too … But the fact is that when they all came together, shoulder to shoulder, to fight back against a common oppressor that night, they made history. Not in spite of their differences, but because they came to understand the need to fight together against a common enemy. And that was the most important lesson of the Stonewall rebellion for so many of us, that was the power of what we could do when we all came together.
—  Leslie Feinberg www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaRF0Ohb1mg
Today is International Women’s Day.

Today also marks the show of solidarity for women’s rights by way of a strike: A Day Without A Woman. Women around the world are refusing to take part in both paid and unpaid labor in the name of justice for all gender-oppressed people of all ethnicities, religions, and sexualities. In doing so, they join the ranks of women who have led protests, strikes, and movements throughout history.

Let’s celebrate a few of those women:

Dorothy Height (March 24, 1912—April 20, 2010)

Originally posted by womenthrive

Dorothy Height, former President of the National Council of Negro Women, was one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. She stood near Martin Luther King Jr. during his “I Have a Dream” speech, but did not publicly speak that day. In fact, no woman publicly spoke. “Even on the morning of the march there had been appeals to include a woman speaker,” wrote Height in her memoir. “They were happy to include women in the human family, but there was no question as to who headed the household!“ In 1971, she helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus with other notable feminists like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Shirley Chisholm.

Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945—July 6, 1992)

Originally posted by dannisue

Marsha P. Johnson spent her entire adult life fighting for the rights of LGBTQ people. She’s credited for being one of the first to fight back in the Stonewall Riots. She started the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries with her friend Sylvia Rivera. Together they provided food, shelter, and care to young drag queens, trans women, and homeless children in need in the Lower East Side of NYC. She fought for what was right, and knew how to live life with exuberance and humor. When asked by a judge what what the “P” stood for, she replied “Pay It No Mind.”

Alice Paul (January 11, 1885—July 9, 1977)

Originally posted by taryndraws

Alice Paul was one of the leading forces behind the Nineteenth Amendment, which affirmed and enshrined a woman’s right to vote. She rallied 8,000 people to march in the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington—no small task in a world before the internet—with an estimated half million people watching the historic moment from the sidelines.

And some good activist blogs to follow:

  • Emily’s List (@emilys-list) slogan is “ignite change.” They aim to do so by backing pro-choice candidates for US office in key races across the country.
  • Women of Color in Solidarity (@wocinsolidarity) focuses on being a hub for the the WOC experience in the US. Original posts, incredibly informative reblogs…this place is wonderful.

Happy Pride, everyone!

The month of June is often considered LGBT+ Pride month to commemorate the Stonewall riots which occurred in June 1969. Because of this, many LGBT+ Pride events are held around the world during June to celebrate love, diversity, and acceptance.

Have fun, stay safe, and celebrate love this month!

Black Lesbians from the 1930s.

This ain’t nothing new!

I had an aunt who dressed like these ladies and she identified herself as a “stud” , a word used in the lesbian community to identify a level of masculinity. My aunt had to endure sexism, racism and scrutiny more than I can imagine. She was “out” during the 50s and 60s, waaaay before the famous LGBT Stonewall riots that took place in NYC.

15 Trans People who Have Made History

I feel it is extremely important to know about the people in our community who came before us. Throughout history trans people have made history by acting as activists, advocates, and just by being themselves in a world at that against them. This list is by no means complete but the point is to highlight some of the trans people who have made history for our community. 

1) Frances Thompson: Frances was most likely the first trans person to testify before a congressional committee in the US. In 1866 she was a victim of the Memphis Riot. The riot occurred when a group of white men went into a neighbourhood where former slaves, such as Frances, lived. They burned buildings and attacked the former slaves. It was on this matter that she testified before the committee. Ten years later she was arrested for “transvestism.”

2) Lucy Hicks Anderson: Lucy was born in 1886 and began living as a woman a young age. She was first married in 1929 and then attempted to get married again in 1944.However, in 1944 her marriage was denied and she was accused of perjury for saying that she was a woman. After then she became one of the first fighters for marriage equality in America.

3) Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson: Marsha is most known for being one of the leaders at the Stonewall Riot in 1969 however her involvement in the LGBT community stretches beyond that. She was the co-founder of S.T.A.R. which provided support and resources for homeless trans youth. She was also heavily involved in the Gay Liberation Front. She fought for LGBT rights and for people living with HIV and AIDS. She supported the community until her life was cut short in 1992 under suspicious circumstances.

4) Sylvia Rivera: Sylvia was also one of the leaders at the Stonewall Riots. At only seventeen years old she co-founded S.T.A.R. She was also a founder of the Gay Liberation Front. She spent a lot of time advocating for trans people, drag queens, and other people who were not included in the mainstream gay rights movement including fighting against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York. She was an advocate for the community until her death in 2002.

5) Miss Major Griffin-Gracy: Miss Major was another leader at the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and the community in New York at the time. In the late 1970s she moved to San Diego and started grassroots movements such as working with a food bank to serve trans women who were incarcerated, struggling with addiction, or were homeless. During the AIDS epidemic she provided people with healthcare and organized funerals often one or more a week.  In 1990 she moved to the San Francisco area where she worked with many HIV/AIDs organizations. In 2003 she began working at the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project where she works to help transgender women who have been imprisoned. She continues to work as an activist to this day.

6) Hiromasa Ando: Hiromasa was a professional speedboat racer in Japan and publically transitioned when he was given permission to start competing as a male in 2002 becoming the first openly trans person in the sport. He also is one of the first openly trans athletes in the world. 

7) Aya Kamikawa: In 2003 Aya made history when she became the first openly transgender person to be elected into office in Japan. She has also worked for the LGBT community both as a politician and before as a committee member for Trans-Net Japan.

8) Trudie Jackson: Trudie Jackson is a long-time activist for the LGBT and Native American Communities. She has worked with the ASU Rainbow Coalition, the Native American Student Organization, The National LGBTQ Task Force, and the Southwest American Indian Rainbow Gathering. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Equality Arizona Skip Schrader Spirit of Activism Award, one of the 2013 Trans 100, and Echo Magazine’s 2013 Woman of the Year. She is a huge advocate for the Native American trans community.

9) Kim Coco Iwamoto: When elected to the Hawaiian Board of Education in 2006 she held the highest office of any openly trans person in America. She served two terms on the Board of Education and is now a commissioner on the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.

10) Diego Sanchez: Sanchez was the first openly trans person to hold a senior congressional staff position on Capitol Hill in America when he was appointed by Barney Frank in 2008.

11) Kylar Broadas: Broadas is an attorney, professor, and the first openly trans person to testify in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when he spoke in support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2012. In 2010 he founded the Trans People of Color Coalition.

12) Isis King: She became the first openly trans person to be on America’s Next Top Model in 2008. Her openess and involvement in the show and involvement in the show attracted a lot of both negative and positive attention. She has continued to work as a model, role-model, and advocate for transgender people. 

13) Blake Brockington: Blake first made headlines when he became the first openly transgender high school homecoming king in North Carolina. He was also an activist for the LGBT community, transgender youth and fought against police brutality. Sadly, Brockington lost his life at the age of 18 in 2015 after committing suicide.

14) Diane Marie Rodriguez Zambrano: She has been a human rights and LGBT rights activist in Ecuador for many years. In 2009 she sued the Civil Registry to change her name and set precedent for other trans people to be able to change their names. In 2013 she became the first openly trans person, or LGBT person, in Ecuador to run for office.

15) Ruby Corado: She is an activist born in El Salvador but living in America. She was involved in the Coalition to Clarify the D.C. Human Rights Act which was changed the act to include gender identity and expression. In 2012 she opened Casa Ruby which is the only bilingual and multicultural LGBT organization in Washington, D.C. She has been working for human rights for over 20 years.