Monday, June 30, 2008
June 28 was the 39th anniversary of the riots that kicked off the modern GLBT rights movement. Contrary to some written histories that have 'whitewashed' the real story, the Stonewall Riots were kicked off by people of color and transgender people sick and tired of police harassment.
I had the pleasure of meeting Sylvia Rivera during a May 2000 vacation visit to New York when I was still the Air Marshal. It was an honor to talk to the mother of our movement about the direction of it and where she saw it heading. The historian in me just let her talk, and to this day, I wish I'd had a note pad or a tape recorder on me since she passed away two years later.
When she discovered I was from Texas she started to go there about Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War, but I pointed out that as a Texan I have a vastly different impression of this complex man.
I've had the pleasure of talking to another Stonewall vet in Miss Major, and I renewed acquaintances with her at the recent NE Transgender March and pride Rally in Northampton. I met her during TSTBC 2005 in Louisville, and she told us at dinner her Stonewall story. Once again I was caught without a pen or tape recorder handy, but then again at this point I was beginning to think about starting a blog since it seemed as though I was always running into various movers and shakers in the community.
Miss Major and I had a brief chat during the Trans Pride March in whic she pointed out that next year will be the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and she openly wondered if she would even get an invite to the ceremonies that will obviously take place to mark that anniversary. That's a good question, especially in light of the ongoing efforts to write people of color out of GLBT history and the contributions that we've made to shape that history.
But as long as YouTube, documentary filmmakers and blogs exist, it'll make it tougher to do so.