Sunday, June 29, 2014

45 Years Later...

June 28, 1969 was the hot, sultry New York night 45 years ago when during another one of those harassing police raids on the Stonewall Inn, our folks had reached a 'We've had enough of this crap' moment.

Instead of submitting quietly to another police raid, the Stonewall Inn patrons that night, the transpeeps, butch lesbians and other peeps of color unwanted in the more upscale New York City gay oriented spots, followed Sylvia Rivera's lead after she threw the first bottle (and some peeps claim a shoe) at the NYPD po-po's and jumped off the Stonewall Rebellion

45 years later it's transpeople of color taking their rightful place once again in leading this movement after being dumped out of it in the early 70's.   Isn't it an interesting coincidence that as we stepped up to lead and became more visible, forward progress on trans issues followed? 

Frankly, I don't think it's a coincidence at all, but a much needed development in our ongoing and evolving international trans human rights struggle.   We need to be reminding people that you can't spell Stonewall without the 'T' even though at times the GL community tried to pinkwash us out of the collective memory of an event and strongarm us out of a movement we jumped off. 

45 years later, while Sylvia if she were still here would be pleased at some aspects of our progress, she'd be upset about others. She'd be pleased to see that some of the leaders of the trans moment are Latin@ and how non-white transpeople are unapologetically owning our power.   She'd be pissed off that New York State still does not have a human rights law that covers transpeople (GENDA) and how that happened.

Sylvia would also be pleased to see us taking the next steps like running for public office. building economic power in our communities and talking the lead role in telling our stories and defining ourselves to the media .

As a vehement opponent of the Vietnam War  (and I argued with her about this and LBJ's legacy) she would have a problem with trans people openly serving in the military, but if I got her to to grudgingly see the problem in her viewpoint that LBJ wasn't 100% evil, I think she'd be able to see the wisdom of allowing transpeople so inclined to do so the opportunity to serve their country.    

But one point I'd believe she'd definitely echo is that 45 years later, our work to see trans human rights coverage ensconced in our nation and around the world isn't done. 

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