We remember that folx responsible for the original social uprising and gay revolution were the most marginalized people in society: Trans Women of Color, Butch Lesbians, sex workers, houseless street kids and Gender Non Conforming folx.
For the majority of U.S. history, LGBTQ2S folks have suffered oppression and violence at the hands of law enforcement. This compounded with discrimination in employment and housing has led to a history of hardship. On June 28 1969, community members of the LGBTQ community revolted against police brutality following a raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. For many days they fought for liberation. Beloved leaders in the fight were Trans Women of Color including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Storme DeLarverie. These women went on to make their mark on the LGBTQ community and the world through their strategic and powerful activism, advocacy and art.
Sylvia Rivera, one of the mothers of the Gay rights liberation movement said, “Street people and drag queens were the vanguards of the movement. They stood the forefront and fought the cops off. They were the ones that didn’t mind getting their heads bashed in. We weren’t afraid to take a punch. That’s why we stood up.”
Marsha P. Johnson famously asserted during a protest, “Darling, I want my gay rights now.”
It is said that after being billy clubbed at the Stonewall Inn that night by an officer, Storme stood up and led a crowd with her call to action, starting the famous riot by screaming, “Why don’t you do something?” Many believe this sparked the riot itself.
It was the people who were most rejected by society, who rejected society’s standards, that changed things. The Stonewall Riots changed the country and the world, revolutionizing gay rights and giving a voice to the marginalized voices of LGBTQ people who had been largely unheard by mainstream America.
It’s important to recognize that Trans Women of Color are categorically responsible for the Gay rights movement as we know it today. We thank them for their work and the mark they have left upon us all and we will continue the fight.
We remember that Pride was first a riot.
YWCA welcomes you to a discussion of “Moonlight” in honor of Pride Month. July 9 at 6 p.m.
What happened to the June Film Screening? YWCAOlympia wants to acknowledge, support and honor the momentum and activism happening in our community and around the globe. We know these efforts take your time and energy. With these thoughts, we decided to postpone our Movie Discussion that was scheduled for June 12.
One focus of the event is to honor and recognize Pride Month. We hope the postponement is helpful to support what is happening now and still honors Pride Month and contributions of the Stonewall riots.