How Dare They Do This Again: Stonewall Veteran Miss Major on the “Stonewall” Movie

Several months ago, we became aware of an upcoming film by out director Roland Emmerich about the legendary Stonewall Riots. Back then all we had was an IMDB page, but looking at it, we could see that there was a white, cis main character; Marsha P. Johnson as played by a male actor; and a complete lack of many of the legendary women of color who played integral roles including Sylvia RiveraStormé DeLarverie and Miss Major Griffen-Gracy. Then, last week, we finally saw a preview for it and all of our worst fears were realized. Here was our history, a history made real by Black and Brown trans women and lesbians, but it was a false, whitewashed and ciswashed version, a version that the establishment could find respectable enough to be a mainstream story. This was an insult.

*Not Historically Accurate* via Vulture

*Not Historically Accurate* via Vulture

It’s an especially deep cut because there are still people alive today who were there, and people alive who were close with people who were there. We know what really happened and who really did the work, but this movie is spitting in the truth’s face. Emmerich’s version of Stonewall, with its sanitized cis, white male main character, is an insult to both the legends who are still here and the ones who died in the fight for not just trans rights, but for the rights of the entire LGBTQ community. I reached out to one of those legends, Miss Major, to talk to her about what Stonewall was really like and why this new movie dishonors her and all the women of color, both trans and cis, who worked so hard to get us where we are today. Because if you’re making a movie about a real moment in history involving real people, you might want to talk to someone who was actually there.

Miss Major is a Black trans woman, activist and elder. She’s a former sex worker and community leader, she survived being incarcerated and participated in the Stonewall Riots. She’s a legend and has helped countless trans women of color over the last 40 years.

Mey: It’s great to talk to you, first of all, have you heard about the new Stonewall movie?

Miss Major: It’s so disappointing. They keep doing this! My first thought is: how dare they attempt to do this again? A few years ago they did another Stonewall movie, and I swear if I saw a black person, it had to be a shadow running against the face of somebody who was white!

It’s absolutely absurd — you know, young people today aren’t stupid. They can read the history, they know that this is not the way it happened. These people can’t let it go! Everybody can’t be white! This is a country of different colors and people and thoughts and attitudes and feelings, and they try to make all of those the same for some reason.

Not like it’s going to work, but damn if they don’t stop trying. It’s bad enough that across the street from Stonewall, they have statues up to commemorate that night. That’s cute, but there’s not a black statue there! The statues look like they’re made from flour and sugar! What is this? Why can’t one of the girls go up and throw up a little makeup on one of these bitches? And I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, the only gay people I saw hanging around there were across the street cheering. They were not the ones getting slugged or having stones thrown at them. It’s just aggravating. And hurtful! For all the girls who are no longer here who can’t say anything, this movie just acts like they didn’t exist.

And these were wonderful, marvelous, smart, intelligent girls. Yeah, we couldn’t get jobs making sixty thousand dollars a year, oh well. But we lived our true selves. We enjoyed our lives. We did what we had to do to survive. And we did! And now they’re acting like, “we’re so grateful that you did this and we’re going to take it from here because you stupid bitches don’t know how to do this.” Yeah, okay. Because I’m not white, I didn’t go to Harvard or Yale, and my parents don’t have money. What does any of that have to do with the facts? Nothing.

Miss Major via trans march facebook

Miss Major via trans march facebook

Can you tell me a little bit about what you remember happening leading up to the riots and the community that was there?

The thing about that is — I’m seventy-three. So of course my memory is full of whatever is going on in my head, but the thing that’s important is that this was a club the girls went to when we would do prostituting in the street uptown or over in the East Village. It was somewhere where we could sit with friends, talk about what had happened, celebrate the good things, work on the bad shit until we went home. It was the place where girls who did shows would come to after they did their show at some local club, where they would go and sit afterwards and have some peace of mind. To be around like-minded people. You know, people who are from your area, know who you are, share your same thoughts and feelings. A sense of belonging. We had that there.

It’s amazing that they wanted to take that away from us. And of course, authority and the government always want to do that. But they want to do it to everybody. We were just picked on more because even amongst the people who were on the outskirts of the legitimacy of the law, even with them we were at the bottom of that drudge of people. Because we were that one faction of folks that you could make fun of and abuse and ridicule and hurt and no one said a damn thing. Today that is still happening, but the degree to that is a little less because people are more aware of us now. They know that we didn’t start with Laverne Cox and Janet Mock. They know that for years we have been here. And we’re in the Bible, since they put so much credence in that. We are a being, a culture of people, and they can’t just override us like that. We’re not in the middle of a field like they can just ride through and trample us through the ground and go to the next village and rape and pillage all over again. It’s like that’s what they’re trying to do.

It was a matter of the police — as always — at that time. They used to go to whatever clubs they would work on at night, stick their sticks against the door jamb and the lights came on like it was last call, but you couldn’t get a drink! [laughter] Lights came on and you had to let go of Miss Thang and then parade out of the bar. And it was just one of those things that simply happened to happen.

You know, at this time in the 1960s, everybody was fighting for their own identity. Everyone was fighting for their sense of self-worth. Women wanted their piece, black people wanted their piece, it was supposed to be this “American dream” of sorts. And we weren’t any different. There were people trying to help gay and lesbian people assimilate into the real world. Okay, that’s fine, if that’s what you want to do. But I’m six feet and two inches tall, wearing three inch heels and platinum blonde hair and the lowest-cut blouse and the shortest skirt I can find, I’m not assimilating into anything! No one is saying: “look at that woman over there.” [laughter] So that was out of the question for most of us. We’re not exactly the most passable bunch of people, but we’ve got good hearts and we’re strong characters and we’re courageous people and we have a right to live and be here like everybody else does.

The best thing I can remember about that night is that when the girls decided, “no, we ain’t doing this,” some of the girls got out of the paddy wagon and came back, the police got so scared they backed into the club and locked the doors! I mean, if nothing else,that was the funniest thing to have in your mind watching it happen. And meanwhile across the street there are all these cute little white boys cheering us on, and saying “don’t hurt the girls!” and all this blah blah. They weren’t in the fight.

I learned years ago from being raised in Chicago that when you get in those kind of situations, the first thing you want to do is piss off whatever guard you’re fighting so much that they knock you completely out, then you’ll live another day. They won’t keep beating on you until you don’t live. So I got knocked out early, and the next thing I knew I woke up in the cell and we were let out the next day. But that doesn’t mean that you’re not a part of what’s going on.

A lot of stuff that went on about that simply amazes me because they don’t talk to the people who were involved, they don’t talk to Martha or Sylvia’s friends who might still be alive. I don’t know for sure who is still living because after that, it was so disappointing for me to watch the first gay parade because most of us don’t think of ourselves as gay. A lot of the community, the trans community, even within that there are degrees of colors and things that go on. And in those degrees, there’s the opportunity to flower and become your true self, with a deep, deep rich color, or something light and pastel and soft and demure — but they kept snatching that up and not allowing them to exist or acknowledge that they existed.

The fact that they’re doing this again. It’s just so hurtful. What about the lives of all these people, women and trans men and stuff. Who aren’t here to censor this? You know? For me, since I’m still here, I’m bitching and complaining about it at every opportunity I get. I will let these motherfuckers know in a heartbeat as far as I’m concerned that T should have been first. No way in the world we should have had to vote on whether to not to put the T in the GLBQT. Oh yeah I’m a part of that group,what group? The group with 27,000 letters up there, where are you? That’s so annoying.

They did this before. There was another movie out a few years ago about Stonewall that was whitewashed. They showed it here in San Francisco and I went to the theater and wanted to see the people who put it together. I sent them a note, who I was, I wanted to talk to them for a minute. No one even acknowledged the fact that I came. I know they just didn’t want to hear what I had to say. That’s fine. If you’re going to have the balls to lie like that then you need to have the balls to stand there and listen to someone call you out on it. This shit is bullshit. At least hear it! And they are not doing a damn thing about it, but you can at least hear it!

Now, you know there are more people who know what the hell happened. People are bitching about it. I am so ecstatic about that. This isn’t about me, this is about the younger people who are coming behind me. About the trans folks who don’t know that we have a culture. That we deserve to exist. That this bullying shit is wrong. We can’t live our lives the way somebody else thinks that we should. I’m sorry most of us trans women are not between 5’2 and 5’7, whoops. Most of us don’t wear a size 5/6 shoe. Darn. I’m sorry all of us don’t sound like we spit rose petals out of our mouths as we talk. This shit ain’t easy. You know, if they want to do something or want to make it better than you put on a dress and shit, go out and make money where you gotta pay rent and buy food to feed your children. Then you come talk to me how difficult it is. Until you do, you don’t know what the hell I’ve gone through to get here.

We can tell what they (the Mainstream Gay Communnity) have gone through because their shit is on TV and media, and paper, in magazines, in color. I’m so sick of seeing that. You see this everyday. People are trying to live in their authentic self. Figure out who they are. To be the best human being they can be. Not the obnoxious caricature what someone else thinks we should be because of what their concepts are about who we are, why we exist and what we should be doing. I know what we should be doing. Out there they even look at us and go, we are an abomination. You can’t even spell that bullshit. If I’m gonna be one, you need to spell it out for me. [laughter] I’m sorry I just go off. I just rant and rave. I hope I answered your question.

Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and others marching. via masstpc.org

Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and others marching. via masstpc.org

No, that was amazing! One final question. Instead of supporting this movie, what are some issues people should be paying attention to and some actions people should be taking?

See, you just warm my little heart up. What I would love to see happen not just not go see this thing. But you know that white people want to support white, and some people will go look at the cute little white actor! I want people to realize what actually happened and to do something about it. Let’s get together a group of people to redo those god damn statues across from the original Stonewall. Let’s have the building at least claim who the people were that were there, not these white people that they had on in the plaque in there. None of my girls were mentioned on that plaque, none of us. I went to New York three or four months ago and none of us are on that plaque. Okay, these people are the people you claim were at Stonewall? They must have been in the basement popping open beer bottles. I don’t know them! Even though most of us had different names then, still, something would have been recognizable. Two fags, two lesbians and some random person looking like they were walking into the Park are the statues that are there. Someone should smash those motherfuckers up and turn them into the white dust that they are and put a couple of statues of people of color and at least make one of them an overly obnoxious transgender woman 6’5″, three inch heels, blond/red hair, lashes, beads, feathers and put one of those fine white boys next to her, now that I can handle! [laughter] And let’s have two lesbians at the end with luggage because they’re moving in together! [laughter]

Let’s wake up, I mean, gosh, I know this is a serious thing but let’s keep some humor here. These people need to be acknowledged for the role they played. And that they existed! It’s so important that they at least realized that Marsha and Sylvia existed and that they did so much to help the community. And they tried to work with the [mainstream LGBTQ Community]. For me and the girls who lived Uptown, they did so much.

I hope a lot of people read this and get their heads out of their ass.


There are some other things that I would suggest people do if they want to support trans women of color like those who were the real heroes of the Stonewall Riots. People are talking about boycotting Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall film, and while that’s a good idea, you can do more. Instead of just not going, why not donate that $10 you would have spent on the movie ticket supporting TWOC? You can find trans fundraisers by searching tumblr or by reading articles written by trans women of color here on Autostraddle that focus on ways to help TWOC while we’re alive. You can also support films about TWOC history that are actually featuring and being made by trans women, such as Major! a documentary about Miss Major’s life, and Happy Birthday Marsha, a film about Marsha P. Johnson, that is currently in post-production and is raising money. We need to make sure that we not only remember names like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, but we also honor the work they’ve done by making sure that we pick up where they left off and support trans women of color who are struggling to live today.


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Mey is a lesbian Latina trans woman living in Idaho. Her areas of expertise include comic books, witches, trans issues and pop culture. She has an English Degree, a cat named Sawyer, a twitter that she uses a lot and a tumblr that she only uses occasionally.

Mey has written 360 articles for us.

89 Comments

  1. Thumb up 20

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    This is an awesome interview. I haven’t been by that park in front of the Stonewall in several years and I’d forgotten about those statues, but now I remember that they were really exciting to see when I was coming out and exploring the West Village as a teen. They definitely reinforced the whitewashed history I learned first. I love imagining the statues Miss Major dreams up here, and I’m sad for those who will only get the white-boy-finds-himself narrative of this movie.

  2. Thumb up 21

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    I have goosebumps. Thanks for this interview with Miss Major. She is everything. It is everything to read her words and hear her voice when so many of the Stonewall movie think-pieces have been from people who were not there. And who didn’t take the time to talk to people who were.

    Thanks, also, Mey, for giving us all some ideas about where to go from here and how to support TWOC beyond just boycotting the film.

  3. Thumb up 18

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    Miss Major is incredible. What an interview. Thank you so much for this.

    Also this:

    Someone should smash those motherfuckers up and turn them into the white dust that they are and put a couple of statues of people of color and at least make one of them an overly obnoxious transgender woman 6’5″, three inch heels, blond/red hair, lashes, beads, feathers and put one of those fine white boys next to her, now that I can handle!

    I mean, yassss.

  4. Thumb up 11

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    this was one of the most amazing, goosebump-giving, hilariously sad and sadly hilarious interviews i’ve ever read. hell yes to always giving them hell, hell yes to giving back to causes that actually support and educate our communities as we deserve, and calling out the bullshit.

    september 25 seems like a good night for a Major! movie night. anyone?

    mey, thank you. miss major, thank you. yall are the true heroes.

  5. Thumb up 3

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    This post!!! I am so grateful for this post, so grateful for Miss Major and her words and her spirit. Keep on keepin on. Find and live your authentic self! Yes! Yes! Let’s take this and learn from it and do and be better, for ourselves, our community, and our brothers and sisters of every color, degree, direction and hue.

  6. Thumb up 9

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    “These people need to be acknowledged for the role they played. And that they existed! It’s so important that they at least realized that Marsha and Sylvia existed and that they did so much to help the community. And they tried to work with the [mainstream LGBTQ Community]. For me and the girls who lived Uptown, they did so much.”

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      AS A post opp trans woman myself who thou not at stonewall lived through those day the battle raged in many other cities Thank you Ms Majors Ms Johnson Ms Reverie an to a very special friend of mine from Miami Beach FL Ms Henrietta aka Queen of south you ladies fought the battles to make a differnce today you al are the true hero’s please everyone don’t forget the untold number of woman who were murdered committed suicide or died of Aid s let’s forget thy fought an lost the battle to may thy rest in peace

  7. Thumb up 12

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    What an amazing interview! There were so many bits I highlighted to quote, but then I would’ve just been copying/pasting the whole thing!!

    I’m so insulted by this ahistorical whitewash, ciswash, and NORMwash bullshit! I hate that this movie will only reinforce the white, cis, normative narrative that isn’t questioned by many well-meaning allies who rock up to marriage marches, use rainbow filters and will go see this movie.

    There’s a monument in my town that was originally dedicated to some colonial settlers who (it claims) were killed by some local Aboriginal men, circa 1850s. There’s some typical “glorious explorer” statues and a racist, bullshit plaque that was put there in 1910 or so. Twenty years ago, someone (or a group, dunno), inserted in the dead of night an alternative plaque (while still leaving the original) that outlined the ahistorical bullshit in the original plaque (the settlers were killed, but only after they had raided and murdered several Aboriginal people, mostly women). And THEN the plaque also explains how such monuments were part of a racist, whitewashed, sanitised, biased narrative of Australia’s history.
    It’s one of my favourite monuments now- because when people go to look at it, they see the white and colonial telling of history being **actively** contested and called bullshiy right in front of their faces.

    Which is all a long winded and history-nerd way of saying that I think re-historicising (not a word, should be) the stonewall monument is a FANTASTIC idea!!!!!

  8. Thumb up 2

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    Miss Major is SUCH a character. I love that she’s still as sharp as a thumbtack and has so much great history to share. The only thing that’s not sitting well with me is the LGBT community’s lynching of this film over a 2-minute trailer that was marketed by Roadside Attractions, NOT the filmmaker, Roland Emmerich. The marketing team’s number one objective is to get the masses into the seats and the wonderful part is it’s getting everyone to talk about Stonewall.

    Roland Emmerich funded this movie out of his own pocket as a love letter to the LGBT community and he’s being met with hate-filled comments and people threatening to boycott this movie. I really don’t get it? It’s not a documentary, it’s ART. I read somewhere that the LGBT’s reaction is going to drive Hollywood even further from making LGBT content for fear of getting boycotted and lynched. As a straight person who has supported your community by voting and donating to various LGBT causes, it seriously bums me out to see so much venomous hatred being directed towards a movie that’s inspired by true events.

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      Soo…what you’re saying is that if the lgb and especially t community don’t accept hollywood’s white and cis washed movies, then we won’t be getting any movies at all, and as a straight person, u think we should just accept the crumbs…well ok…you can have whatever opinion you want…but that’s a bad opinion to have.

      Why is it ok to make something more white and more cis if it’s art? Why would that excuse it?

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        I’d like to quote something from the excellent anthology Dressing in Feathers: The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture. http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=9780813326672

        More specifically from the essay Cultural Heritage in Northern Exposure by Annette M. Taylor. She praises the popular television series for portraying Native America characters as not only existing in present times (which is still not common) and for writing them fully realized characters who are part of the regular case with the their own quirks just like everyone else. However, she also faults the show for making Ed and Marilyn generic “Indians” rather than part of unique cultural group and mixed various cultural elements together.

        What Annette writes here could apply to any defense of cultural/historical alterations on groups of artistic license:

        “Northern Exposure is not a documentary or history lesson about Alaskan natives. Nevertheless, television and other media need to consider minority groups in more realistic, accurate terms. Television would never consider giving Cajuns Russian accents, putting Muslim women in bikinis, or portraying former President Ronald Reagan as a Rhodes scholar. Northern Exposure would never have Joel Fleischman praying in a Catholic Church or confuse the moviemaking styles of Ed Cligliak’s favorite directors. Yet television does distort and distill Native American groups to such an extant. Dismissing Northern Exposure’s treatment of Alaskan native culture as innocent, poetic license only perpetuates the five-century-old attitude that native cultures are unimportant and insignificant. By minimizing their significants and simultaneously distorting their image, television compounds the insult.”

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      “As a straight person who has supported your community by voting and donating to various LGBT causes, it seriously bums me out to see so much venomous hatred being directed towards a movie that’s inspired by true events.”

      Bahahahaha

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        right ? I love how you’re such a great “supporter” of “our community” but then you’re not listening to us when we tell you “this shit is problematic” and basically telling us we’re “overreacting”?

        Oh, you’re SUCH a good ally !!!

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      other commenters have already addressed other parts of this comment capably but i’d also like to point out that as a rule, “lynching” shouldn’t be used to describe anything that’s not, you know, lynching. that word means a very specific, traumatic and historically grounded thing, not “someone disagreeing with you on the internet.”

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      Straight men just have all the answers. Lol. Thanks for telling the LBGT community what we can and cannot be upset about. What would we do without you?

      How the hell is this “a love letter to the LGBT community” when it isn’t even really about the people who were actually there for these events? It’s pretty obvious that you didn’t absorb a word this woman said if you still don’t get why people are having such a strong reaction to Hollywood yet again whitewashing(and cis washing) history in order to appeal to white audiences. I guess they think nobody else goes to the movies. No, it’s not a documentary(I doubt you would watch it anyway if it were) but it is a film that purports to be about real events started by real people who existed not too long ago in our history. Thank God there are still some people, like Miss Major here, who are still alive to point out the historical inaccuracies. It’s one thing to make a film that is historical fiction about a certain time in history like the Revolutionary War for example and create fictional characters living through that to tell a story. It’s another thing entirely to make a film about a certain event/movement that was started by real people and completely remove them from the story as the main protagonists. This is what Roland Emmerich is doing. He might as well have just acknowledged that his movie is EXTREMELY loosely based on actual events and made all the characters vampire hunters. Instead, he is hyping up this film’s supposed importance and talking about how much he supposedly cares so much about these events when by all accounts he has done the bare minimum at making sure he was telling an accurate story. But that is to be expected from a guy whose entire career has been built around making wildly inaccurate disaster films. You really think we are supposed to blindly trust the director of White House Down and 10,000 BC to seems to think he is making some Scorsese-lite epic biopic about real events that he doesn’t seem to know the first thing about and just accept these crumbs because Hollywood wants to pat themselves on the back for pretending to care about us this year.

    • Thumb up 15

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      The marketing team’s number one objective is to get the masses into the seats

      That would be part of the enraging part, that only white faces are considered faces that humanise and get asses in seats. White male cis faces because it can be forgotten that they are other (queer) and more easily empathized with, viewed as more human than queer gender variant faces of colour.

      But honestly fuck you for coming in here just tell us to be grateful little queers or else. And an extra expletive for tossing the word “lynching” around so causally, seriously what the fuck.
      The time of being slavishly gratefully for scraps from the heteronormative cisgender table is over and the time to fight for the rights of all not just some is now.

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        Im sorry but I couldn’t just sit here and watch your attack this ally because you can’t seem to understand simple facts without blowing up. The person who makes the movie and the person marketing it are two different entities, Stonewall is being distributed by different companies in different countries. Movies very frequently have different trailers, posters, etc. in different countries because research data shows the marketers what produces the most profit by appealing to and attracting the largest number of movie goers. This movie, narrated from say Marsha’s POV, would most likely have never been green lit or if it had not made it to theaters around the world to demonstrate the very important, yet complex series of events, of the Stonewall Riots. This mentality that the movie is bad because it represents a very small percentage of the overall population of the riots is flawed. That a handful of transgender people out of 100s of people aren’t the main focus of the movie is ridiculous and counterproductive to the effect a wide release of this movie will have in educating people of what happened at Stonewall. There are plenty of photos depicting crowds of people of all races, the majority white cisgender male and females. The facts of user stories, biographies, and eyewitness accounts are not at all cohesive enough to state matter of factly that everything is true. It happened a long time ago and certain groups, naturally, seek to gain something from sensationalizing events that first night. To say that the incredible Marsha, Sylva and Miss Majors presence should be the primary focus because they, out of hundreds, rebelled against the police makes no sense or that they should be elevated because it was harder for them. To be angry that the narrative is of a fictional white guy, that acurately portrays countless people who were there during the protests is saying that you would rather selfishly focus on a very small percentage of the community to make yourself feel good.

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          I don’t know why I’m bothering, but let me reiterate what Lex said. We are angry because white cis able-bodied men have been constructed as “normal” and “good” in our society, and other people are viewed as (negative) deviations away from this norm. Either we are dismissed as too small to matter

          “That a handful of transgender people out of 100s of people aren’t the main focus of the movie is ridiculous […]”

          or it is claimed that our stories aren’t relatable enough to bother telling them.

          “This movie, narrated from say Marsha’s POV, would most likely have never been green lit or if it had not made it to theaters around the world […]”

          We aren’t only mad about this one movie. (Although we are mad about this movie.) The fact is that our voices are systematically silenced all the time. We are written out of history all the time. This loss of control over our own narratives is violent and it has real life consequences. That is why we’re fucking angry. It’s unbelievable that after reading this article and the comments you still haven’t grasped this concept.

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      Lynching means killing people (in the US, most commonly black people, one of the same groups of people not getting their due in this movie). Nobody is lynching anybody here. You cannot lynch a movie. It’s a spurious metaphor.

      Art is powerful. When one creates art, usually one is hoping to inspire certain reactions in the consumers of that art. If you make art that screws over the people who created the events that were your inspiration – on top of a very long history of those same people being screwed over in similar ways – it shouldn’t be surprising that this will anger people.

      “As a straight person who has supported your community…”

      Do you think that LGBTQ people have never before considered whether being openly angry about how we’re represented will have negative repercussions, such that we need straight cis people to bring these questions to our attention? If you support our liberation and humanity, give us a little more credit than that. There are probably some LGBTQ people who agree with you, and there seem to be quite a lot who don’t, but especially given how obvious your specific concerns are, maybe assume that the LGBTQ people who disagree with you are engaging in considered disagreement.

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      Did you miss how Roland Emmerich wrote the movie and decided to center a white, gay character that didn’t even exist at the actual event? That’s what people are boycotting over. Not the marketing. Not the trailer. The actual, shitty choice that the shitty director made to erase the TWOC who actually spearheaded the riots in favor of a lily white gay boy who would’ve been, as Miss Major said, across the street watching, not throwing the first bricks.

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    this interview is just incredible — i kept forgetting that i was supposed to be editing as i read through it for the first time. i’m so grateful to have read it and to be able to share it, thank you so much Mey and Miss Major!

  10. Thumb up 5

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    Wow, this was great. It was amazing to hear it from the source–so often this history is presented as over, gone, past, but there are still people who can tell us what it was like, and we need to hear it from them!

    Miss Major sounds fantastic. I’d also be interested in some more coverage of Storme Delaverie, who hasn’t been as much talked about in the furor about the movie, but is also a badass–she threw the first punch, and worked as a bouncer until she was 85.

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    If you really want to honor Miss Major’s work, you could donate to the TGI Justice Project (of which she’s the Director), an organization which supports incarcerated trans people, and works for justice system and prison reform. It’s great she was at Stonewall and could comment on the film, but she’s been working on behalf of prisoners for well over a decade.

    http://www.tgijp.org/

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    Or you could actually go see Tangerine that is out in theaters RIGHT NOW! Trans women of color as the leads! But its easier to throw insults then to actually put your money where your mouth is and buy a ticket I suppose.

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    So glad for this interview. Been talking to my friends about this movie since we saw the hot mess that was that credits page, and it’s so tiring to hear people blather on about “well, it’s not a DOCUMENTARY so it doesn’t have to be accurate.” -_-

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    Best part :
    “There were people trying to help gay and lesbian people assimilate into the real world. Okay, that’s fine, if that’s what you want to do. But I’m six feet and two inches tall, wearing three inch heels and platinum blonde hair and the lowest-cut blouse and the shortest skirt I can find, I’m not assimilating into anything! No one is saying: “look at that woman over there.” [laughter] So that was out of the question for most of us. We’re not exactly the most passable bunch of people, but we’ve got good hearts and we’re strong characters and we’re courageous people and we have a right to live and be here like everybody else does.”

    Thank you SO MUCH Mey for getting this interview and putting it here !
    Also I completely agree, it’s ridiculous that the T in LGBT is so far behind, just as it’s ridiculous that as we recognise and acknowledge more identities and groups within the community (Intersex, Asexual, Queer) we’re adding them behind and then because we say “fuck it I can’t remember the letters” we’ll just write it as LGBT+ !!! Like that’s not erasure ?!

    The acronym is serving best those of us who are in a position of power relative to everybody else in the community (I’m looking at you, white gay cis male, but also myself, white gay cis woman). That’s why it’s so easy for Roland Emmerich to say “we’re all in this together” ! Like, NO WE’RE NOT.

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    Such an awesome interview!

    Of course, in this very vein, I encountered something today that caused steam to shoot from my ears that a person could have cooked dinner with. Larry Kramer seems to think those of us choosing to boycott the movie are “crazies,” and that there’s nobody left alive who was there and can say what it was like. Really, Larry? Miss Major is nobody to you?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/larry-kramer-confronts-stonewall-boycott-dont-listen-to-the-crazies_55c8bcc4e4b0923c12bd7288?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&kvcommref=mostpopular
    I’d “so sad,” but “so predictable” would be far more accurate.

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      Larry Kramer, much as I respected his activism and courage in the late 80s-90s, has always only been about the gay community… as in white, gay men. He’s never used the term LGBT, acknowledged queer women as equals or even mentioned trans people nor acknowledged the high rate of seropositivity and AIDS-related death among trans women or persons of color. He’s basically an activist about one very specific issue— gay men with AIDS and a reactionary about so many other issues which intersect queer and trans people. Much on a line of gay men from Jim Fouratt to Dan Savage, who spout transphobia (and misogyny) from one side of their mouth while trying to convince everyone how radical they are with the other.

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      Sylvia Rivera:
      “Actually, it was the first time that I had been to the friggin’ Stonewall. The Stonewall wasn’t a bar for drag queens. Everybody keeps saying it was. The drag queen spot was the Washington Square Bar, at Third Street and Broadway. This is where I get into arguments with people. They say, “Oh, no, it was a drag queen bar, it was a black bar.” No, Washington Square Bar was the drag queen bar.
      If you were a drag queen, you could get into the Stonewall if they knew you. And only a certain number of drag queens were allowed into the Stonewall at that time. I wasn’t in full drag that night anyway. I was dressed very pleasantly. When I dressed up, I always tried to pretend that I was a white woman. I always like to say that, but really I’m Puerto Rican and Venezuelan.” — Sylvia Rivera, Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights, 2002

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    Here it may be important for those of us who are Lesbian and/or trans women with white privilege to recognize that the invisibility of trans women of color, at Stonewall and in our communities today, is a feminist issue.

    It appears that Marsha P. Johnson may have been the victim of a literal, real-life lynching, something that connects the resistance at Stonewall to the #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName campaigns of today, and also to the murder of a young Butch Lesbian woman of color like Sakia Gunn at the age of 15.

    A century ago, Ida B. Wells fought against sexism and racism as a suffragist and leader of the anti-lynching movement, setting a standard of intersectional feminism more relevant than ever as the “war against Black trans bodies” continues. Telling and demanding the truth about Stonewall is one part of that struggle. Miss Major, whether or not she would herself embrace these words, is a great intersectional feminist.

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    Is it possible to write a short film from the actual historical perspective? Maybe start and end with short voice overs from people who were there.

    Kickstarter the bulk of the costs and go for a simple story about complex people rather than as commercial as possible.

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    You do realize that all of this false, bigoted crap is just getting the movie more publicity, don’t you? Ever hear of “The Streisand Effect”? Because of this “boycott” (half of the little idiots who signed it are going to go see it anyway), more attention has been brought to the film to the mainstream and it’s going to do better than it would have done previously! Everyone is going to go now, just to see how much Marsha is in the movie! Hahahaha!

    We gays are going to remember all of this trans antigay radical activism during your struggle for trans acceptance and fight for rights, believe me. You guys are losing a bunch of gay supporters that you so desperately need. We’ve all been talking. You brought it on yourselves.

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    Here is what Stonewall historian David Carter said about Marsha and Sylvia in an interview published on GayToday.com:

    Paul D. Cain: Where’s Sylvia Rivera? Duberman’s Stonewall placed her at the bar on the first night of the riots, yet your book makes absolutely no mention of her (although you do mention her buddy, Marsha P. Johnson). Do you think that, like so many others, she fabricated her remarks about being there?
    David Carter: Yes, I am afraid that I could only conclude that Sylvia’s account of her being there on the first night was a fabrication. Randy Wicker told me that Marsha P. Johnson, his roommate, told him that Sylvia was not at the Stonewall Inn at the outbreak of the riots as she had fallen asleep in Bryant Park after taking heroin. (Marsha had gone up to Bryant Park, found her asleep, and woke her up to tell her about the riots.) Playwright and early gay activist Doric Wilson also independently told me that Marsha Johnson had told him that Sylvia was not at the Stonewall Riots.
    Sylvia also showed a real inconsistency in her accounts of the Stonewall Riots. In one account she claimed that the night the riots broke out was the first time that she had ever been at the Stonewall Inn; in another account she said that she had been there many times. In one account she said that she was there in drag; in another account she says that she was not in drag. She told Martin Duberman that she went to the Stonewall Inn the night the riots began to celebrate Marsha Johnson’s birthday, but Marsha was born in August, not June. I also did not find one credible witness who saw her there on the first night.

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    Great interview. I loved it. But I’m not sure how to reconcile Miss Major’s description of what the Stonewall Inn was like (essentially, a safe place for trans women of color) with Sylvia Rivera’s description in a piece she wrote shortly before she died:

    “What people fail to realize is that the Stonewall was not a drag queen bar. It was a white male bar for middle-class males to pick up young boys of different races. Very few drag queens were allowed in there, because if they had allowed drag queens into the club, it would have brought the club down. That would have brought more problems to the club. It’s the way the Mafia thought, and so did the patrons. So the queens who were allowed in basically had inside connections. I used to go there to pick up drugs to take somewhere else. I had connections.”

    [From Rivera’s piece “Queens in Exile, the Forgotten Ones,” in J. Nestle, ed., Genderqueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary, at pp. 67-85 (2002).]

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    Sylvia Rivera:

    “Actually, it was the first time that I had been to the friggin’ Stonewall. The Stonewall wasn’t a bar for drag queens. Everybody keeps saying it was. The drag queen spot was the Washington Square Bar, at Third Street and Broadway. This is where I get into arguments with people. They say, “Oh, no, it was a drag queen bar, it was a black bar.” No, Washington Square Bar was the drag queen bar.

    If you were a drag queen, you could get into the Stonewall if they knew you. And only a certain number of drag queens were allowed into the Stonewall at that time. I wasn’t in full drag that night anyway. I was dressed very pleasantly. When I dressed up, I always tried to pretend that I was a white woman. I always like to say that, but really I’m Puerto Rican and Venezuelan.” — Sylvia Rivera, Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights, 2002

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      Marsha P. Johnson said Sylvia wasn’t there at all the first night of the riots. See David Carter’s book “Stonewall.” It’s the best-researched book about what happened those nights and days.

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    Very informative, as a men of color and 2spirited, I also had my head in my ass about the real history of stonewall, I saw the trailer for the upcoming film and celebrated the white man hero, a myth as we should be hearing seeing women of color and trans women as our heroes at stonewall.

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    FAB-U-LOUS interview, Ms. Major!! You make me continue to be proud to call you friend, as you continue to represent with all the realness, verve and character I love about you!!!

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    “Someone should smash those motherfuckers up and turn them into the white dust that they are and put a couple of statues of people of color and at least make one of them an overly obnoxious transgender woman 6’5″, three inch heels, blond/red hair, lashes, beads, feathers and put one of those fine white boys next to her, now that I can handle! [laughter] And let’s have two lesbians at the end with luggage because they’re moving in together!” <3

    FAB interview!

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    The movie is not a history of Stonewall. It’s a fictional story about a street kid from the mid-west. After the Riot started, the msjority of those in the street were cis gays. Fact. Sylvia Rivera was not at the Stonewall on the first night of the riots–Marsha P. Johnson herself told David Carter when he interviewed her for his book. Carter also says (Stonewall, page 162) it was Jackie Hormona who started the riot. Jackie was cis and white. If you want to know what happened that night, read Carter’s book. He interviewed people who were there before during and after the riots.

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    Our complex identities are informed by our histories, equally complex. Seminal moments of history such as Stonewall become placeholders for both our personal journeys toward self-actualzation and dignity, as well as foundation stories for our lives as members of communities.

    No one individual not one community “owns” Stonewall. Neither do the individuals who were physically present. It’s meanings are plural, as are the stories and actions that have emerged and continue to emerge from it.

    For me, the important thing – from the standpoint of an advocate for social justice – is that no one and no community is marginalized as they incorporate Stonewall into their ongoing struggle for the basic human be right to be who they are and to appear in the world as they actually are – including both the transgender woman of color or the cisgender white gay boy.

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      I totally cannot tell whether you are agreeing that this film marginalizes the trans women of color, drag queens, and butch lesbians who had huge roles in the actual riots that were minimized to make room for a cis white boy or you’re saying that we should be grateful just to be included because mentioning the existence of other queers is enough.
      But if you are being reasonable and recognizing that this marginalizes the non cis white gay parts of the queer community, and ignores the *actual* stories that came out of stonewall (i.e. the ones that happened), this gets my thumbs up.

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