Yesterday I couldn’t help blogging about the new movie, Stonewall, depicting the Stonewall riots which were the start of the LGBT rights movement. The thrower of the first brick, and the hero of the movie, was changed from the African-American drag queen of reality to a young, white, traditionally masculine looking/acting man. I felt strongly that this undermined the harassment, the marginalization, the building frustration from multiple fronts that finally made the continually harassed LGBT patrons of the Stonewall Inn and members of the New York LGBT community stand up for themselves and fight back. I felt it too poetic license beyond the boundaries of cinema tactic and became disrespect and dishonesty. I wanted to check in with some other members of the community though, because part of me is still unbelievably happy that we live in an America where a gay-themed movie can at least be made and given mainstream theatrical release. As a very thoughtful Nancy Y. from Reading, PA stated
Everything’s perspective, so the white guy who made it is giving his, obviously. I’d say its worthwhile, if even only to that audience. I love to see foreign films and see the world through another culture’s eyes, so maybe others cultures can gain something from his, as well.
There are others, like York’s Bryan S. who found the movie a catalyst to do more research and was inspired by knowing anything more about the LGBT community.
Personally, I think that everyone should see this movie regardless of your stance on the “white washing.” This was the turning point in the LGBT movement and one of the reasons why the LGBT community has gained so much momentum quicker then other groups! (Having Larry Kramer on your side helps as well). Personally I think that they should have stuck to the racial groups that were there however, the event itself is very historical and a turning point so I really thing the movie needs to be seen solely off of that. I want to see it, but I also have looked into Stonewall a little and can tell you most of the people there were not white.
Reign T. of Harrisburg, PA and an LGBT person of color herself, had this to say;
If it was a completely fictitious story, then fine. But its not. As a queer woman of color, I find that we are far under represented in our community. Frankly, I’m fed up with supporting Hollywood’s fictitious renditions of History… So much so, that I wrote a poem about it. If I want to know more about what happened at Stonewall, I will read a book. Or ask my elders, because I now live in New York and volunteer with LBGTQ community organizations.
Want to know more about Stonewall? About LGBT history and experiences? Ask someone! Hopefully, ask multiple someones to receive as wide a perspective as possible. Here is a great list of LGBT films from Mic.Com that will give you some great insight into the history of the LGBT rights movement.
Most importantly though, remember to greet everyone you meet today with respect, thoughtful compassion and true listening interest. We all have a powerful, and genuine story.