One of the things that pissed me and many folks off last week was the release of a trailer for the upcoming Roland Emmerich directed crime against history Stonewall movie that centered the story around a fictional white gay man named Danny.
We all know who really kicked off the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. It damned sure wasn’t the Fire Island ‘good homosexuals’ covering in their closets. It was the trans peeps, butch lesbians, bi folks, drag queens and other LGBT people of color fed up with NYPD police harassment of them.
And the Stonewall Inn was their hangout.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the release of the classic NWA rap album Straight Outta Compton, Beats Audio created a meme maker in which you could upload a pic of yourself and add your ‘hood or hometown to it. Of course, their are mischievous pranksters who have gleefully taken it and ran with it and I’ll be talking about that in another post late.
But thanks to La La Zannell, we have these reminders of who the real heroes and sheroes of Stonewall were in terms of Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson and Miss Major.
In light of the fact we have had far too many trans murders this year, these memes serve to remind usof the proud history we have as trans women of color, and that we are not just tragic victims. We kicked off a human rights movement. We are fighting not only to advance our own human rights cause but the human rights of all people. We are providing trailblazing and innovative leadership as we continue to make history in our 21st century time on Planet Earth.
It is also vitally important for our trans younglings to know we existed before they were born, are part of the fabric of our communities, and they have
possibility models they can look up to, be proud of and emulate.
We who benefit from the pioneering work of Sylvia, Marsha, Miss Major, the Dewey’s Lunch Counter Sit In protestors, and the Compton’s Cafeteria and Copper’s Donuts riots must never forget that we all walk in their pumps, and it ain’t about us. It’s about the next generation of transkids that we do this work for. All we are simply doing is building on the foundation of resistance and struggle they have painstakingly laid down.
Even though we may not live long enough to enjoy the fruits of that work, it’s trans human rights work we must do. At the same time we must tell our stories, work intersectionally to build allies, build community here and abroad while documenting our history. We must pass it on to the next generation so they can know what we did
in our late 20th-early 21st century time on Planet Earth did to make the
world better for trans people than when we encountered it.
Asthe Stonewall movie whitewashingtells us, we must also be vigilant in ensuring the historical record is correct when it comes to events we know beyond a shadow of a doubt were trans people of color productions. We cannot allow POC contributions to building the LGBT rights movement to be erased by whiteness and white supremacy.
We’re Straight Outta Stonewall, and don’t you ever let anyone try to tell you you’re not.
TransGriot Mote: Last two images courtesy of Elizabeth Rivera, previous three LaLa Zannell.