Whitewashing the Stonewall Riots

See Also

Miss Major Talks Stonewall
Soon To Be Released Stonewall Movie Is Whitewashing And Erasing Trans History
Straight Outta Stonewall

When blockbuster director Roland Emmerich decided to make a movie about the Stonewall riots -- the series of 1969 protests widely credited with starting the modern gay rights movement -- he may have thought that LGBT Americans would embrace the film. At first, they seemed to. Months before the trailer was even released, GLAAD acknowledged the film in an award to Emmerich for his work “in promoting equality.”

“Millions of moviegoers all across the world will see the harms of anti-LGBT discrimination and learn about the historic riots that forever changed equality in America,” GLAAD’s CEO told Variety.

Then, last week, the trailer was released.

Since then, more than 22,000 people have signed a petition vowing not to see Emmerich's film -- not because they object to LGBT rights, but because they believe the movie is going to present a version of history that focuses on white cisgender men to the exclusion of everyone else. The petition's creator is Pat Cordova-Goff, an 18-year-old college student who identifies as a transwomyn of color.

The "Stonewall" trailer (tagline: "Where pride began") focuses on a fictional blond man from Kansas, played by the English actor Jeremy Irvine, who moves to New York City and discovers the Stonewall Inn. Soon after, the man is throwing bricks through windows and climbing on cop cars.

Emmerich, who is openly gay and best known for apocalyptic blockbusters like "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow," has described the film as “a labor of love.” But critics say they believe Emmerich's movie, which comes out Sept. 25, is going to whitewash history and erase the contributions of the transgender activists, drag queens and people of color who were there at the beginning of the riots.

"To all considering watching the newest whitewashed version of queer history,” Cordova-Goff's petition says, “it is time that black and brown transwomyn and drag queens are recognized for their efforts in the riots throughout the nation.

...Some high-profile gay activists -- mainly white men -- have voiced support for Emmerich and the film. The playwright Larry Kramer, who has taken plenty of friendly fire from the LGBT community over the decades for his depictions of gay history, urged Emmerich not to “listen to the crazies.”

...Miss Major, a 73-year-old trans activist who participated in the riots, didn’t even make it through the full two minutes and 20 seconds of the trailer before she turned it off. “It was too much to watch,” she told HuffPost. “It’s just, ugh, they’re whitewashing it again. They’re burying us in the ground so when they step off of us, there’s no proof that we were even there.”


  1. First,White society tries to erase POCs history,now they want to do the same with POC transgender/ LGBT history.

    Its crazy how White people can tell you their
    "Stories" about their difficulties being transgender/LGBT yet when color is added to it,they want to pretend that it could be that bad or that their struggles wasnt as bad theirs. As many POCs. say ,a White person..regardless of what group they they belong to...have a choice on being who they are and letting their history prevail.POCs dont.

    I see why the percentage in home schooling have went up in the Black community.Part of may have something to do with learning the truth about yourself.

    1. I mean for real, though...in 1955 a fed-up Black women triggered a boycott by telling a bus driver which part of her ass he could kiss.

      In 2013, three fed-up Black women started the Black Lives Matter Movement, which has now gone global.

      So when I read about a fed-up Black (trans) woman co-starting a riot, in 1969, by throwing a shot glass at a cop - the same infamous shot glass heard 'round the world - it pretty much tracks with our record.

      Miss Major is Gay Pride Royalty. How dare anyone diminish her contributions to our society, or those of Sylvia Rivera (may she rest in power). They did...so we can. And while Emmerich and others like him may push their contributions to the back, "bury" it so to speak, there are plenty of us who will #NeverForget.

      Know thy history, children.

    2. " know thy history,children".


  2. From leoprincess:

    You know, they could have made the main character a composite of Ms. Major, Marsha P. Johnson, and Silvia Rivera much like how Tika Sumpter played a composite of Bessie Coleman's lovers in the HBO bio pic, but I guess that would be too much for mainstream blockbuster Hollywood. So Cis White Male, Gay Edition it is.

    I've seen folks saying the the call to boycott is ridiculous since it's reality-inspired fiction and not a documentary, which made me eye roll since I recalled how much shit Edris Elba being in Thor stirred up - and a comic book movie based loosely on ancient mythology is as fictional as it gets. They didn't just insert the character to show the events of Stonewall through his eyes WHILE including the main figures in all their glory*; no, they went and made him the one to kickstart it all. That's like casting Sharon Stone as Rosa Parks and not expected a volley of side-eyes.

    *Seriously, he could have been the 'lure' like Piper is for 'Orange is the New Black'.

  3. Apparently, 'Stonewall' has crumbled. Badly. Guess people aren't tolerating historical fudging in film like they had to before.

    1. I was so happy. This was a tanking of epic proportions.


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