This is a topic that really needs no introduction. Most of the queer community is aware of the impact that the riots at Stonewall had and of the fact that this is the 50th anniversary of those riots.
It’s often tossed around via memes and posts in our community that we only have rights because a group of queer and trans black folks stood up for us. That’s very true. But it’s often used as a way to push a specific political agenda, like no police at Pride, no corporations, or as a way to tell another group to sit down, be quiet, and pay respects.
That’s all good and well, and definitely needed sometimes. But let’s take a moment to reflect on the Stonewall activists without the lens of politics. The Stonewall riots likely didn’t start because a group of queens and trans folks said, “Let’s make a revolution to pave the way for the queer community. It will be that much more impactful because of how marginalized we are and the stories we have to tell.”
They were just fed up. They’d been treated terribly all their lives, and they were ready to fight back and be heard. They went with their guts, and their guts told them not to take it anymore.
This Pride season, there’s been a lot of debate about how Pride should and shouldn’t look and who is and isn’t jumping on the bandwagon. And that conversation is necessary and important. But it’s easy to get caught up in the politics and lose sight of the bigger picture because of smaller frustrations.
So, for the rest of June, and the rest of the year, whenever you start to get bogged down with politics or petty debate, think about those who were at Stonewall. They didn’t split hairs or point fingers; they just fought back. Sometimes we all just need to get together and start a revolution, or in this case, continue one.