It’s Not All About The Gay

in Opinion

Yesterday both Box Turtle Bulletin and my friend Steph posted this video:

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/NgJyyszPwuM” width=”425″ height=”350″/]

They both labeled it as “Gay.” But two prominent scenes in the movie are of the Stonewall and Compton Cafeteria riots. To label either as “gay history” misses the bigger picture.
sylviarivera.jpg

The Stonewall Inn was raided because its clientèle was mostly Hispanic and African American, and most were gender variant. After the riots started, police targeted effeminate men. Stonewall was as much about gender variance (anyone who doesn’t fit into societal gender norms) as it was being gay. What history of Stonewall is complete without names such as Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson?

The Compton Cafeteria riots happened because the police attempted to arrest transwomen simply for being “cross dressed” in public. They were at the cafeteria because it was the only place they could go. Gays and lesbians shunned them because it was illegal to cross dress. Their crime was their gender variance, not their sexual preference. queen.jpg

I’m not posting this to aggravate or stir up drama. I simply want to proclaim to my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters that we have a rightful place in this community. We’ve earned that place in history, using our presentation… our bodies, as our protest. This isn’t “Gay History.” This is our history, as much as it is yours. This is glbT history.

Remember this when you are asked to support a hate crimes or employment non-discrimination legislation that doesn’t include transgender people. Remember this when you give money to organizations that support non-inclusive legislation. Remember this when people like Chris Crain claim that we are “transjacking” legislation. We may not contribute cash to the fight, but our capital is in the sacrifice of our own flesh.

Most of all remember that we, are you.

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.

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