As Pride Month draws to a close, the re-mything of Stonewall is ubiquitious. Some are trying to replace a false narrative with something more akin to the truth. As much as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are part of the story, rewriting their roles in an exercise of historical revisionism robs those who first rose up to fight back of their rightful place in history. But there are no statues, street names, children’s books or Google search page doodles for Marty Robinson and Morty Manford.
Historian Eric Marcus, writing in 1999:
The story of what really happened at Stonewall has yet to be distorted and embellished beyond the point of recognition, but it’s well on its way. The myth gets a boost every time someone writes about how “heroic drag queens started a riot at the Stonewall Inn, which marked the beginning of the gay rights movement.”
Now, of course, the gay-male drag queens have been transformed into transwomen. Gay guys, apparently, played only a secondary role in their own liberation, or so the narrative tells us.
Added, and recommended:
If Johnson and Rivera are to have a statue, contextualizing it in relation to Stonewall is clearly wrong, and the rush to turn the pair into trans rights icons seems to be doing the exact opposite of what the New York Times suggested – it’s erasing a pivotal event for gay men by making the dominant narrative transgenderism.
Much has been said lately about the problems of wantonly tearing down statues to erase history, but the ideology behind erecting statues to invented historical narratives might be even more alarming.