The Left, which now includes LGBTQ activists allied with BLM and the Democratic Party’s assurgent progressive wing, has embarked on a path to upturn all that is old and corrupt. This usually doesn’t end well. The American republic, built on a foundation of representative democracy and competing powers, fueled by freedom of speech treated as a sacred right, is less than 250 years old—a baby, still—and the fact that we assume it could not be toppled and replaced by a very different order is extremely naive.
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.
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.
James Kirchick takes on the myth makers, including the Human Rights Campaign, writing:
Contemporaneous press accounts and the most credible scholarship both confirm that the crowd which partook in the Stonewall uprising was primarily not trans, female, and of color, but gay, male, and white. …
Put aside the question of whether the people described as “draq queens” 50 years ago would today identify as transgender (some might, many would still identify as drag queens, that is, gay men impersonating women)—by most accounts they were relatively few in number.
And yet, as Kirchick notes, we have the big lie perpetually repeated:
“Harassed by local police simply for congregating, Stonewall’s LGBTQ patrons—most of whom were trans women of color—decided to take a stand and fight back against the brutal intimidation they regularly faced at the hands of police,” asserts an article on the website of HRC.
What might have been a laudable effort to highlight the role of transgender people alongside gay people in a major historical event has been corrupted by an effort to expunge gay people, and gay men in particular, from that story. After the AIDS epidemic nearly destroyed a generation of gay men, the stealing of Stonewall amounts to a second erasure.
>>Today, a new generation of political and social activists are inclined to speak of “allyship,” by which they typically mean an arrangement where prospective allies submit to the direction of the marginalized group, like deferential guests in someone else’s home. The vision here is remote from true coalition building, from a partnership of mutual respect, from a politics grounded in overlapping moral perceptions.<<