As we enter the Pride month I for one hope the community takes a moment to reflect back on all the effort put forth by gay men and women in the past to secure the freedom and acceptance we currently enjoy today. Fighting during a period in time where it was hazardous to one’s physical health to be on the forefront. Stonewall was not simply an activist protest where they went home afterwards and partied. They were beaten and dragged away to jail by the police. It was a time when fag bashing was an accepted method of controlling homos and keeping them out of the neighborhood. There were no drag queens there at all. It was gay human beings simply standing up for being who they were. Making a stand even though they fully knew the dangers of doing so. That’s true courage no different than that on a battlefield.
–Joseph DaBrow, Metroline (Late May, 2008, Connecticut, USA)
Some of the “broad us” at Stonewall were drag queens; some of the “broad us” at Stonewall were transgender and/or transsexual people (even if those words weren’t terms used to describe gender variant people at the time); and some of the “broad us” at Stonewall didn’t publicly identify as gay women, but as lesbians. It’s been well documented that the “broad us” of Stonewall protestors included a broad swath of LGBT people.
Joseph DaBrow’s commentary on Pride Month is an objectionable to those of us who are proud that it wasn’t only gay human beings simply standing up for being who they were, but instead know it was LGBT people standing up for who they were and who we are. As a term, gay isn’t always seen as inclusive of us all, and in this case gay isn’t an adequate descriptor of who was there at Stonewall.
So in this case,
my peers a number of my Connecticut based peers and I are also making a stand: we will not stand by to be quietly homogenized away from the civil rights and social justice implications of Stonewall; we don’t accept being hidden behind a non-inclusive use of the term gay.
Frankly, it’s not in the best interest of those of us whose civil rights may depend on the language of gender identity and expression being included in civil rights legislation to accept when our members’ contributions to our broad community’s history are being in any way minimized or erased.
H/t: Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition