The Stonewall movie is about to be released in theatres. It’s time for me to chime in on all the controversy. I completely understand the concerns about historical accuracy. But, there are a couple of things that we need to keep in mind.
We have only seen the trailer. It is likely that the film doesn’t honour all the heroes of Stonewall fairly. But, let’s reserve our judgment until we see the whole and not a tiny piece used as a marketing tool.
The trailer tells us that the queer community is not the primary market for this movie. Perhaps that’s a good thing if it raises awareness about the birth of our struggle with wider society. It is hardly surprising that Hollywood, literally, whitewashed the riots. Sadly using a pretty, white, masculine, young, man is the surest way to drive sales, and popularity. At least that’s what the studio believes, whether we like it, or not.
Secondly, the movie was never intended to be a documentary. It is a fictional coming of age story. A kid from the farmlands runs to the city to find freedom and love. The twist is his political awakening. In the trailer you see a young, “cis gay white man” embracing a diverse community. Did a pretty white boy throw the first brick? Probably not. We don’t know who did. Did any pretty white boy throw a brick? Of course. I don’t believe the trailer is accurate, but, I wasn’t there.
The most disturbing thing about the reaction to the movie is the hate. “Gay white cis men…..”. The rampant bigotry I’m seeing is something the Stonewall generation, and mine (the one that followed it), never would have seen coming. Everyone is hating everyone. Demonizing white, gay, men is just its latest spin. We were all part of Stonewall. In the decade that followed we were still together. Standing strong, and united, against powerful waves of societal resistance.
I came out to the rantings of Anita Bryant into a community that included people of multiple races, genders, and orientations. We fought together. We took care of each other. My drag queen, and transgendered, elders helped me navigate the wild world of the seventies when I was only 15. They helped me keep my head together and build an amazing life.
The entitlement fuelled rage being vomited all over social media is pointless. The surest way for this movement to fall apart is to allow these deep divisions to grow.
To all of the “cis gay white men” out there. Try not to react. See where the rage originates. It is time for us to take a step back and look at the culture we’ve created. How has conforming become a sacred value for us? When did we stop embracing the broadest spectrum of queer society?
To everyone else. Please remember who the enemy is. The only way anyone’s rights are going to be gained, and preserved, is if we come together. I am going to see the movie and reserve my judgment until I have. I may find myself tweeting in protest too.
If you choose to boycott the movie, I support your right to. But, please don’t make the boycott about hating any group within our community. When you do that, our enemies win.