Stonewall 100: Riotous Past, Rapturous Futures

Stonewall 100: Riotous Past, Rapturous Futures


FIFTY YEARS AGO AT THE STONEWALL BAR IN NEW YORK, GAY PRIDE TOOK THE FORM OF A RIOT, NOT A PARADE. TODAY THE QUESTION REMAINS AS RELEVANT AS EVER. JUST HOW DO WE DEFINE “LOVE IS LOVE,” AND WHAT ARE WE WILLING TO DO TO DEFEND ONE ANOTHER? THIS WEEK, I SPEAK WITH A GROUP OF LGBTQIA LEADERS WHO EACH HAS A DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIP TO BEING OUT AND PROUD. “WE’VE COME A LONG WAY,” THEY SAY, “BUT IN THE NEXT 50, 100 YEARS, WE HAVE AN EVEN LONGER WAY TO GO.” IT’S ALL COMING UP ON THE LAURA FLANDERS SHOW, THE PLACE WHERE THE PEOPLE WHO SAY IT CAN’T BE DONE TAKE A BACK SEAT TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING IT. WELCOME. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪ WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY FROM A RIOT AGAINST POLICE ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK’S GREENWICH VILLAGE. NOW JUST KNOWN AS STONEWALL, TO MANY AROUND THE WORLD, THAT NIGHT IN 1969 IS RECOGNIZED AS THE LAUNCH OF THE MODERN GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT. FROM GAY MARRIAGE AND THE RECOGNITION OF LGBT FAMILIES, TO THE MOVEMENT FOR TRANSGENDER RIGHTS, PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE, BUT WHERE DO WE HAVE YET TO GO? AND WHEN IT COMES TO LIBERATION, THE CRY OF THOSE EARLY RIOTERS, MANY OF THEM YOUNG, TRANS, POOR, PEOPLE OF COLOR, WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO NEXT? THERE IS STILL NO FEDERAL LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR GENDER IDENTITY. MANY LGBTQI PEOPLE CONTINUE TO LIVE IN FEAR AND EXPERIENCE VIOLENCE, EVEN DEATH, IN THEIR COUNTRIES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, AND RIGHT HERE. IN LIGHT OF THAT, INSTEAD OF LOOKING BACK 50 YEARS SINCE ’69, WE’RE GOING TO LOOK FORWARD 100. WHERE WILL WE BE IN 2069? FOR THAT CONVERSATION, WE’VE CONVENED A GREAT GROUP. MY FRIEND SCOT NAKAGAWA, LONG TIME COMMUNITY ORGANIZER, SENIOR PARTNER OF CHANGE LAB. BRI M., DISABILITY ACTIVIST AND PODCAST HOST OF POWER NOT PITY. CHECK IT OUT. EDAFE OKPORO, DIRECTOR OF THE RDJ REFUGEE CENTER IN HARLEM, AND KAZ MITCHELL, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CIRCLE OF VOICES, INC. WELL, WE HAVE A LOT ON THE TABLE, BUT WE HAVE 100 YEARS TO THINK ABOUT. LET’S START WITH STONEWALL. WHAT’S ITS RESONANCE TO YOU KAZ, DO YOU WANT TO START?>>IN BEING A NEW YORKER, I’VE HEARD SO MANY STORIES ABOUT HOW WONDERFUL IT WAS AND HOW IT GAVE US SUCH A VOICE. BUT THEN I HEARD FROM SOME OF MY ELDERS OF COLOR, OR AS THEY WOULD SAY BACK THEN, AFRICAN AMERICANS, AND THEY FELT LEFT OUT PRETTY MUCH FROM THE STORY, OR THE CRISPUS ATTUCKS-ISM OF ONLY ONE OF US BEING THERE. SO THAT WAS A REAL TOUCHING MOMENT FOR ME.>>AND WHAT ABOUT YOU, SCOT?>>I WORKED FOR MANY YEARS IN THE LGBTQI MOVEMENT, AND IT’S A REFERENCE POINT FOR PEOPLE. PEOPLE LOOK BACK IN THAT TIME, IT REPRESENTED A MOMENT OF LIBERATION, A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF POLITIC THAN I UNDERSTOOD MYSELF TO BE PROMOTING WHEN I WAS LEADING SOME ORGANIZING THROUGH THE NATIONAL — AT THE TIME, NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE. SO YEAH, IT’S A KIND OF TOUCHSTONE FOR PEOPLE, SOMETHING THAT REMINDS US WHERE WE STARTED. NO MATTER WHERE WE GO, WE BEGAN THERE, IN A RIOT.>>AND WHAT ABOUT YOU, BRI?>>WELL, I MEAN, I GUESS AS A YOUNGER PERSON, I CAN SAY THAT STONEWALL WAS DEFINITELY A TOUCHSTONE MOMENT, BUT ALSO, I FEEL AS THOUGH, THINKING ABOUT WHO THREW THE FIRST MOLOTOV COCKTAIL IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE DON’T REMEMBER. AND PEOPLE MY AGE DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT STONEWALL AS A RIOT.>>HOW ABOUT HEARING ABOUT STONEWALL? EDAFE, DID STONEWALL MEAN SOMETHING TO YOU GROWING UP IN NIGERIA?>>AS SOMEONE WHO WAS BORN IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, UNITED STATES HAS ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THE COUNTRY THAT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO UPHOLD THE RIGHTS OF THEIR CITIZENS. AND I’VE ALWAYS LOOKED FORWARD TO LIVING IN A SOCIETY LIKE AMERICA. A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WERE BORN IN AMERICA ARE SUBJECTED BECAUSE OF THE LAWS AND HOW THEY GREW UP IN THIS COUNTRY. BUT BEING FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY, I’M MORE OBJECTIVE THAN BEING SUBJECTIVE. STONEWALL REPRESENT A LOT TO ME, EVEN THOUGH I’M IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY. IT GAVE ME THE INSIGHT THAT WE TOO CAN ONE DAY BE LIKE AMERICANS.>>DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN AND WHERE YOU HEARD OF THE PHRASE OR WORD STONEWALL, WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY THE NAME OF A NIGHTCLUB? STILL IS.>>I HEARD ABOUT STONEWALL JUST WHEN I CAME TO AMERICA. BUT BEFORE I CAME TO AMERICA, I KNEW ABOUT THE GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT, BUT NOT AT THE TIME STONEWALL.>>WHAT ABOUT YOU, DO YOU REMEMBER BRI WHEN YOU FIRST EVEN HEARD THE TERM STONEWALL, THE NAME OF A BAR?>>YEAH, I MEAN, STONEWALL HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PLACE TO ENJOY YOURSELF, AND TO DANCE, AND BE IN COMMUNION WITH OTHER QUEER PEOPLE. BUT AGAIN, BEING –>>REMOTE AND DISTANT.>>YEAH, BEING PRETTY DISTANT, AND BEING A HISTORY THAT WE DON’T REALLY ACKNOWLEDGE.>>I MEAN, THE HISTORY — KAZ, I DON’T KNOW WHETHER YOU WANT TO FILL IN THE STORY A LITTLE BIT, BUT THE HISTORY WAS NOT THE HISTORY OF WHITE GAY MEN SAYING, “WE WOULD LIKE OUR RIGHTS, PLEASE.”>>RIGHT. THERE WAS A WONDERFUL ACTIVIST THAT STOOD OUT, AND I HAD THE PLEASURE OF HAVING DRINKS AND SHARING THE STORY, STORME DELARVERIE, WHO IS KNOWN FOR BEING VERY OUTSPOKEN, WOULD TELL THE STORY OF BEING THERE AND SAYING, “MAYBE I THREW THE FIRST PUNCH.” BUT JUST THE PICTURES OF WHAT EVOLVED FROM THAT CONVERSATION SHOWED A GROUP OF PEOPLE JUST ENJOYING NEW YORK CITY LIFE BACK THEN. AND THEN SOMEONE DISRUPTED THEM, AND THEY SAID, “WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.>>SOMEONE BEING THE COPS WHO HAD RAIDED THE PLACE MANY TIMES, VERY BRUTALLY, IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, BUT HAD A HABIT OF DOING EXACTLY THAT TO ALL THE GAY AND LESBIAN BARS AROUND TOWN.>>WELL THAT’S BEEN OUR HISTORY. EVEN IN PHILADELPHIA, CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE. A LOT OF PEOPLE LEFT PHILADELPHIA BECAUSE OF THAT SAME TYPE OF POLICE ACTION, INTIMIDATION OF THE GAYS.>>AFTER STONEWALL THE DOCUMENTARY DIRECTED BY JOHN SCAGLIOTTI CHRONICLES THE HISTORY OF LESBIAN AND GAY LIFE FROM THE RIOTS OF STONEWALL TO THE END OF THE 20TH CENTURY. [CHANTING] GAY POWER! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! GAY POWER!>>IN THE WAKE OF THE STONEWALL RIOTS, AND THE SUDDEN INVASION OF PEOPLE INTO OUR MOVEMENT, A GOOD INVASION, A NUMBER OF ORGANIZATIONS STARTING IN NEW YORK AND SPREADING TO OTHER CITIES CALLED GAY LIBERATION FRONT WERE ESTABLISHED.>>WHEN STONEWALL HAPPENED, IT JUST SEEMED A SORT OF A LOGICAL PROGRESSION FROM ACTUAL LEFTIST RADICAL POLITICS. AND THEN I JOINED GAY LIBERATION FRONT RIGHT AWAY AFTER STONEWALL.>>WE WERE A FRONT LIKE THE VIETNAMESE LIBERATION FRONT FROM WHOM WE GOT OUR NAME.>>WHY ARE YOU HERE TODAY?>>>DARLING, I WANT MY GAY RIGHTS NOW.>>THE MOST TREMENDOUS EXCITEMENT, BECAUSE WE WERE ALL MOVING TOGETHER AND THINKING IN TERMS OF WE, NOT IN TERMS OF I. [CHANTING] GAY IS GOOD AND GAY IS GREAT!>>LGBTQI, AND THERE’S I THINK MORE LETTERS. FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE PERHAPS EMBARRASSED TO ASK WHAT THEY ALL STAND FOR, CAN YOU JUST LAY IT OUT SCOT?>>LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, INTERSEX, AND QUEER. AND THERE’S MORE.>>THE FACT OF THE ACRONYM REVEALS HOW THIS MOVEMENT HAS ATTEMPTED TO GROW. HAS THAT BEEN EFFECTIVE JUST ADDING EXTRA LETTERS? WHAT DO YOU THINK, BRI?>>WELL, I’M SORT OF A PERSON WHO THINKS THAT VISIBILITY IS MORE THAN JUST LETTERS. AND I THINK VISIBILITY IS NOT REALLY A SITE OF LIBERATION OR TRANSFORMATION. SO I THINK ALTHOUGH WE HAVE LETTERS THAT REPRESENT US, I DON’T THINK THAT JUST NAMING WHO WE ARE IS THE END ALL AND BE ALL.>>YOU’RE NODDING, SCOT.>>YES, I AGREE. THOUGH I AM OLD ENOUGH, 58 YEARS OLD NOW, TO REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS INCREDIBLY CONTROVERSIAL EVEN TO NAME LESBIAN AND GAY. THE NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE ACTUALLY STARTED AS THE NATIONAL GAY TASK FORCE, AND THEN ADDED LESBIAN IN OVER TIME, SLOWLY ADDED MORE AND MORE GROUPS, IN ORDER TO TRY TO REPRESENT THE BROAD SPECTRUM OF THE COMMUNITY. BUT THE CONTROVERSIES WE WENT THROUGH, THE ORIGINAL MARCHES ON WASHINGTON FOR INSTANCE, WHERE THERE WAS ARGUMENT ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT TRANS PEOPLE COULD MARCH BY OUR SIDE. THERE WERE ORGANIZATIONS, NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT REFUSED TO NAME GAY OR LESBIAN IN THEIR NAMES BECAUSE THEY FELT LIKE THEIR CONSTITUENTS WOULDN’T WANT TO RECEIVE MAIL. IT IS SOMETHING TO ME. THIS CHANGE IS A REMARKABLE THING. IT’S NOT NEARLY ENOUGH, BUT IT AT LEAST GIVES US SOME LEVERAGE.>>WHAT DO YOU THINK KAZ?>>I THINK IT’S GOOD IN A WAY BECAUSE IT SHOWS A SENSE OF EXPRESSIONISM. BUT I WORRY ABOUT FUNDING. I TRY TO TELL SOME OF THE FOLKS, YOU’RE QUEER, BUT THAT MIGHT NOT BE ON A FORM. SO WE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO QUANTIFY THAT DATA. SO WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER ON SOME OF THE DIFFERENT IDENTITIES.>>FILL US IN ON SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT YOU WORK WITH IN THE WORK THAT YOU DO?>>CIRCLE OF VOICES WAS FOUNDED ORIGINALLY AS A WOMEN OF COLOR MUSIC FESTIVAL, BECAUSE THE OTHERS BACK THEN WEREN’T QUITE CULTURAL.>>WHAT DO YOU MEAN, IT WAS ALL WHITE?>>WELL, THAT’S THE REAL WAY OF SAYING IT, BUT I’M TRYING TO BE NICE. SO OUR FOUNDER, JEAN WIMBERLY, SAID SHE NEEDED SOME SOUL. SO SHE ADDED SOME SOUL. AND NOW WE WORK IN THE CITY PROVIDING EXPRESSIONISM, BUT WE ALSO HAVE A HEALTH COMPONENT TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR FRIENDS IN THE COMMUNITY KNOW THEY CAN GET CULTURALLY COMPETENT HEALTH CARE, SERVICES THAT THEY NEED, SO THEY CAN EXPRESS THE ART.>>IS IT STILL TRUE THAT LESBIANS AND ALL THE MORE SO LESBIANS OF COLOR, AND EVEN ALL THE MORE SO LESBIANS OF COLOR WITH DISABILITY ACCESS THE LEAST HEALTH CARE IN THE COUNTRY I THINK?>>YES, STATISTICS SHOW THAT EVEN WITH CANCER, THERE MAY BE MORE WHITE WOMEN DIAGNOSED, BUT THE DEATH RATES OF MOST DISEASES WILL SHOW THAT WOMEN OF COLOR, ESPECIALLY BLACK, AFRICAN AMERICAN HAVE THE HIGHEST RATE OF DEATH. BY THE TIME THEY GET TO THE HOSPITAL, THEY ARE IN SERIOUS CONDITION OR CLOSE TO DEATH.>>AND I THINK LESBIANS TEND TO GO LESS OFTEN?>>OH YES, BECAUSE OF LACK OF TRUST, HOW AM I GOING TO BE TREATED BY THE COLOR OF MY SKIN, BY THE TEXTURE OF MY HAIR? AND THEN I’M GAY ON TOP OF THAT? YOU MIGHT JUST KILL ME OR EXPERIMENT ON ME.>>AND SOME OF THE ROUTINE HEALTH CARE THAT WOMEN WHO ARE BEARING CHILDREN, OR WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT BEARING CHILDREN GET. LESBIANS WHO AREN’T BEARING CHILDREN DON’T GO INTO HOSPITAL FOR CONTRACEPTIONS AND FOR BIRTH-RELATED, PARENTING-RELATED REASONS, UNLESS THEY’RE HAVING KIDS. SOME OF THOSE STATISTICS ARE PRETTY SHOCKING NOT THAT I HAVE THEM OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD. EDAFE, TALK A BIT ABOUT WHO YOU WORK WITH, BECAUSE THAT’S A WHOLE OTHER GROUP.>>WE ARE TALKING ABOUT STONEWALL, BUT ONE THING THAT IS VERY SIGNIFICANT IS THAT AMERICA AND SOME OTHER WESTERNIZED COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ACHIEVE LIBERATION. BUT THERE ARE 80 PLUS COUNTRIES WHERE GAY PEOPLE ARE STILL CRIMINALIZED. AND LGBTQ PEOPLE WHO ARE CRIMINALIZED IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES LOOK FOR COUNTRIES WHEREBY LAWS ARE FAVORABLE. I CAME TO AMERICA AS AN ASYLUM SEEKER, BECAUSE MY COUNTRY PASSED A LAW THAT CRIMINALIZES SAME SEX BY 14 YEARS IMPRISONMENT. AFTER I WAS GRANTED ASYLUM, I DIDN’T HAVE A PLACE TO STAY. I STAYED AT THE YMCA, AND MOVED INTO MY OWN APARTMENT. IT WAS A BIT OF A STRUGGLE FOR ME.>>YOU ALSO HAD A LONG STAY IN A DETENTION CENTER.>>YEAH, I STAYED ABOUT SIX MONTHS IN A DETENTION CENTER. I WILL GET TO THAT WHEN WE GET TO WHAT WE HAVE FOR US IN THE FUTURE. SO WHEN I WAS RELEASED FROM THE DETENTION CENTER, I DIDN’T HAVE A PLACE TO STAY. THOUSANDS OF LGBTQ PEOPLE WHO MIGRATE TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHO DO NOT HAVE FRIENDS OR FAMILY, FACE THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES, THAT WHEN THEY ARE RELEASED FROM A DETENTION CENTER, THEY DIDN’T HAVE A PLACE TO STAY. OR WHEN THEY STAY IN THE CITY SHELTER, THEY ARE BEING MOLESTED OR SEXUALLY HARASSED, TRANS FOLKS, AND THINGS LIKE THAT. HAVING A SHELTER, WHEREBY THEY CAN — THOSE WHO ARE EXPERIENCING HOUSING INSECURITIES CAN BE ABLE TO HAVE A PLACE TO STAY, MITIGATES THE RISK OF THEM BEING VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT. SOMEBODY TOLD ME THAT — ALL MY FRIENDS TOLD ME WAS TO HAVE HIV, BECAUSE THERE’S HOUSING FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV AND AIDS, BUT THERE’S NO HOUSING FOR IMMIGRANTS. AND LGBTQ IMMIGRANTS ARE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND DIFFERENT KIND OF VIOLENCE, WHICH CAN BE MITIGATED BY HOUSING. SO WE’RE FILLING THE GAP BY PROVIDING HOUSING FOR LGBTQ ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES WHO ARE EXPERIENCING HOUSING INSECURITY IN NEW YORK CITY.>>VULNERABILITY IS VULNERABILITY. YOUR PODCAST SPEAKS TO ANOTHER VULNERABLE BUT OUTSPOKENLY PROUD PEOPLE, BRI.>>DEFINITELY. MY PODCAST IS ABOUT DISABILITY JUSTICE AND THE LIVED EXPERIENCES OF DISABLED PEOPLE OF COLOR. SO I THINK IN TALKING ABOUT VULNERABILITY, DID YOU KNOW THAT THE STONEWALL ACTUALLY REJECTED A BLIND PERSON FROM ENTERING A YEAR AGO, BECAUSE THEY HAD THEIR SERVICE ANIMAL. AND YOU KNOW, THAT IS A DEFINITELY VULNERABLE POSITION TO BE IN, RIGHT? BUT I THINK ANOTHER THING ABOUT VULNERABILITY IS THAT DISABLED PEOPLE OFTEN FIND THEMSELVES CONSTANTLY VULNERABLE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE A QUEER DISABLED PERSON.>>WELL I WANT TO SAY THAT HISTORY IS HISTORY, AND THE PAST IS PAST. SCOT HAS SPENT MANY YEARS FIGHTING THE FAR RIGHT, AND SO CALLED PATRIOT MOVEMENTS AND MILITIA MOVEMENTS THAT FOR YEARS MANIPULATED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, HOMOPHOBIA AND FEARS OF GAY AND LESBIAN PEOPLE TO CULTIVATE VIOLENT MOVEMENTS. LUCKILY WE CAN SAY ALL THAT’S PAST AND GONE, RIGHT?>>YEAH, I WISH WE COULD SAY THAT’S ALL PAST AND GONE. WE UNFORTUNATELY ARE FACING ANOTHER INSURGENCY OF WHITE NATIONALISM, AND VARIOUS DIFFERENT KINDS OF NATIONALISTIC MOVEMENTS THAT HAVE LIFTED THE RATE OF HATE CRIME DRAMATICALLY, AND ARE REALLY CREATING THE CONTEXT NOW FOR SOME INCREDIBLE FIGHTS.>>HOW CAN WE HAVE COME SO FAR ON THE ONE HAND, BEEN SUCH A BEACON TO PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD, IN THE WAY THAT EDAFE IS MENTIONING, BE CELEBRATING NOW THIS 50 YEARS, AND STILL HAVE ON OUR HANDS EVERYTHING THAT YOU’RE JUST DESCRIBING?>>IDENTITY IS A VERY TRICKY ISSUE, ESPECIALLY IN AMERICA. BEFORE I CAME TO AMERICA, I DIDN’T KNOW THAT I WAS A BLACK PERSON. SO WHEN I CAME TO AMERICA, I DISCOVERED THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY. THERE IS STILL DISCRIMINATION THAT, “OH, I DON’T WANT NO FAT, NO FEMME, AND NO BLACK PERSON IN A GAY DATING APP,” TO SHOW HOW DISCRIMINATORY PEOPLE COULD BE. BUT APART FROM THAT, IN QUANTUM PHYSICS POLARITY IS THIS, FOR ONE END OF THE POLARITY TO EXIST, ANOTHER END HAVE TO EXIST FOR THEM TO CO-EXIST. THAT IS LIKE RIGHT, LEFT, MALE, FEMALE. SO WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO CO-EXIST BETWEEN THE TWO POLAR ENDS. THAT IS WHY WE WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE A FAR RIGHT AND A FAR LEFT. WHAT WE NEED IN THIS MOVEMENT GOING FORWARD IS PEOPLE WHAT WOULD BE AT THE MIDDLE TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN THE RIGHT AND THE LEFT. WHEN WE’RE MAKING MENTION OF ALPHABET, I LIKE THE WORK ALLIES, BECAUSE ALLIES IS SAYING THAT, “I DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH BLACK PEOPLE. I’M A WHITE PERSON. BUT I’M GOING TO STAND IN THE GAP OF BLACK PEOPLE.”>>WELL, BUT IT’S THE STANDING THAT’S IMPORTANT. JUST SAYING ALLYSHIP DOESN’T MAKE MUCH OF DIFFERENCE.>>RIGHT. AND YOU HAVE TO BE TRUSTED. BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I KNOW AS A PERSON OVER 50, THAT RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE. IT’S JUST BEEN ON THE POT SIMMERING. AND NOW THAT WE HAVE THIS OTHER PERSON RUNNING OUR COUNTRY, HAS RELEASED SOME OF THAT ENERGY OUT AND GIVEN PEOPLE THIS EMPOWERED SENSE THAT THEY CAN GO BACK TO THAT MANTRA. BUT WHAT WE HAVE TO SHOW PEOPLE IS THAT WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE, AND STAND, AND WORK TOGETHER, AND RE-EDUCATE. I THINK THERE’S A PROBLEM WITH OUR FINANCES, OUR ECONOMY, THE WAY WE THINK. WE’VE GOT TO BUILD THE BRIDGES, BECAUSE MONEY SPEAKS FOR EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE MONEY, YOU’RE GOING TO BE LEFT OUT, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR VOICE.>>YEAH, IT’S NOT OUR FINANCES. IT’S A WHOLE LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S FINANCES IF YOU WANT TO ASK ME. IS CAPITALISM THE PROBLEM?>>WELL CAPITALISM IS ONE OF THE PROBLEMS, FOR SURE. BUT WE SHOULD REMEMBER WHAT CAME BEFORE IT AND WHAT WE MIGHT BE WALKING INTO NEXT, WHICH MIGHT BE A MUCH UGLIER FORM OF ECONOMY.>>YOU’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT DISASTER CAPITALISM.>>DISASTER CAPITALISM OF OLIGARCHY, OF REFEUDALIZATION OF MANY DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD. THE RETURN OF CHATTEL SLAVERY, THE INCREDIBLE NETWORKS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING THAT WE’RE FACING. ALL OF THESE THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING IN THIS SO-CALLED LIBERATED ENVIRONMENT. WHEN I THINK OF STONEWALL, I THINK OF A TIME WHEN PEOPLE STOOD UP, RIGHT? WE HAD E PLURIBUS UNUM. OUT OF MANY, ONE. IT SOUNDS LOVELY, BUT IT WAS A VERY KIND OF COURSED UNITY. SO LGBTQ PEOPLE, PEOPLE OF COLOR, WOMEN, MANY GROUPS OF PEOPLE DECIDED TO STEP UP AND SAY, NO NO NO. WE ARE MANY, AND OUR VOICES WILL ALL BE HEARD, AND WE CANNOT HAVE THIS SORT OF NEGOTIATED PEACE BASED ON THE COURSED UNITY THAT WE HAD HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. NOW WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF NEGOTIATING WHAT THAT MEANS. SO, HOW DO WE THEN MOVE FORWARD? DO WE MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER? DO WE HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD SEPARATELY? THESE ARE THE KIND OF CRITICAL QUESTIONS WE ARE FACING. THE WHITE NATIONALISTS YOU MENTIONED ARE ACTUALLY PUTTING UP ONE KIND OF CHALLENGE. WE HAVE TO ANSWER THEIR CHALLENGE AND SAY WHAT WE WANT THIS TO BE IN THE FUTURE.>>FOR CHANGE TO HAPPEN, THERE HAVE TO BE FAVORABLE ENVIRONMENTS. AND THIS IS A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE. BECAUSE WHEN THERE IS CHAOS, THERE IS OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO THINK DIFFERENTLY. IN AMERICA, IN THE LAST 50 YEARS, GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT HAVE BEEN THE FASTEST PACED MOVEMENT. BECAUSE IN THE GAY PRIDE PARADE, YOU WILL SEE PEOPLE FROM GOLDMAN SACHS, AND POOR PEOPLE, YOU WILL SEE WHITE PEOPLE, AND BLACK PEOPLE. THERE IS NO OTHER MOVEMENT THAT YOU WILL SEE PEOPLE OF ALL DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS. MORMONS, CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS, WE COME TOGETHER, AND TO BE ABLE TO MARCH. SINCE WE HAVE A FAVORABLE CLIMATE FOR CHANGE, BECAUSE WE HAVE A LEADER THAT IS CAUSING THE CHAOS, PEOPLE CAN CHOOSE TO EITHER CREATE A CHANGE THAT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE AMERICA AS AN ENTITY, AS A WHOLE, OR WE SINK TOGETHER. AND THAT IS THE MOMENT WE ARE TRYING TO NAVIGATE THIS CHANGE. IT’S VERY DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND. IF I KEEP ON AS AN ACTIVIST SHOUTING AT PEOPLE, PEOPLE WOULD NOT CHANGE. I DON’T TELL PEOPLE TO CHANGE ANYMORE. I TELL THEM TO LISTEN, TO SEE AND HEAR OTHER PEOPLE’S STORY. BECAUSE WHEN YOU HEAR SOMEBODY’S STORY, YOU BETTER UNDERSTAND WHO THEY ARE. THE RIGHT-WING PEOPLE ALSO HAVE A POINT OF VIEW. AND IF WE ARE VERY WOKE, AND CONSIDER OURSELVES LEFTISTS DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM, IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE A CHAOS, AND CHANGE WILL NOT HAPPEN.>>BUT HOW MUCH TIME DO WE HAVE TO LISTEN, AND IS IT REALLY TRUE THAT EVERYBODY COMES OUT TO GAY PRIDE? AT THE MOMENT THESE DAYS THE PRIDE PARADE IS MORE ABOUT A KIND OF — AT LEAST THE OFFICIAL PRIDE PARADE, IS KIND OF A, I DON’T KNOW, A PARADE OF COMMERCIALLY SPONSORED FLOATS. KAZ, DO YOU WANT TO PUSH BACK A LITTLE?>>WELL, IT IS IN A WAY, BUT CIRCLE OF VOICES WAS IN THE PARADE LAST YEAR. AND WE GOT OUR FLOAT BECAUSE ONE OF THE RULES IS IF YOU DO HAVE A SPONSOR, THE FEES GO UP. WE PAID FOR IT OURSELVES. AND THOSE WOMEN SAID THEY NEVER KNEW WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO RECEIVE ALL THE LOVE GOING THROUGH THE STREETS. PEOPLE REACHING, AND YOU SAW THE UNISON AND YOU SAW THE POLICE TRYING TO DANCE, BUT KNOW THAT THEY COULDN’T DANCE WITH YOU. THE ONES THAT ARE GAY, BECAUSE THERE IS A GAY COMPONENT IN NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, GOAL, GAY OFFICERS –>>I JUST WANT TO STOP YOU, BECAUSE YOU USED THE WORD LOVE, WHICH I REALLY WANT US TO USE AS WE LOOK TO THE FUTURE. BECAUSE TO ME, WHAT SET THE LGBT LIBERATION MOVEMENT APART, IN THE SAME WAY THAT WE SAW THE STRUGGLE AGAINST DISCRIMINATION AND SEGREGATION, HAVE AS THE FRONT LINE THE FIGHT AGAINST THE ANTI-MISCEGENATION LAWS, WAS LOVE. THAT PEOPLE FALL IN LOVE ACROSS BOUNDARIES, ACROSS BINARIES, ACROSS CONVENIENCES. AND THEY FIGHT LIKE HECK FOR PEOPLE THEY LOVE. AND IF WE’RE GOING TO PUT FORWARD — I’M ON A SOAPBOX NOW. BUT IF WE WERE GOING TO PUT FORWARD ANY VISION, I THINK IT IS A VISION OF LOVING ONE ANOTHER ACROSS THOSE VARIOUS BARRIERS.>>YEAH. AND I WANT TO ADD SOMETHING TO THE CONVERSATION, HONESTLY, BECAUSE I FIND THAT PRIDE IS USUALLY ALL ABOUT HOMOGENEITY. AND I WANT TO INCLUDE THE VOICES OF DISABLED PEOPLE, OF QUEER DISABLED PEOPLE, DISABLED PEOPLE OF COLOR, TRANS DISABLED PEOPLE. THE FACT THAT THAT WE ARE INVISIBLE, COMPLETELY INVISIBLE. AND PRIDE IS COMPLETELY INACCESSIBLE, AND THE PARTIES THAT HAPPEN ARE ALSO INACCESSIBLE. WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WAYS TO INCLUDE DISABILITY JUSTICE.>>WHAT WOULD BE SOME OF THOSE WAYS? NOW WE’RE FINALLY GETTING TO LOOKING AHEAD 50 YEARS. WHAT WOULD A SOCIETY THAT PUT LOVE AS THE FIRST VALUE, SAPPY AS IT SOUNDS, FIRST, LOOK LIKE FOR YOU, FOR EXAMPLE?>>OH DEFINITELY. WELL YOU KNOW, I BELIEVE ACCESS IS LOVE. AND I WANT TO BELIEVE A WORLD, A STONEWALL THAT’S FULLY ACCESSIBLE. I GO ON THE WEBSITE, WENT ON THE WEBSITE TODAY, CHECK OUT IF THEY HAVE ACCESSIBILITY. THEY HAVE NOTHING THERE ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY. THEY HAVE NOTHING THERE.>>FOR THE BAR, OR FOR THE PROTEST?>>EXACTLY. FOR THE BAR OR THE PROTEST, OR OTHER PRIDE PARTIES THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU. HONESTLY, I THINK THAT WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE, WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT ALL TYPES OF BODIES. WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT MOVING TOGETHER, NOT JUST ONE PERSON MOVING ALONE, NOT JUST ONE MOVEMENT MOVING ALONE. COLLECTIVE LIBERATION IS ABOUT ALL. AND I FIND THAT DISABLED PEOPLE ARE OFTEN LEFT OUT OF THE CONVERSATION. I REALLY WANT TO CHANGE THAT.>>SCOT, I KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO GIVE ME A REALITY CHECK HERE.>>NO, I ACTUALLY DO BELIEVE IN LOVE. I BELIEVE PEOPLE JOIN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS BECAUSE THEY’RE LOOKING FOR LOVE. THEY’RE LOOKING FOR RECOGNITION AND RESPECT. IF YOU’RE HUNGRY, THERE ARE BETTER WAYS OF GETTING FED THAN JOINING A MARCH TO DEMAND DIGNITY FOR YOUR FAMILY. WHAT DRIVES YOU TO THAT MOMENT IS LOVE. AND I THINK THAT WE NEED TO BUILD ON THAT.>>EDAFE?>>FOR ME, LOVE IS ACCEPTANCE AND SHARING. BECAUSE WHEN I CAME OUT AS GAY, IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT FOR ME. I DIDN’T SEE ANYBODY THAT LOOKS LIKE ME, OR TALKS LIKE ME. WE AS A COMMUNITY THAT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ACHIEVE SOME LEVEL OF ACCEPTANCE, SHOULD TRICKLE IT DOWN TO OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD, LIKE THE NRA FOR EXAMPLE. THEY ARE FIGHTING GUN RIGHT MOVEMENTS IN EVERY OTHER PART OF THE WORLD BECAUSE A FIGHT FOR QUEER PEOPLE HERE IS A FIGHT FOR QUEER PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. SO WE SHOULD SHARE OUR LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE EVERYWHERE BY SPREADING TO EVERY PART OF THE WORLD. SECONDLY, IS THAT GAY PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO ADOPT CHILDREN LIKE STRAIGHT PEOPLE. AND IN THE NEXT 50 YEARS, I WANT IT TO LOOK LIKE, TWO GAY PEOPLE ARE GETTING MARRIED, THEY ARE ADOPTING A CHILD, IT’S LIKE A STRAIGHT MALE AND A FEMALE ARE GETTING MARRIED AND THEY’RE ADOPTING A CHILD. HERE IN AMERICA AND ABROAD, IS JUST SHARING THE LOVE ABROAD.>>KAZ, TIME FOR MORE.>>LOVE, IT SHOWS WHEN YOU CARE. IF YOU WANT CHANGE, OR AS THEY SAY, MAKE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE, I WOULD SAY GO TO THE CLUBS, BECAUSE WE KNOW WHERE THE CLUBS ARE, AND SEE THE RAMP THAT’S NOT THERE AND TRY TO GET ONE IN. AND THAT’S WHAT CIRCLE OF VOICES’ FOUNDER DID. SHE WENT TO A MUSIC FESTIVAL, DIDN’T LIKE IT, SO SHE CREATED ONE WITH ALL THE ISMS THAT HER PEOPLE ASPIRE TO. AND THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO SEE IN 100 YEARS, FROM HEAVEN OR WHEREVER I AM, THAT WE HAVE A FULL LOVING GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT STOOD TOGETHER, THAT ARE WORKING TOGETHER. AND EVERY VOICE, LET IT BE HEARD IN SOME WAY, AND RE-EDUCATE, AND SHOW THE IMPORTANCE OF PHILANTHROPIC SUPPORT. DON’T ALWAYS TAKE FROM THE NOT-FOR-PROFIT. IF YOU HAVE A BLESSING ONE DAY, GIVE A DOLLAR TO THAT NOT-FOR-PROFIT THAT’S BEEN GIVING YOU METRO CARDS FOR THREE OR FOUR YEARS. BECAUSE EVERY PENNY COUNTS.>>LAST WORD, BRI.>>OH DEFINITELY. SO, I THINK THAT YES, LOVE IS ALL ABOUT TAKING CARE OF EACH OTHER, RECOGNIZING WHEN — BUT I ALSO THINK THAT LOVE IS ALSO ABOUT RECOGNIZING WHEN SOMETHING IS HAPPENING THAT YOU ARE NOT OKAY WITH, AND CHANGING THAT IN SOME WAY. ACTING WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE LIKE YOU, AND DECIDING THAT YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD. I THINK THAT LOVE IS ALSO ABOUT RECOGNIZING DIFFERENCE, AND RECOGNIZING THAT WE CAN CREATE A MORE EQUITABLE WORLD BY CHANGING WHAT WE’RE COMPLICIT IN. AND HONESTLY, I THINK THAT THE STONEWALL ITSELF AND THE INSTITUTION THAT IT REPRESENTS IS COMPLICIT IN ABLEISM. I MEAN, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S GOING TO BE LIKE IN 50 YEARS, BUT I WANT TO SEE THAT CHANGE.>>I WOULD HOPE WE COULD CHANGE THAT IN LESS THAN 50 YEARS. BRI, THANK YOU SO MUCH, AND KAZ, AND EDAFE, AND SCOT. SOMETIMES, AS IN 50 YEARS AGO, LOVE LOOKED LIKE A RIOT. JUST SAYING. YOU’RE WATCHING THE LAURA FLANDERS SHOW. THANKS. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

2 thoughts on “Stonewall 100: Riotous Past, Rapturous Futures

  1. Wow, fifty years ago, Army Basic Training, half of us from the Midwest and Border States the other half from New York, New York. Being cursed at by the drill instructors, derided over our lack of fighting skills, one drill sergeant reading the newspaper. "Well this here is news Girrls, why even the faggots are fighting back…SO WHAT THE ……is your excuse?"
    "Hey you New. Yorkers, any of you go to the Stonewall Bar? Well you ain''t gonna get out of here?"

  2. This was fantastic, as always, but it felt off to exclude two-spirit Native people from the conversation – especially in light of the ongoing violence and genocide against them.

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