Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

GBT HISTORY MONTH Stonewall rebellion: It wasn't Judy!
by Perry Brass
2017-10-02

This article shared 779 times since Mon Oct 2, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Many things have been said and written about "Stonewall," the historic confrontation in June 1969 after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia-run gay bar on Christopher Street in New York City's Greenwich Village that ignited the Gay Revolution—and an incredible change in attitudes and feelings about queer people throughout the world.

Among them, it happened on the night of a full moon, so a lot of the craziness on the streets can be blamed on that—not true. Another rumor is that it was all sparked by the death—and funeral, at Frank E. Campbell's mortuary, uptown on Madison Avenue and 83rd, around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum—of gay icon Judy Garland. The "girls" were just so discombobulated by grief that they let go of all restraint and started breaking windows, uprooting parking meters ( remember them? ), throwing 40-pound garbage cans through the windows and even biting cops on the legs.

Again, no!

The Judy Garland Myth, I've always felt, was the most pernicious of them all: Basically, it said that it took Garland's death to make LGBT people angry enough to fight back. That was not true: We had been fighting back all along; there were numerous instances of us doing so against huge odds. Just a few were the melee at Cooper Donuts in L.A. in 1959; a 1965 action by San Francisco's groundbreaking gay-friendly Council on Religion and the Homosexual when the cops tried to close down a drag ball the council sponsored to raise funds; also in 1965, the racially mixed "sit-in" at Dewey's, an all-night coffee shop in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square, after its management refused service to "masculine women and feminine men"; the famous and really brutal Compton's Cafeteria riots in San Francisco in 1966; and the "Sip-in" in Julius', an ostensibly straight bar in Greenwich Village, that same year.

People who were at Stonewall ( and I was around the corner at another bar both nights, but came out for it on the second night ) have all emphatically denied any Garland connection—including Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, a reliable witness; the late Jerry Hoose, who was later in the Gay Liberation Front; and David Carter in his well-researched book "Stonewall: the Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution." I can certainly say that, in my own youth, in that period, Garland was as far away from my mind as Uranus. Like most kids on their own in New York ( I was 21 then ), we were mostly centered on trying to survive in what was a much more contentious city. I describe New York in that period as a place of endless "class, race and ethnic resentment," as well as knife-to-the-throat homophobia ( police entrapment; regular violence and harassment on the streets; and at work, intimidation and even blackmail ) that was only slightly moderated by having enough money—i.e. those often-talked- about "rich queens"—that you could float along in some bubble above street level.

Power did not come from the streets then as we later felt, when gay groups joined other identity groups and seriously organized. What the Judy Myth did was make many older, "bourgeois" gay men, lesbians and their allies feel comfortable. If what happened at Stonewall was outside their comfort zone—and for many it was—they could feel all gooey and happy knowing that the "girls" were driven to this by some of the feelings they had: sadness over the death of Mickey Rooney's girlfriend in those sweet 1930s musicals from their youth. As Mark Segal, publisher of PGN, said in a recent column about the Judy Myth: "It trivializes the riot and our actions, especially those of the street kids and trans people."

Trivializing us was a constant in that period: If queers did it, it had to be stupid, worthless or shallow. It could not come from any deeper feelings, and it certainly could not be born out of rage, anger, passion or honesty. It was certain we had none of these: We were the "decorative" elements of society that could be wiped away when mainstream power decided our presence was no longer worth it. So blaming a truly violent event of people standing up to the brute might of the New York City Police Department—with all its riot gear, tear gas, horses, squad cars, night sticks and guns—on the death, of all people, Judy Garland … well, you could certainly gloat about that around cocktails on the Upper East Side. You could do a great, superior "Tsk, tsk" about it. But it was a lie.

Judy in her casket at Frank E. Campbell's had nothing to do with Stonewall. We did.

Perry Brass's 19 books include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, short stories and best-sellers like The Manly Art of Seduction and King of Angels, A Novel About Childhood's End and Sexual Awakening in Kennedy Era Savannah, Georgia. His work often deals with the heartfelt feelings that came from his roots in New York's Gay Liberation Front directly after the Stonewall uprising. He is a founding coordinator of the Rainbow Book Fair. More info is at PerryBrass.com .


This article shared 779 times since Mon Oct 2, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago History Museum to mark Juneteenth with event, free admission
2021-06-14
The Chicago History Museum will celebrate Juneteenth with free museum admission for all and a virtual event, "Resounding Liberty: Remembering Juneteenth." The virtual celebration includes a civic talk on the history and national impact of Juneteenth; ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame seeks members for selection committee
2021-06-10
The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, celebrating its 30th anniversary, invited the LGBTQ+ community to nominate individuals, organizations, businesses, and allies for the 2021 Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and the response was tremendous. The Chicago ...


Gay News

First gay Black man elected to office in Texas
2021-06-06
On June 5, Jalen McKee-Rodriguez was elected to represent District 2 for the San Antonio City Council—making him the first openly gay Black man elected to any office in Texas history, KEN5.com reported. McKee-Rodriguez, 26, defeated ...


Gay News

National AIDS Memorial brings leaders of AIDS movement together to mark 40 years
2021-06-05
--From a press release - San Francisco (Saturday, June 5, 2021) — Leaders of the AIDS movement came together in the National AIDS Memorial — the nation's federally-designated memorial to AIDS — to mark forty years since the first cases of ...


Gay News

NBC Out releases annual #Pride30 list
2021-06-05
--From a press release - NBC Out, part of NBCNews.com, has released its annual #Pride30 list, recognizing members of the LGBTQ community around the world who are making a difference. This year's list honors 30 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ...


Gay News

Mayor Lori Lightfoot to kick off "A Legacy of Pride" June 7
2021-06-04
--From a press release - The Legacy Project and Rep. Lamont Robinson will present "A Legacy of Pride" at Chicago's Legacy Walk Outdoor LGBTQ+ History Museum/Jane Addams Memorial, 3600 N. Halsted St. on June 7 at 10:30 a.m. Mayor Lori Lightfoot ...


Gay News

Wisconsin LGBTQ History fundraiser honors 60th anniversary of LGBTQ uprising
2021-06-01
--From a press release - Milwaukee, WI - As Pride Month kicks off today across America, the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project is launching a campaign to celebrate the birthplace of "pride" in Wisconsin, recognize a turning point in local LGBTQ history, ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT veterans honor the fallen on Memorial Day
2021-05-31
The Chicago Chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) honored the fallen on Memorial Day with flowers at the granite monument on Halsted Street and Addison which honors LGBTQ veterans. The monument was commissioned ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Press secretary, LGBTQ passings, poll results, Pride items
2021-05-30
Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history as the first gay woman to lead a White House press briefing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room, and the second Black woman to do so, LGBTQ Nation ...


Gay News

Remembering Kay "Tobin" Lahusen
2021-05-29
Much of LGBTQ history, and history in general, has been lost. Even after photography was invented, the lens (and pen) was often directed subjectively, documenting what the mainstream media thought were the significant moments of the ...


Gay News

Thompson Coburn LLP hosts virtual tea with history-making Judge Jill Rose Quinn
2021-05-29
Thompson Coburn LLP hosted a Citywide Pride virtual tea event May 26 that featured Cook County Circuit Court Judge Jill Rose Quinn. Quinn made history last November when she became Illinois' first transgender elected official. She ...


Gay News

West Hollywood celebrates Pride on Harvey Milk Day, honors Lady Gaga and The Abbey
2021-05-24
Each year in California, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of the LGBTQ community with its 40-day-long One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. The festival kicked off on Harvey Milk Day (May ...


Gay News

Little library honoring John Pennycuff is unveiled
2021-05-24
Chicago's Unity Park Advisory Council (UPAC) held "Park Day" May 22 at the site, 2636 N. Kimball Ave.—and one of the events involved the unveiling of a custom-designed little library that honors late LGBTQ-rights activist John ...


Gay News

Loving: The Exhibition, A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s-1950s
2021-05-18
--From a press release - Hogarth Worldwide (https://www.hogarthww.com), world leader in creative production, will host the inaugural exhibition for LOVING. A Photographic History of Men in Love in their 30,000 square foot facility in midtown ...


Gay News

Tina Turner, The Go-Go's among 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees
2021-05-12
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame revealed its 2021 inductees, calling this class "the most diverse list of inductees in the history of the organization." In the Performer category, inductees include The Go-Go's, Tina Turner, ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.