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 2022-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 1027 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 1027 times since Mon Oct 2, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Let's Talk presents "Let's Talk & Celebrate" foodie bash March 2
2023-02-03
--From a press release - (CHICAGO) — Kick off Women's History Month with a "Let's Talk & Celebrate" Gold Glamour Gourmet bash by 35+ Chicagoland Let's Talk Womxn LetsTalkWomxn.com restaurateurs on Thursday, March 2, at Moe's Cantina in River North fr ...


Gay News

Oak Park Festival Theatre makes history with new artistic director
2022-12-20
The Oak Park Festival Theatre (OPFT)—the oldest professional classical theater in the Midwest—announced that Peter G. Andersen will be joining the company as its new artistic director in January 2023. It is the first time that a person ...


Gay News

Outgoing state Rep. Greg Harris feted at Baton retirement party
2022-12-15
In recognition of his 16-year career in the Illinois House of Representatives, many efforts in public service, not to mention staunch support of the LGBTQ community, state Rep. Greg Harris, who is also the house majority ...


Gay News

Washington skates by Blackhawks as Ovechkin makes history
2022-12-14
At the United Center on Dec. 13, the Chicago Blackhawks (7-16-4) fell to the Washington Capitals (15-12-4) by a score of 7-3. Washington's Alex Ovechkin scored three times to become the third NHL player with 800 ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and Imperial Court Holiday Social
2022-12-08
—From a press release - Charlie's Chicago, 3726 N. Broadway, Chicago 60613, will hold a Holiday Social for the Imperial Windy City Court of the Prairie State Empire as a fundraiser for the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame on Friday, Dec. ...


Gay News

Chicago Fire FC wins first-ever Midwest Emmy Award
2022-12-07
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (Dec. 6, 2022) — Chicago Fire FC has been awarded the Club's first ever Regional Emmy Award in the category of "Outstanding Crafts Achievement for Graphics Arts/Motion Graphics/ Art Direction/Set Design" as a part of ...


Gay News

Blackhawks end losing streak; UChicago makes soccer history
2022-12-04
On Dec. 3, the visiting Chicago Blackhawks (7-12-4) defeated the New York Rangers (11-10-4) 5-2, snapping an eight-game losing streak. With an assist on Taylor Raddysh's goal to put the team up 4-1 in the third period, ...


Gay News

Kris Mayes shatters lavender ceiling; first LGBTQ person elected Arizona Attorney General
2022-11-21
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Kris Mayes won the election for Arizona Attorney General. With this historic win, she is now the first out LGBTQ Attorney General in Arizona history. Mayor Annise Parker, ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Political results, communicable-disease law, Urvashi Vaid
2022-11-13
Sharice Davids won the election for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District. In 2018, she made history when she became the first out LGBTQ+ person elected to Congress from Kansas and one of the first two Native American women ever ...


Gay News

U.S. women's soccer makes history after loss to Germany
2022-11-11
The United States women's soccer team lost again, falling 2-1 to Germany on Nov. 10 at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to The Guardian, it's the U.S. team's first three-game skid since 1993 ...


Gay News

Erick Russell shatters lavender ceiling; first Black LGBTQ person elected to statewide position in U.S. history
2022-11-09
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Erick Russell won the election for Connecticut state Treasurer. With this victory, he is now the first Black out LGBTQ person ever elected to statewide office in U.S. ...


Gay News

HISTORY MADE: Oregon's Tina Kotek one of first lesbian governors in U.S history
2022-11-09
-- From a press release - SALEM — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, hailed the victory of HRC-endorsed Tina Kotek in her bid to become the governo ...


Gay News

Maura Healey shatters lavender ceiling in Massachusetts; no U.S. state had elected a lesbian governor
2022-11-08
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Tonight LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Maura Healey won the Massachusetts gubernatorial race — becoming the first out LGBTQ governor of Massachusetts and one of the first out lesbian governors in U.S. history. Tina ...


Gay News

Chicago History Museum holds special screening, panel discussion
2022-11-07
The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum presented a special screening of the Youtube Originals series Supreme Models: The Documentary and a panel with an array of A-list fashion industry panelists. Among the participants were ...


Gay News

Ginsburg, Morrison, women's soccer to be honored with stamps
2022-10-26
The U.S. Postal Service announced that the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late author Toni Morrison (Beloved; The Bluest Eye) will be honored with new postage stamps next year. The sport of ...


 




Copyright © 2023 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


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.