Updated: Jul 25, 2019
Noshi here. And well, here's an important blog post for ya.
Excerpts from Olivia B. Waxman's investigative article and interview with 88 year old activist and author of "Stonewall", Martin Duberman outlining the Stonewall Riots of NYC, from which came the international LGBTQI+ movement of support and visibility we now call "World Pride."
In 1969, police raids at Stonewall were common, says Duberman, who was not there on the night of the raid but was closely involved in the organizing that followed. Officers would throw people against the wall and make sure they were wearing three pieces of clothing that were appropriate to their biological sex, per New York State law at the time.
It’s also unclear how exactly that particular police raid turned violent, or why that was the night when, rather than being cowed, the patrons responded with resistance.
“I think you need to know the whole context of the 1960s, and just how much rebellion was going on throughout the culture,” says Duberman. “The birth of the feminist movement, the black struggle for Civil Rights, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination — it was an extremely volatile decade. We began to think, well, black people have been long defined as inferior. But now they’re saying black is beautiful. We, gay people, have long been defined as inferior. Maybe it’s time we started to say, ‘Gay is beautiful.'”
"Pride" is the celebration and acknowledgement of this community. Pride month and other major events have this beginning, and yes, I live in America where making profit is a dominant way of living. But the message is clear.
The event and movement is needed because, well, the LGBTQI+ community is still shunned and thought of as being extrinsically abnormal, gimmicky and even grotesque. It's a long way from the crazy Club Kids of Manhattan to a first generation university student studying to support his family. This community is everywhere like the most tomboyish girl wanting a fairy princess wedding or the roughest, toughest man being unable to to hold back tears when his child is hurt. Stereotypes are just that, and they become a thing of the past when we allow it.
Before you take a stand, think clearly about what you know, why you know it and what you actually believe. Black History month is an American event because having a black president was still weird, a well-mannered voice attached to a black face is still surprising, most don't know about "Black Wall Street" and yes, she does wash her hair. The Bahamas doesn't have this event because black people are in abundance in every form of media, bureaucracy and life without the barricade of one skin color over the other, and black history is just history taught every day in every school.
Count the number of movies that have LGBTQI+ leading characters. Then, count the amount that aren't romances, tragedies or both. How many times did a mother love the creation of a gay man but crumbled at the thought of their child in a same-sex relationship? Mary Jane and Peter Parker kissed on a bridge, but the sky might fall down if Spider Gwen had a girlfriend. And why can't we speak freely around gay people? Is there something wrong with our jokes?
I encourage everybody to practice patience, understanding and inquisition. If knowledge is power, then empathy its precision. As you've come to understand the intricacies that make up who you are and that encompass the people you love, consider the same for your fellow man, woman or non-binary neighbor.
It's only as difficult as we make it.