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I’ve duplicated this posting in one of the two milieux where transgender activists lie about us and rewrite our history, namely Tumblr.

Transgender lies about Stonewall

Transgenders consistently lie about what happened at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Their lie holds that the Stonewall riot was variously spurred by or chiefly carried out by transgenders, specifically “transwomen of colour” and even more specifically an “instigator” named Ray “Sylvia” Rivera. If you’d like all Stonewall-related transgender lies collected in one place, I would refer you to the so-called Transadvocate.

Of course this isn’t what happened. It was illegal to appear in public in the attire of the opposite sex in New York in 1969. You couldn’t just sashay down to the Stonewall of a Friday night for a watered-down drink served in a dirty glass, at least not without expecting hassles from cops. The Stonewall Inn was not an early Woody’s with weekly drag shows. The primary clientele was gay males, with some lesbians, and they were dressed like men and women, respectively, in most cases. Whatever “transgenders” frequented the Stonewall were actually drag queens, though that is a distinction without a difference here.

The facts are well established, except to lying transgenders. We have not merely the eyewitness accounts of gay men who were at the Stonewall that night (or the next two nights, or some combination), as in PBS’s Stonewall Uprising. We further have the direct statements from Sylvia Rivera herself, as recorded by recognized historians.

Eric Marcus, Making Gay History

Actually, it was the first time I had been to the friggin’ Stonewall. The Stonewall wasn’t a bar for drag queens. Everybody keeps saying it was. The drag queen spot was the Washington Square Bar, at Third St. and Broadway. This is where I get into arguments with people. They say, “Oh, no, it was a drag-queen bar, it was a black bar.” No. Washington Square Bar was the drag-queen bar.

If you were a drag queen, you could get into the Stonewall if they knew you. And only a certain number of drag queens were allowed into the Stonewall at that time. […]

That first year after Stonewall, we were petitioning for a gay-rights bill for New York City, and I got arrested for petitioning on 42nd St. I was asking people to sign the petition.

I was dressed casually that day – makeup, hair, and whatnot. The cops came up to me and said, “You can’t do this.” I said, “My Constitution says that I can do anything that I want.” “No, you can’t do this. Either you leave or we’re going to arrest you.” I said, “Fine, arrest me.” They very nicely picked me up and threw me in a police car and took me to jail.

Martin Duberman, Stonewall

  • Washington Square was Sylvia’s special favo[u]rite. It opened at three in the morning and catered primarily (rather than incidentally as was the case with Stonewall) to transvestites[.] […]

    If she was going out at all… she would go to Washington Square. She had never been crazy about Stonewall, she reminded Tammy: Men in makeup were tolerated there, but not exactly cherished. […]

    If the raid went according to the usual pattern, the only people who would be arrested would be those without IDs, those dressed in the clothes of the opposite gender, and some or all of the employees. Everyone else would be let go with a few shoves and a few contemptuous words. The bar would soon reopen and they would all be back dancing. It was annoying to have one’s Friday night screwed up, but hardly unprecedented.

  • Note 39:

    Section 887(7) of the New York State Criminal Code was the one traditionally invoked by the police against transvestites. The law was supposedly ignored on Halloween, though the police-department handbook specified that even then, someone dressed in costume had to be wearing a certain number of garments “appropriate” to their sex.

  • Note 40:

    The eyewitness accounts in RAT (July 1969) specifically credits “one guy” (not a lesbian or a queen) for precipitating a scuffle by refusing to be put into the paddy wagon…. At least two people credit Sylvia herself with provoking the riot…. But I’ve found no corroboration for either account[,] and Sylvia herself, with a keener regard for the historical record, denies the accuracy of both versions. She does remember “throwing bricks and rocks and things” after the mêlée began, but takes no credit for initiating the confrontation.

David Carter, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution

  • pp. 261–2:

    The question of who gets credit for starting the riots is one that deserves consideration. The question, however, contains a premise: that an individual or group of individuals can be singled out as the prime mover in a complex process that many person s collectively created. This is important for two reasons. First, as John O’Brien pointed out, there was a continuum of resistance ranging from silent persons who ignored the police orders to move to those who threw objects at the police. O’Brien maintains that it was because of those person standing around and blocking the streets and sidewalks and keeping the police from being able to operate efficiently that he and others were able to engage in their tactics as effectively as they did: if there had been only about fifteen youths lobbing objects at the police the young men would have been quickly caught or chased away.

    Second, I wrote the account of the first night to reflect my understanding of what happened, namely, that until the definitive outbreak of rioting when the police retreated inside the Stonewall Inn, there was throughout the evening both a gradual buildup of anger and, correspondingly, a gradual escalation in the release of that anger. In the course of that buildup there were numerous turning points, some more critical than others. With these qualifications noted, I think it is clear that special credit must be given to gay homeless youths, to transgendered men, and to the lesbian who fought the police.¹⁰

    Footnote 10 from above:

    Charles Kaiser suggested to the author that Stormé DeLarverie (see The Gay Metropolis: 1940–1996 [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997], p. 198) was this woman, but she could not have been. To cite only a few of the problems with this thesis, DeLarverie’s story is one of escaping the police, not of being taken into custody by them, and she has claimed that on that night she was outside the bar, “quiet, I didn’t say a word to anybody, I was just trying to see what was happening,” when a policeman, without provocation, hit her in the eye (“Stonewall 1969: A Symposium,” June 20, 1997, New York City). DeLarverie is also an African-American woman, and all the witnesses interviewed by the author describe the woman as Caucasian.

    And here’s what The Gay Metropolis actually says:

    Several spectators agreed that it was the action of a cross-dressing lesbian – possibly Stormé DeLarverie – which would change everyone’s attitude forever. DeLarverie denied that she was the catalyst, but her own recollection matched others’ descriptions of the defining moment. “The cop hit me and I hit him back,” DeLarverie explained [in Kaiser’s own interview with her on 1995.12.09].


    Among these, we can name three individuals known to have been in the vanguard: Jackie Hormona, Marsha Johnson, and Zazu Nova.

    A common theme links those who resisted first and fought the hardest, and that is gender transgression. While we do not know how the lesbian who fought the police saw herself, we do know that her clothing was masculine, in keeping with her general demeano[u]r. We know from Pine’s testimony that the first significant resistance that he encountered inside the bar came from transvestites, and Joel S. places them among the first outside the bar to resist. Marsha Johnson and Zazu Nova were both transvestites, and, as the reader has seen, the street youth were, generally speaking, effeminate men. All available evidence leads us to conclude that the Stonewall Riots were instigated and led by the most despised and marginal elements of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community. My research for this history demonstrates that if we wish to name the group most responsible for the success of the riots, it is the young, homeless homosexuals, and, contrary to the usual characterizations of those on the rebellion’s front lines, most were Caucasian; few were Latino; almost none were transvestites or transsexuals; most were effeminate; and a fair number came from middle-class families.

  • Footnote 11 from that same chapter:

    It is remarkable – and no doubt inevitable given human psychology – that in the popular imagination the number of transvestites at the riots is always exaggerated. Readers will note that in the [Fred] McDarrah photos of the riots there is one transgendered person[,] and none of the persons I interviewed, some of whom knew her, ever saw her actively involved in the riots. (Note that the McDarrah photographs, which do feature the street youths, were taken late on Saturday night during one of the lulls in rioting, when nothing in particular was happening….) The Ambrosini photo does not show a single transvestite. Craig Rodwell told researcher Michael Scherker that “one of the myths about Stonewall is it was all drag queens. I mean, drag queens are part of what went on. Certainly one of the most courageous, but there were maybe twelve drag queens. In thousands of people.”

Transgenders lie about Stonewall in part because they are fundamentally dishonest (about themselves and about human anatomy, to give two examples), but they do it here to establish primacy over the legitimately constituted lesbian and gay community. The way they tell it, we owe them because they bravely instigated the Stonewall Riots that led to actual gay and lesbian liberation. (Even that last part isn’t true just in the U.S. context, as veterans of the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis will attest.) As far as they’re concerned, transgender is the supercategory and we gays and lesbians are mere variations of trans. And Stonewall proves it.

Well, all of that is untrue, honey, and nobody’s buying what you’re selling, literally or figuratively.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.10.13 15:41. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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