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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Psychic Evolution" - Stonewall Uprising

The documentary film Stonewall Uprising is an exemplary visual representation of the beginnings of the Gay and Lesbian Liberation Movements. The Stonewall Riots are discussed in the film as the events that stand between the construction and destruction of the “closet.” The film shows the efforts made by the government to police gender and sexuality in the 1950’s and 60s; television media, the public education system and other various modes of propaganda used to diminish an entire population of individuals. The lives of many people were destroyed through police entrapments, undercover raids, and physical/emotional trauma.

The film also expresses how the systems of oppression aid in the corruption of society. One example was how the Stonewall Inn was running under the mafia, who would smuggle alcohol to facilitate the needs of the patrons, and then pay off police whenever there was a raid. This is true today when we look at the oppression of the undocumented or the policing of black and brown bodies aligning with the prison industrial complex.

One point in the film that struck me was when someone mentioned the term “psychic evolution.” It made me think of the way we see LGBT identities and the appropriation of the word/identity Queer. Not long ago, this was not a name anyone would want to be called, however today we embrace it for its fluidity. The “psychic evolution” also helps understand the way we see gender identities such as the current trans/trans* movements and how these were not conceivable ideas prior to Stonewall or the First Christopher Street Pride march. I don’t say this to simplify or complicate LGBTQ identities but to understand the importance of this event at Stonewall to the trajectory of our current movements.

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