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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stonewall Uprising Reflection

As the first scenes began to roll and having viewed this documentary in a previous LGBT class two years ago, my initial reaction was:  "Ok, been there, done that."  I was considerably wrong.  Watching this documentary again allowed me to (re)see many things that I had either forgotten or fallen asleep to during the first time.  For instance, I never realized that the Stonewall was owned by the mafia and how they, the mafia, were so oddly connected to and involved with the LGBT community.  They supported/funded and provided a safeguard yet gouged them on quality drinks and prices.  One thing that I can never forget is the truck yard.  I could never imagine having absolutely no place to go and forced to be "romantic" with someone inside of a pitch black, vomitous smelling, confined meat-packing semi-truck.   And even there police are roaming, looking for "illicit acts."  Being rejected from hotels, restaurants, bars, parks, most all public places, and even possibly your own home.  I simply cannot imagine.  This was only 46 years ago.  Look at how far we've come.  At the same time, we have not come far enough, at all.  Obama finally signed the law banning job discrimination last year but California is still the only state (in ten years!) to have passed an equal-benefits law.  And this still does not protect trans workers.  Also, conversion therapy was recently banned.  When some of the interviewees spoke of conversion therapy in the documentary, I was thinking, "wow! What kind of prehistoric, middle-aged pseudoscience torturing is this?"  This took me by surprise because I thought it was banned years ago!  Clearly, we have a lot more work to do.  Another thing that caught my eye was how, when the riot broke out and the police chase ensued, everyone took advantage of New York City's grid-line streets and made circles around the cops.  That made me giggle.  One other thing that I never took into consideration before was that one of the interviewees was a former police officer, active and fighting to hold back the rioters.  This makes me question if whether or not his views, and others, had changed since the interviews were conducted to when he was a police officer.  This also makes me question what kinds of changes have occurred within the community because, as to my knowledge, there has not been something so paramount in the LGBT community, or any community in the US for that matter, to occur and have a gigantic riot or documentary be created about it.  Maybe it's our always expanding tech-world that has made society to debate over social media and the internet rather than marching through the streets.

So many crucial events and people have been erased, or attempted to, from the LGBT community history.  This is why protests, fighting (amicably), interviewing, recording, speeches, demonstrating, writing, filming, and sharing with the entire community is so critical in keeping the fight for LGBT rights alive, afloat with, and equal to basic human rights for all.  I think everyone, meaning all students-plus five of their friends, should share this documentary.  So many people have never even heard of Stonewall, except for it once being a crusty, dingy, hole-in-the-wall bar/inn.  In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary and look forward to everything else to come. :)  This was great inspiration for choosing images for the class' masterpiece.

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