In 2015, Hollywood tried to pay tribute to the Stonewall riots by releasing a movie of the same name. Audiences gave the film a lackluster response with excellent reason. Here is why you should not watch ‘Stonewall’ this Pride month.
Pride month is about being able to celebrate LGBTQIA+ identities and honoring those who fought for LGBT+ rights. We cannot honor this movement with poor representation of the people who gave us our rights. We cannot ignore the stark inaccuracies found in Stonewall that erase the truth of what happened on June 28, 1969.
Stonewall sets itself up for failure by telling the story of this LGBT+ uprising from the perspective of a cis-gender, gay, white male named Danny Winters. The issue with Danny being the principal character of Stonewall means that someone with immense racial and gender privilege is telling the story of a movement founded by black and brown people.
Not that white people were inactive the night LGBT+ people fought back at the Stonewall Inn. But too often Hollywood white-washes history and erases the voices of black and brown people. The people most targeted by police brutality continues to be people of color (POC) – in 1969 and today.
We would not have Pride month or anything to celebrate without the riots at Stonewall. Trans POC decided that night they would no longer accept the brutality of the police – the violence, the jail time for “cross-dressing,” none of it. So why make it look like a white kid started the movement?
Marsha P. Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie, two POC, were at the forefront that night at the Stonewall Inn. Johnson was a trans woman. DeLarverie was a butch lesbian. Stonewall ignores the contributions of LGBT+ POC and gives undeserved credit to a fictional white kid for one of the most pivotal moments in LGBT+ history.
What To Do Instead this Pride
Do not give this white-washed version of events the time of day this Pride month. The POC who fought for LGBT+ rights deserve better than that. You, the viewer, deserve better. You deserve accurate information about that historic night in 1969, over 50 years ago.
Honor the memory of Stonewall and the long road we’ve had to LGBT+ rights by watching positive representation this Pride month. Learn about Marsha P. Johnson in The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson or watch the documentary Before Stonewall (and its followup, After Stonewall). Pride month is about celebrating the rainbow of diversity in the LGBT+ community and Stonewall is only one color – white.