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Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the beginning of the Stonewall Riots. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, an unremarkable event happened at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village--the NYPD raided. This time, though, things didn't go as planned for the police. The bar patrons fought back. It soon escalated into full-scale rioting. The riots and aftermath continued for days. What followed was the largest political organization of gays in history and the birth of what we call the gay liberation movement. Although, as a historian myself, I fight back against placing too much emphasis on Stonewall, nobody can deny the huge importance of this event for the trajectory of gay--and American--history. I wanted Remembering LGBT History to publish something today on Stonewall, but due to my classes, I have not had time to write anything original. Instead, I'm going to republish something I wrote a few months ago for Top Comments on Stonewall and what I call the Judy Garland Myth, in the hopes that it gets a wider audience so we can put this myth to rest. Enjoy.

I was reading a book yesterday that glosses over some of the major events in gay history when I noticed something that irked me. Actually, perhaps "irked" is a bit of an understatement, because what I noticed actually caused me to stop reading the book and sit there in my living room ranting out loud to myself like a crazy person. What got me all pissed off, you ask? Well, when introducing the subject of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, which are credited for birthing the gay liberation movement, a lone sentence stuck out to me like a sore thumb. In it, the author nonchalantly states that Judy Garland's death occurred right before the rioting began.

Now, factually, this is correct. But by dropping that sentence, without any explanation or qualification, into the middle of a discussion of Stonewall, she's clearly trying to draw a connection in the minds of her readers between the two events. Which is perhaps understandable, considering how many authors before her--and even filmmakers such as Nigel Finch in his film Stonewall--have perpetuated the idea that Garland's untimely death somehow sparked the riot that helped set in motion the most massive political organization of gays in history. Consider this clip from Finch's Stonewall.

And it's not just books and movies that keep this idea alive--inevitably, whenever I'm discussing the riots with somebody, Judy Garland pops up. This is an idea that has permeated the popular consciousness. Despite a glaring lack of historical evidence, and despite being thoroughly debunked by historians such as David Carter in his book Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, what I call the Judy Garland Myth persists to this day. Just Google "Judy Garland Stonewall" and read some of the stuff that comes up. It's the proverbial zombie of gay history. We can continue to blow holes in it, but it just keeps lurching forward, green slime dripping from its mouth and all.

It occurred to me as I was cursing to myself about this on my loveseat that it might be more productive to write my thoughts down. So please, entertain my history-nerd rant below the fold.

First of all, before I delve into this topic, let me just say that I'm not disputing Judy Garland's importance to many members of the gay community in 1969. She was, without a doubt, an icon. Undoubtedly, many gay men were upset over her overdose just as I would be upset, as a gay guy in 2012, over the death of Lady Gaga. Also, there is no disputing that Garland's funeral was a huge event in New York in the time directly preceding the Stonewall Riots. It's probably safe to assume that many gays who participated in the riots had also flocked to her funeral. I'm certainly not trying to downplay Garland's significance in the lives of some gay men in this time period.

Acknowledging Garland's significance within certain segments of the gay community in 1969 is one thing. What some have done, however, is try to draw a line between Garland's funeral and the riots that rocked Greenwich Village starting on June 28, 1969. Because Garland's funeral occurred immediately before the onset of the riots, the "logic" goes, gays were more upset than usual when the NYPD decided to conduct a routine raid on the Stonewall Inn. And so, because of their anger over Garland's sudden death, they reacted violently against the police.

Historians work with evidence (or, at least, that's how it's supposed to work). So, what evidence is there that Judy Garland had anything whatsoever to do with gay resistance at Stonewall?

As David Carter points out in Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, there is pretty much none. Absolutely no written eyewitness account of the riots in 1969 so much as mentions Garland. Had her death been central to the riots, doesn't it follow that at least somebody at the time, when recounting the events, would have said something about her? One historical document that does mention Judy Garland is a gossip and news column of the New York Mattachine Newsletter in August of 1969, which discusses the riots and, midway through, brings up the fact that Garland died (along with other bits of gay news). The two events are not linked in the piece in any way, shape, or form. A piece in Esquire toward the end of 1969 does the same thing. There is no hint in either of these pieces that Garland's death had anything to do with the anger unleashed on the police at Stonewall.

The only other relevant historical document that mentions Garland does draw a link between her death and Stonewall. That piece, by Walter Troy Spencer, is entitled "Too Much, My Dear," and it originally appeared in the Village Voice on July 10, 1969. One problem--Troy is heterosexual and is creating a link between Garland's death and Stonewall to mock what he calls "the Great Faggot Rebellion." This--a disgusting anti-gay column written by a homophobe--seems to be the first (and only) piece of historical evidence linking Garland's death with Stonewall. Not exactly admissible evidence, considering the source.

Furthermore, as Carter's work shows quite well through oral histories and eyewitness accounts, the major fighters during the Stonewall Riots were street youths. This makes sense, of course, since homeless street youths had the least to lose in a high-profile altercation with the police--certainly less than a closeted businessman who might have also been found at Stonewall. The last thing on the minds of street youths would have been Judy Garland, as their generation was much more into soul and rock. Not to mention, they were more concerned with surviving on the streets than with listening to Judy Garland records, which appealed more to the older, middle-class gays.

This is the foundation upon which the Judy Garland Myth is built. Zero historical documentation, aside from a mocking article written by a bigot, and a misunderstanding of the central actors in the Stonewall Riots. To call the link between Judy Garland and Stonewall "tenuous" would be quite generous indeed.

Why does this matter? Am I not nitpicking here?

Well, no, I don't think I am. The Judy Garland Myth matters. By falsely crediting Garland's death with sparking one of the most important events in gay (and American) history, the perpetuators of this myth are effectively stripping gays of their agency and boiling down the birth of the gay liberation movement and gay identity as we know it today to the death of a freaking camp icon. In other words, gays were incapable of fighting for themselves until their icon's death pushed them over the edge. Decades of gay organizing, societal oppression, and police harassment go out the window, and what really matters is that the gays lost their entertainer. This, of course, is ridiculous--gays fought against oppression long before Stonewall and long before Frances Ethel Gumm became "Judy Garland." It's a demeaning, trivializing, and downright offensive myth that oversimplifies a complex event and reduces the figures who bravely resisted police oppression at Stonewall to grieving Judy Garland fans.

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Yes, gays were angry on June 28, 1969. They were angry about the oppression they were facing, even in Greenwich Village, one of the most hospitable places for gays in the country. They were angry about their social condition--the laws that effectively criminalized homosexuality, the discrimination and hatred they faced in every facet of their professional and personal lives, their popular depiction as sick and dangerous, the brutality they faced at the hands of the police. They were angry that one of the few places in which they could semi-freely congregate--the gay bar--was regularly raided by police hungry to bash queers. There was a great deal for gays to be angry about in 1969. And the increasing militancy of social movements, as well as the birth of the New Left in the 1960s, provided the perfect context for a radical gay uprising against police.

Stonewall is complicated. The reasons for its occurrence are many. The death of Judy Garland is very likely not one of them. This is not to say that some Stonewall participants were not upset about Garland's death. But, in the absence of historical evidence, we can't make the sweeping statement that Judy Garland's funeral sparked--or even contributed to--the riots. To do so would be to engage in the most fanciful, and dangerous, of speculation.

Can we please bury this myth?

If you want to read more about Stonewall, I recommend the book I referenced above: David Carter's Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. Carter does a good job vividly reconstructing the events leading up to and including the riots, as well as contextualizing the event in the larger framework of the homophile and gay liberation movements.

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Originally posted to Remembering LGBT History on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Invisible People, Milk Men And Women, LGBT Kos Community, Angry Gays, History for Kossacks, and J Town.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No, you are for sure NOT nitpicking (21+ / 0-)

    This, frankly, is exactly how historical research should work -- you look at something and find it strange, so you investigate, and then you find an answer. Riots the year before because Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot, yes.  This? No -- the people at Stonewall simply had had enough, and the folks at the Village Voice, whose offices were nearby, needed to interpret something they had never seen before, and voila, the myth.

    Thanks for republishing this, and I'm going to do some republishing myself.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:15:47 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the important clarification. (12+ / 0-)

    The first minutes of the PBS documentary, Stonewall Uprising, (watch it here) provides a chilling reminder of what the times were like. Homosexuality was a "mental illness" to be eradicated. The video is based on Carter's book.

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:25:48 PM PDT

  •  I don't know how the so-called "myth" (0+ / 0-)

    is supposed to be harmful.  

    It's a demeaning, trivializing, and downright offensive myth that oversimplifies a complex event and reduces the figures who bravely resisted police oppression at Stonewall to grieving Judy Garland fans.
    I'm sorry, it's not.  Your comparison to Lady Gaga shows that you simply don't understand the depth of feeling that Garland produced in the gay community of that time.  For you to proclaim that the depth of grief in the community had absolutely no bearing on the intensity of the reaction of the people at the Stonewall Inn is simply not supported by anything you've quoted.  

    Why do you think this fact - that the riots started, as you said, almost immediately following her funeral - is somehow trivializing the importance of the riots?  Garland was not a trivial figure.  She was not Lady Gaga.  You've generalized from some journalism of the time, but you haven't disproved (or proved) anything.  The causes of rebellion are often subtle and are no less real or important for being sparked by events that you don't see as important enough.  I think you're going too far the other way in portraying the people drinking at the Stonewall that night as "brave street fighters."  That may be what circumstance forced them to become, but that's not who they were when they went out to the bar that night.

    Just another point of view.  Thanks for your diary even though I disagree.

    Still enjoying my stimulus package.

    by Kevvboy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:26:36 PM PDT

    •  These kinds of hypotheses (7+ / 0-)

      must be backed up by evidence. What the research shows it that there is no evidence to support your view. We're talking about not just journalism from the time period, but also oral histories. If you believe Garland helped spark Stonewall, I'll be happy to entertain your concrete evidence.

      Nobody is denying the importance of Garland to the gay community. I think I emphasized that in the diary. The research suggests, though, that the people who would be most upset by Garland's death were not the ones on the front lines of the riots.

      Again, happy to entertain evidence.

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:35:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes you have definitely (0+ / 0-)

        approached this from a scholarly point of view.  I don't really have any evidence other than conversations with friends who were there.  One of my best buds was a Stonewall bartender 1968-1981.  

        Even if I allow to you, though, the possibility that grief over Judy was not perhaps the #1 thing in the minds of all those brave freedom fighters who just happened to choose that night at the bar to fight back, you still haven't explained to me how you think the association with Garland's death in any way lessens or makes less important what happened at Stonewall.  It's like you're trying to divide the two things from each other because somehow Garland's death and its association with that night taints what happened there.  But it doesn't.  Judy Garland was an awful lot like a leader of the very early gay movement and her early death was unhinging to some people in the same way that MLK's death was unhinging to people in the civil rights movement.

        It was the Gaga simile that convinced me you are the one who's trivializing.  You can read all about it but you weren't there.  You're demeaning Garland by trying to lessen her importance to the gay men of New York at that time.

        Still enjoying my stimulus package.

        by Kevvboy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:44:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I answered in the diary and in my comment below (3+ / 0-)

          The Gaga comparison was made because she's probably about the closest thing to a gay icon this generation has. It was not intended to be taken in the way you take it.

          Just as you think I'm trivializing Garland with the Gaga comparison, I think you're going quite a bit overboard with the MLK comparison. I would take issue with your calling her a "leader" of the gay movement, but that aside, I would definitely say she was very important to some members of the gay community. Primarily older, middle-class gays who were old enough at the time to truly appreciate her...but, again, you're overlooking the research that suggests street youths played a much larger role in the riots than has previously been recognized.

          Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

          by Chrislove on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:52:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not overlooking. (0+ / 0-)

            Nowhere did I say that any other part of your article is untrue.  I just think for you to claim there is no connection between Garland and the Stonewall riots is simply wrong.

            Still enjoying my stimulus package.

            by Kevvboy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:56:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What I am claiming (6+ / 0-)

              is that, absent any evidence, we absolutely cannot attribute the riots to the death of Judy Garland. That's just inappropriate. Stonewall was going to happen, for a host of reasons. To claim that Judy Garland is what sparked the riots, which is what many, many people claim, has no historical basis.

              Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

              by Chrislove on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:59:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Anything besides anecdotal evidence? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

                Not a scholar.  Just a person.  Stonewall is now in the realm of documentable history I suppose and a little bit of oral history from that friend of mine won't mean much to you.

                Still enjoying my stimulus package.

                by Kevvboy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:09:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nobody is saying (3+ / 0-)

                  that some people weren't very affected by Judy Garland's death. It certainly was not an unimportant event in the lives of many gays. However, there's a difference between saying that and saying that Judy Garland sparked Stonewall. That's what this diary is's not trying to remove Garland from the gay historical narrative.

                  Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

                  by Chrislove on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:11:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I'm all for oral history, but mainly when (4+ / 0-)

                  It puts a human face on sound scholarly history.

                  I have some oral history of my own.  When I started escorting in 1979, nearly all of my clients were exactly the color, class, and age to have been Garland's prime audience.  Many were repeat clients and I got to know them fairly well.  Not once did these relatively privileged men mention her, display an image of her, or play her music.  Surely they wouldn't have forgotten someone so important to them?

                  In reality, the idea of being out, let alone fighting for it, scared these guys shitless.  (Hence the need for an escort!)  They would have been Garland's main audience, but not a single one ever mentioned Stonewall or rebellion in any form.

                  Now, does my oral history trump yours?  

                  Of course not! It's an anecdote.  The diarist has the scholarly angle.  That's the one I'm gong with.

    •  And it's harmful because (5+ / 0-)

      as I said in the diary, it simplifies an event that was years and decades in the making to the death of an entertainer.

      If Judy Garland played such a central role in sparking the riots, don't you think it would show up somewhere--in gay accounts of the riots, in oral histories, somewhere besides an article written by a bigot?

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:39:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If it doesn't show up anywhere (0+ / 0-)

        why are you so upset about it?  I thought it was a pervasive myth and appeared everywhere.

        Still enjoying my stimulus package.

        by Kevvboy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:46:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (5+ / 0-)

        When I did my student teaching, one of the topics was the genesis of modern rights movements.

        I taught Stonewall as a watershed moment in the modern gay rights movement (though not the TRIGGERING event) - and one of my students asked about Garland's death and its possible effect. I explained that those who did most of the rioting were NOT from the generation that would have venerated Garland - that that particular demographic was more settled, non-violent, and uptown.

        But one thing that I did mention was that one of the triggering groups of the initial rioting was drag queens - a group that WOULD have been familiar with and reverential towards Garland - and who may have been in a testier-than-usual mood that night - though none of them mentioned her death directly at the time.

        But I agree with your fundamental posiotion as a historian. There is absolutely no contemporaneous evidence that her death several days before had any effect whatsoever on the event. It is one of those coincidences that happens once in awhile. Stonewall would have happened had Garland lived or not.

        Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.

        by GayIthacan on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:49:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, maybe this, from John Lauritsen, will (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chrislove, sfbob, MrJayTee, Calamity Jean

      clarify. Who, you ask? If you're old enough to remember Judy, you probably know, but for the general reader, he did a lot of work for GLF and for GLF's newspaper, COME OUT!: A NEWSPAPER BY AND FOR THE GAY COMMUNITY.

      This is what COME OUT had to say about the article referenced above in its first issue (November 14, 1969):

      An article covering the Stonewall Riots appeared in the July 10, 1969 issue of the Village Voice. The article, entitled "Too Much, My Dear" was written by Walter Troy Spencer. Cloyingly cute and contemptuous, Spencer referred to the Great Faggot Rebellion, "queers" "swishes" and "fags" repeatedly. It's all a big joke. His concern was "One Christopher Street bar operator estimates that a single night of the indirect embargo cost him $500 business" and "More subtly disturbing is the question of what sort of friction this situation may have generated between the Village's Sixth Precinct, the First Division (who made the initial raid without telling the precinct - a standard procedure) and the TPF, who had to be called in when things got out of hand."

      Spencer called the Stonewall "anti-democratic" because of its "members only" policy, puts down the "annoyingly flamboyant and aggressive" Christopher Street cruising, calls the riots an "entertaining floor show," and was bothered because "I sure don't want to have to run some gauntlet every night just to quietly slip into my friendly neighborhood saloon." He does admit that "the fags" have been exploited for a long time, "caught in a squeeze" between crooks and cops.

      -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:41:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it gives the power to judy garland (10+ / 0-)

      instead of all the people who really rioted and organized and planned.  

      •  Leave Judy Alone! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chrislove, jlms qkw, jessical, annieli

        Sorry, I had to...

        •  LOL nt (4+ / 0-)

          Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

          by Chrislove on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:07:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My theory is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that the myth, if it is a myth, isn't destructive.  I don't recall bursting into tears.  But perhaps it slipped my mind.

          Still enjoying my stimulus package.

          by Kevvboy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:38:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, but it's destructive in that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MrJayTee, FogCityJohn

            we can't seem to have a discussion (at least, very often) of Stonewall without Judy Garland figuring prominently in it. The very, very real and tangible reasons Stonewall patrons and gays in general were angry in 1969 are all overshadowed by the death of this one (albeit important) entertainer. This even happened in a grad seminar a couple semesters ago--Stonewall came up, Judy Garland soon followed. Guess how much we talked about police harassment, homophobia in American culture, anti-gay laws, etc., after Garland's name came up.

            It's not destructive in that it immediately hurts you, it's destructive in that it taints history.

            Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

            by Chrislove on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:43:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You put her in the title. (0+ / 0-)

              Were we not supposed to discuss her?

              You are welcome to your history, I was offering an alternate view.

              Still enjoying my stimulus package.

              by Kevvboy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:44:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Meant to say (0+ / 0-)

                you put her picture in your diary, not that you put her in the title.

                Still enjoying my stimulus package.

                by Kevvboy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:45:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Nobody's saying you can't offer that view (0+ / 0-)

                But I'm defending my view, as any writer would when his very premise is challenged. Nobody in this diary is trying to silence you. I'm glad you responded to my diary, but that doesn't mean your response is going to go unchallenged.

                Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

                by Chrislove on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:54:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I see now that when you were (0+ / 0-)

                  complaining about not being able to have a conversation about Stonewall without talking about Garland you were not actually referring to our present conversation which was my first impression.

                  Still enjoying my stimulus package.

                  by Kevvboy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:59:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Apologies, Kevvboy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            That was meant as a humorous response to jlms qkw, not a dig against you!

          •  Destructive in that (0+ / 0-)

            it tends to depoliticize the whole event, and also feeds into the whole "a gay man is a combination of the body of an adult man and the brain of a tween girl" meme, which may be pretty transgressive but doesn't strike me as terribly progressive (note that my personal position in the "transgressor"/"assimilator" debate is that it's an argument over a false dichotomy, with both sides agreeing that Things Would Be Better if a whole bunch of gay men went back into the closet, the difference being just which bunch they wish would).

            If you integrate fantasy with reality, you do not instantiate reality. If you mix cow pie with apple pie, it does not make the cow pie taste better; it makes the apple pie worse. --Mark Crislip

            by ebohlman on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 09:11:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent work. (10+ / 0-)

    It won't stop people who want to turn our history into a pink cartoon, but we can always set them right with the work of real historians and maybe embarrass them into embracing reality.

    [Alert: eldergay content ahead.] Garland was, however, about the greatest star of her time.  Singing, dancing, comedy, drama...she did it all at a level unequaled since, and she gave 100% of her heart and soul while doing it.  I never had much patience for the "classic" gay icons, but for Garland, I make an exception.  But even she wasn't fabulous enough to make us riot.  [Eldergay content ends.]

    We did that.  The time had long since come.  OUR agency, no one else's.  The dykes and fairies who were braver than their closeted cousins made the possibilities for my life much greater.  They made possible my coming out some ten years later, which along with others made possible the growing freedom and equality we see today.

    Geez, I'm going on like I got a dose of whatever Judy was having.  Thanks for an excellent and necessary and important diary, Chrislove.

  •  Take a look here (10+ / 0-)

    Scroll down to the second picture (I'd love to embed it but that would require that I grab a copywritten image and put it in Photobucket or Flickr; I'd rather not do that). Anyway, see the picture? See the guy on the right, with his hands folded in front of him, wearing what appears to be an oversized dress shirt? His name was Roger Davis. I believe he's referenced in Carter's book. Back in the late '70s we were friends and roommates. When he told me he had been involved in the Stonewall Riots I didn't believe him. So he paid a visit to the Village Voice and "liberated" the bound June 1969 volume of their archives and showed me his picture there. (In all fairness, he returned it soon afterwards; he just wanted to prove a point.)

    I'm pretty sure he didn't much care about Judy Garland's death other than that it was part of bar gossip. He was in fact one of the street youths you referred to. He'd turned 18 only a few days earlier and had been pretty much on his own since his mid-teens. How he managed to survive I'm not entirely sure, though I seem to recall discussions about the exchange of money for sex. So yeah...not much connection between Judy's death and the outrage that resulted in our liberation, though being a good card-carrying member of the sissy brigade, I'm sure the connection between Garland's death and the beginning of the Stonewall Riots was part and parcel of our conversations. He might or might not have been a fan but he knew who his community's icons were.

    Roger died from AIDS in 1992.

  •  Garland an icon, but a leader of the gay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chrislove, MrJayTee


    That has to be a real stretch. In my mind, a leader would be organizing marches, writing magazine articles, talking to political leaders, etc. Garland was just an entertainer who was loved and adored by a sub-sect of gay men. That does not, in any way, make her a leader of or for gay rights.

    Icon, yes. Leader? No!

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      "Leader" is not an appropriate term with which to describe Garland. Definitely think she was very important to some men of this time period, but the MLK comparison above was more than a bit much.

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:44:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chrislove, MrJayTee

    One of the other parts of Stonewall History that seems to get overlooked is those folks of color who were there.  It sticks in my head since I knew Sylvia Rivera....was surprised to see this piece at HufffPo, which I don't usually read but it was linked at the Griot.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:07:55 AM PDT

    •  Thanks, Denise. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Denise Oliver Velez

      Very good point...I think you're right. Thanks so much for the link. I hadn't seen that, it's a very interesting--and important--read.

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:20:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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