…for gay and straight alike. This is the weekend the patrons of a club in Greenwich Village called The Stonewall spontaneously rose up and fought back against the New York City Police Department.
High pressure hoses, fists, clubs, rocks. It sounds like Tehran. Fortunately, nobody was killed.
Out of those nights in New York arose a movement that is still going strong. It probably has its own excesses, but it has also accomplished a great deal, if only to make us aware that there are people in our society who have been getting ripped apart by a destructive system that relegated some of the citizens to marginal status. Before the Stonewall it was hard for gays to rent an apartment or get a job. Sometimes militancy is the only (legal) weapon against oppression.
We saw the cost of marginalization only this past week in Iran. Ahmadinajad demanding an apology from Barack Obama is like Hitler demanding an apology from the Jews of Poland because some SS men died in the process of “cleansing” the Warsaw Ghetto.
No, LGBT people are not on the road to the gas chambers, despite the best efforts of that Baptist pervert Fred Phelps. But they have had their martyrs, their ghettoized, their unjustly sacrificed. Too many died of AIDS because health research set its priorities according to the attitude of the Ruling Dodderer, Ronald Reagan, so that research into repairing and stopping the damage took a back seat to pretend military adventures like Greneda as part of the Macho Penis Dance that characterized that administration.
Watching the documentary on the AARP website (most the the Stonewall vets are now in their late 60s or older) gave me a tight stomach and lump in my throat. Anyone who has ever felt oppressed and has wanted to strike back against a crushing authority sees in those gay men a level of heroism that we only wish we could match.
Or just go to the link AARP: TV Interview. You may find yourselves deeply moved and perhaps still a trifle furious at the power that still rules over so much of our lives. And if you don’t, I really don’t need to know you, do I?