The Shot Glass Heard Around The World
In 1969, the Stonewall riots — precipitated when the NYPD burst into the famed gay bar and started being their usually abusive selves — defined the modern gay movement.
Among the first to physically resist the police was Marsha P. Johnson, the now infamous transgender rights activist who co-founded S.T.A.R. (Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries) with Sylvia Rivera in the ’70s.
At 1:20 in the morning on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes police officers entered Stonewall Inn and announced “Police! We’re taking the place!"
Officers forced the customers to form into two lines divided by perceived gender and show them their genitals to confirm if it matched the gender on their identification card.
At some point during the raid, Marsha Johnson proclaimed, ‘I got my civil rights!' and then threw a shot glass into a mirror, adding on to the tension and creating an atmosphere of resistance. Some witnesses and historians believe her action is what instigated the riot.
Patrons began to refuse to produce their I.D. and police decided to arrest everyone still at the bar. Those who were not arrested gathered outside the bar and quickly drew a crowd of over 1,000 queers. As rumors spread through the crowd that those inside were being beaten by cops, they began throwing pennies, beer bottles and other items at police.
A drag queen who was shoved by an officer in front of the crowd responded by hitting him on the head with her purse as the crowd began to boo.
Soon after, an unidentified lesbian was hit on the head with a billy club after complaining that her handcuffs were too tight. She faced the bystanders and shouted, “Why don’t you guys do something?”
Police threw her into the back of a patrol wagons, at that point the crowd became a mob and collectively resisted the police.
Along with Sylvia Rivera, the two transgender revolutionaries created S.T.A.R. and STAR House in which they housed, fed and clothed homeless drag queens and trans* youth by hustling in the streets of NYC so that their children didn’t have to.
Marsha P. Johnson is often credited for inciting the Stonewall Riots, yet she receives close to no recognition by mainstream Gay Organizations and the queer community. I have no doubt that the erasure of Marsha’s participation in the riots and the Gay Liberation Movement is due to her being a black, transgender radical. Had she’d been a white gay cis-male, her name would be permanently embedded in every queer’s mind.
I know Marsha as a courageous queer revolutionary, a queen of Queens, a Stonewall Veteran, a dedicated activist, a mother of S.T.A.R. and a personal idol. She deserves more than anyone I know, to be recognized by the queer community.
In July 6, 1992, Johnson’s body was found floating in the Hudson River off the West Village Piers shortly after the 1992 Pride March. Friends of Johnson claims she was harassed near the spot where her body was found. The police disregarded this and ruled her death a suicide without any evidence. However, in November 2012, the NYPD re-opened the case.
Click here to watch “Pay It No Mind”, a documentary on Marsha P. Johnson.
I will keep on reblogging this each time it props up in my dash because it’s both important, heartwarming, and tragic.
Last month, Slate‘s Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, presented a far from groundbreaking solution to the rape epidemic on college campuses: Tell women to stop drinking. In a piece originally titled “The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women to Stop Getting So Wasted,” Yoffe explained why women’s sobriety is apparently the key to ending campus rape culture. (After much backlash, the title was changed to the patronizing “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk.”) While there is value in properly addressing the role of alcohol in sexual violence, especially on college campuses, tired, victim-blaming arguments like Yoffe’s are infuriating at worst and annoying at best.
Myriad outlets published responses to Yoffe’s piece, including the New York Times. In its Room for Debate feature, the Times presented a variety of viewpoints on the subjects of college women, rape, and alcohol. While I was pleased the paper dedicated space to such an important issue, I was disappointed when I saw the contributors—all of the people who weighed in were only either white women or Black men. This was troubling for two reasons: (1) the (very incorrect) stereotype that most rapes in the United States are committed by Black men against white women immediately came to mind; and (2) once again, the voices of women of color were excluded from the debate.
My latest at RHRC
There are plenty of people who are trans survivors.
There are plenty of people who are survivors and cis.
There are plenty of people who are survivors and gay/bi/pan/queer/etc.
There are plenty of survivors who are straight.
There are plenty of survivors who are asexual and plenty of ones who aren’t.
But there is something cisgender and heterosexual survivors don’t have to go through, that those of us who are not- do.
Two weeks ago a man in France was arrested for raping his daughter. She’d gone to her school counselor and then the police, but they needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. Her father was eventually arrested. His attorney explained, “There was a period when he was unemployed and in the middle of a divorce. He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her testimony, her bravery in setting up a webcam to film her father raping her, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?
Everyone “knows” this. Even children.
Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.”
She didn’t know the person, she just assumed she was lying.
No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?
It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, indoctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, unpaid, economically crucial labor.
Pop culture and art are just the cherry on the top of the icing on a huge cake. The United States is among the most religious of all countries in the industrialized world. So, while some people wring their hands over hip hop, I’m more worried about how men like Rick Santorum and Ken Cuccinelli explain to their daughters why they can’t be priests. I know that there is hip hop that exceeds the bounds of taste and is sodden with misogyny. But, people seem to think that those manifestations of hatred are outside of the mainstream when, in reality, it’s just more of the same set to great beats. Hip hop has nothing on religious misogyny and its political expression.
An entire political party’s “social policy” agenda is being pursued under a rubric that insists women need “permission slips” and “waiting periods.” The recent shutdown? Conservatives holding the country hostage because they want to add anti-abortion “conscience clause” language to legislation. Whose consciences are we talking about? All the morally incompetent and untrustworthy men who need abortions?
It’s no exaggeration to say that distrust of women is the driving force of the “social issues” agenda of the Republican Party. From food stamps and “legitimate rape,” to violence against women and immigration policy. “We need to target the mother. Call it sexist, but that’s the way nature made it,” explained the man who penned Arizona’s immigration law. “Men don’t drop anchor babies, illegal alien mothers do.” I could do this ad infinitum.
If it becomes law, the Employee Nondiscrimination Act could be a vital tool for LGBT people of color who may already face race-based discrimination in the workplace
Preston Mitchum, a Center for American Progress (CAP) policy analyst who leads CAP’s Workplace Discrimination Series says that in addition to high levels of poverty and unemployment, states without laws protecting LGBT people in the workplace are particularly concentrated in the South—an area with a high density of black and brown people. And he says the discrimination often goes beyond just a supervisor.
“Supervisors will often bring other people in the workplace on board [to harass LGBT employees]. They will bring other colleagues in, which increases a hostile work environment,” he says.
ENDA likely won’t come to a vote any time soon, and so it’s that much more important to hear from those who have been discriminated against on the job.
Click the link to read stories.
What a great birthday present for me! The New Feminist Frequency video is out!
In this episode we examine the Ms. Male Character trope and briefly discuss a related pattern called the Smurfette Principle. We’ve defined the Ms. Male Character Trope as: The female version of an already established or default male character. Ms. Male Characters are defined primarily by their relationship to their male counterparts via visual properties, narrative connection or occasionally through promotional materials.
Anita re-enabled ratings on the videos, so please take the time to visit the page its posted on and click “like!”