Good Afternoon Friends and welcome. Thank you for stopping by last week for my Gratitude post. I got a huge response and I appreciate all your support. Today I am turning the reins over to Author JD Glass.
Stonewall 50 – Reflection
I want to thank Lynn Lawler for “giving me the mic” so to speak!
When I first got this opportunity to share some thoughts with everyone, I thought maybe I’d talk about writing, and books, and music, or maybe even a bit of the “how-to,” since that’s something we all seem to always want to know more about, even and especially us “writers,” because craft is something that we continuously master.
But, it’s June.
And June has special meaning for those of us in the QUILTBAG (LGBTQ, for those who aren’t familiar with that other grouping of letters) community.
On June 28, 1969, a mob-owned and run bar received a surprise: an unannounced raid. Thirteen people were arrested, and while a police officer was shoving a lesbian into the wagon—he hit her over the head.
She shouted to onlookers to act, which incited the crowd, who began to throw pennies, bottles, cobblestones, and pretty much anything else they could, at the police.
Read that again: it was a lesbian who, getting hurt, didn’t back down, didn’t comply, but instead SHOUTED at onlookers to ACT.
Fifty years have gone by since that day. Five decades.
In 1969, being “gay” in any way, if it was discovered, was a crime in every state but Illinois (which had changed that in 1961—and Illinois remains a progressive state in many areas), with punishments ranging from fines to imprisonment.
And today, in the United States, we’ve gone from it being illegal to kiss someone of the same sex, or wear the clothing of the “opposite” sex, to who’dathunkit—we have the right to get married and have that marriage recognized across the country, the freedom to not worry about “are these boys or girls pants/underwear/shoes/socks” and even change that originally assigned gender via both medical and legal means if we so choose!
Of course, it’s not perfect—not yet. Discrimination in all of its ugly forms still rears its even uglier head, and current politics makes certain we’re all made constantly aware of how much a (small) group dislikes us—which makes it even more critical that we as a community, from those who remember the days before Stonewall and those who came of age in its shadow, to those who weren’t even old enough to think about anything along those lines before the QUILTBAG community was granted full adult rights—every single one of us and our allies, continue to SHOUT and to ACT.
Luckily for us, the shouting and the acting doesn’t necessarily mean anyone needs to get hit over the head—we have the internet, we have the ability to vote, and we have the potential to reach those locally, from acts as small as perhaps posting something about a better way of phrasing things (sometimes people aren’t intentionally hurtful, they’re just ignorant and want/need redirection), to not standing for a homophobic/transphobic/misogynistic statement/joke/word.
The shouting doesn’t have to be loud, the action doesn’t have to be huge—they just have to be there, if we, 50 years after some very brave lesbians and queens stood up for us—want to be able to keep standing.
I want to thank JD Glass for joining us today. For more about her please check out her Facebook and Amazon Central pages. Tune in next week when I’ll presenting my review for Scarlett Knight’s ‘City Spirit, Country Heart.’
Until, Next time,