The much-anticipated trailer for Roland Emmerich’s historical drama Stonewall was released yesterday, only to meet with criticism from many LGBTQ people online. While it is important that the 1969 Stonewall riots, a historically important LGBT movement, is given the Hollywood treatment, it hasn't been welcomed without criticism.
Outrage is spreading online about the ahistorical white- and cis-washing of the film treatment. It’s no secret that trans folks and LGBTQ people of color continue to have their experiences and efforts erased within the larger movement for equality. In a time when there are major outcries of injustice on the intersectionality front, the most marginalized individuals within the movement are making their concerns known.
Here are six tweets that perfectly sum up why Stonewall misses the mark and why people are signing the GSA Network’s petition for a boycott of the film.
1. Ciscentering the history.
— Tony Kearney (@atlantatony) August 5, 2015
There's a long history in the LGBTQ movement of pushing trans voices, particularly the voices of trans people of color, to the back of the line despite the first scuffles being started by trans folks and drag performers.
2. Whitewashing the movement.
— Mary Emily O'Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) August 5, 2015
Even today, in the post-marriage equality United States, larger LGBTQ organizations have done little to address issues faced by queer and trans people of color. Study after study have shown that QTPOC bear the brunt of discrimination and continue to lack access to basic resources in comparision to their white counterparts.
3. The riots began in conjunction with arrests based on both gender nonconformity AND sexual orientation.
Sylvia Rivera, a transgender woman of color, threw her heels & started the riot, NOT Danny from the Midwest throwing a brick #Stonewall
— cecelia (@zo0mbini) August 5, 2015
When police raided gay bars during the time of Stonewall, many of the charges revolved around laws that prohibited wearing articles of clothing that were deemed "incongruous" with a person's sex assigned at birth. Gender-based protocols and mind-sets continue to plague the community. Unfortunately, many queer people falsely believe that antisodomy laws were the only factor in LGBTQ criminalization.
4. Racism in Hollywood isn't just a cis, heterosexual phenomenon.
Maybe the whitewashing of the #Stonewall movie is a meta commentary on how the movement has been mainly focusing on well-off cis whites?
— pat (@ImPopeNow) August 5, 2015
Mainstream media has historically only focused on one identity at a time, erasing the fact that there are plenty of QTPOC stories that have been overlooked. While leaders like Harvey Milk have had their moment in the spotlight, others, like Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, and more, continue to be overlooked. Only now are we seeing efforts to elevate the stories of individuals like Miss Major and CeCe Mcdonald, but — to be clear — those have mostly been led by queer and trans people of color.
5. Assimilation and an elevation of capitalism and classism continue to categorize the LGBTQ movement.
— Elizabeth Hawksworth (@liz_hawksworth) August 5, 2015
In the years following the riots, these leaders like Sylvia Rivera warned others against becoming too focused on assimilation and leaving the most vulnerable queer individuals behind. (Clearly, they didn't listen.)