Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Keeping Our History Alive

Let’s face it, many times we are lumped together with “gay.” How many times have you heard that the “gays” revolted at Stonewall as if trans people or lesbians were not there.

So when someone rights about a trans person in history it is worth repeating…
Meet the Transgender Activist Fighting to Keep Marsha P. Johnson’s Legacy Alive
In the Netflix documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, Victoria Cruz joins the canon of legendary New York activists.
Vanity Fair
By Yohhana Desta
October 3, 2017

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, premiering Friday on Netflix, tells three vital stories. The first, and most encompassing, is about the titular Marsha P. Johnson, an activist and self-described drag queen. A fanciful performer, sex worker, and Andy Warhol model, Johnson was also, most importantly, a prominent advocate who helped lead the 1969 Stonewall uprising and was a mainstay at every subsequent protest—until her death in 1992, which was ruled a suicide but may have involved foul play.

The second is about the electrifying Sylvia Rivera, Johnson’s close friend and an icon of trans activism in her own right, best known for lambasting other activists for not supporting trans women in a blistering speech she delivered at the 1973 Gay Liberation Rally. “I have been thrown in jail!” she shouted as the crowd jeered. “I have lost my job! I have lost my apartment for gay liberation, and you all treat me this way?”

The third is about a lesser-known figure: Victoria Cruz, a queer trans woman and former activist who knew both Rivera and Johnson. She shares precious first-person detail about their gripping lives and tragic deaths as the documentary’s main narrator. “She lived in that same time, in the same New York,” says director David France, an Oscar nominee for his previous documentary How to Survive a Plague. “Almost nobody who was a trans person of color survived—and she survived. . . . She’s a witness to a time that most of us can’t even imagine.”
We have been written out of history so many times that this show is a must watch. We cannot let our history fade away.



1 comment:

Richard Nelson said...

Just to put the word "Gay" in a historical context the word was used at that time as an umbrella term for all of our people. It was the gay liberation front, the gay activist alliance, the gay this and that. Each group starting with the L crowd had to fight to come out from under that umbrella. Even Sylvia and Marsha P used the term. After various fights we finally became the LGBTQ community. (sometime I wish that the Q was not included as most of the time the mainstream LGBT community doesn't have a clue about QUEER as a political stand.) I am old enough to remember the fights by the other communities to be represented. If speaking of those days I would now prefer to use the term LGBT as gay now has the meaning of just men. Anyone who still refers to it the other way are erasing our people.

Sometime Diana ask some of the older activists why the trans or bi community was not included in the 1991 civil rights bill or about the fight to include the Bi community in the coalition in Ct. Ourstories that were being played out on the larger stage all across amerikkka were also be played out here. And when they tell you their various responses remember to check out the archives at CCSU. The archives will tell you all of the facts that you need to know. You will be surprised at who stood against inclusion and who left the movement over it. Who is now celebrated as great LGBT heroes and sheroes of the movement and who has fallen by the wayside. In 1999 when I was involved in the exhibition Challenging and Changing America: The Struggle for LGBT Civil Rights I had the opportunity to pour over thousands of papers, read countless articles, interviewed and talked to many people and received an education that folks wouldn't believe. I had the wonderful opportunity to not only review the archives at CCSU but the Gunnison Collection at UCONN. Want the facts of ourstories read about it when it was happening.

Each time I see the clip of Sylvia in 1973 I cringe. How could folks be so mean to a woman who gave so much to all of them. Then my thoughts go to Jennicet Gutieerez who was booed at the White House Pride by elitist gays and lesbians when she dared to question Obama on the detention of Trans woman in the deportation centers. Ugly mess. These prideful LG folks would rather cozy with the straights than support our own. Something about assimilation stinks. Anyway a very Happy LGBTQ Ourstory Month. (I try hard not to say his-troy as we are far more than just him and ourstories are not only his.)