At first, I was so excited to hear that a movie was being made about the Stonewall riots that happened in June of 1969. I mean, here’s an event that had a huge influence in the LGBTQ+ history within the US and started what we now celebrate as Pride. And many of those involved were trans women of color – including Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.
But more information started to come out about the film, including the trailer and a short description from IMDB, which says that the movie is about:
A young man’s political awakening and coming of age during the days and weeks leading up to the Stonewall Riots.
And now? I’m not so excited about the movie because it is yet again whitewashing and ciswashing history and centers a white cis gay man instead of any one of the actual major players who were trans people of color. I get that the film isn’t a documentary and hot damn Hollywood is great at making fiction out of history but to continue the erasure and rewriting of history? No thanks.
One of the great things about the release of the trailer has been the critiques of the erasure and white washing. Many have taken to social media and proclaimed that this movie is #NotMyStonewall and Miss Major herself has spoken about her anger over the inaccurate portrayal of the event.
Who knew? That cis white dude was integral to so many resistance movements! #NotMyStonewall https://t.co/dCEMW5p0z9 pic.twitter.com/4l7FhCHURl
— Minku Retrograde (@MinkuAzad) August 8, 2015
This is EXQUISITE shade. #notmystonewall https://t.co/0iyRPpZMac
— SIMON PRAG (@some_beans) August 14, 2015
Janet Mock also talked about the movie in her segment SoPOPular! on MSNBC and brought up so many amazing points, including the hope that the director, producers, and others involved in the movie will own up to their mistakes and address the issues they created by centering a white man in their film. Monica Roberts also wrote about the whitewashing of the events and called out the fact that Sylvia and Marsha are just minor characters:
Seriously? The mother of the trans rights movement, who jumped off Stonewall and along with Marsha played a major role in fighting for the recognition of gender variant people as the nascent movement was forming in the wake of the Stonewall rebellion is a minor character?
That’s some bull feces.
Personally, instead of spending money on the upcoming Stonewall film, I’ll be donating to the film Happy Birthday Marsha!, a film centered on some of the actual major players of the Stonewall Riots like Rivera, Johnson, and Miss Major. Apparently I’m not the only one to do something like this – there have been many others that have similarly acted in backlash to the upcoming Stonewall film.