My discomfort and concern when watching the Rose Parade marriage ceremony stems from my understanding of the Stonewall rebellion as an impetus for revolutionary change within an overridingly oppressive social structure, as opposed to mere reform, accommodation, or assimilation.
As we approached that intersection, we could hear shouting, multiple sirens, the distant but distinct sound of violently breaking glass. We were greeted by the thrilling but unnerving sight of a Volkswagen Beetle upside down -- yes, on its roof! -- in the middle of Christopher St.
They say if you stay in the same place long enough, you get to see everything. So by staying on the same block in Greenwich Village longer than I ever expected, I've seen history being made in front of the Stonewall Inn, not once but twice.
As a gay man and tax-paying American citizen whose right to equal protection under the law has been denied me my entire life, today I feel guardedly hopeful. Guardedly, as I am fully aware of how many people share equally strong negative feelings about the court's recent rulings.
Pride parades, or "gay liberation protests," as they were first called, have been critical to bringing about LGBT rights all over the world. But we've abandoned their initial purpose as a call for equality. We owe it to ourselves, and to our history, to call upon our rich activist traditions.
We may mark time as before and after the Stonewall riots, before and after Rosa Parks sat where she pleased, before and after Jackie Robinson stepped onto Ebbets Field, but those moments were made possible by many, many, many named and unnamed people who came before.
As a 44-year-old man born in 1969, I can only imagine what it was like for those who were in New York City during the Stonewall riots that year. This is why it is wonderful to be able to talk to someone who witnessed it firsthand: Donald Reidlinger, who was a teen during the summer of '69.
I feel compelled to come out to people that I have just met. And I have noticed that most people -- especially young people -- of all races don't seem to have the same knee-jerk homophobic reaction that they used to have. And this is progress. I think James Baldwin would agree.
Admittedly, I used to be uncomfortable with Pride parades, and even just Pride in general. My own impressions of these events came from stereotypical images shown throughout mainstream media: pictures of half-naked individuals and extravagant drag queens.
Mad Men has a habit of bringing in minor characters who signal the broader theme for the following season. With bloggers Tom and Lorenzo suggesting that Bob Benson might be gay, his sudden appearance in Season 6 could allude to next season's big theme.
It's up to trans* people to be proactive and make certain that our individual and collective voices are heard loud and clear by the public and the media, and that we continue to be written into the record of queer history.
By any measure there have been tremendous gains in acceptance. But still, the list containing Mollie Olgin and Kristene Chapa, Jadin Bell, Tyler Clementi, Matthew Shepard, and countless others is not shrinking.
There are tales of a butch throwing the first punch at a cop, a projectile high-heeled shoe being lobbed across the crowd, among others, all of which have been said to have ignited the crowd to resist arrest. But regardless of which catalytic moment you want to believe, something snapped.
The president's words struck me to the core. Just as I became an accidental activist when I transitioned, I was an accidental participant in the Stonewall uprising when I stumbled upon the chaos when I was trying to attend a concert at the Village Vanguard on the night of June 28, 1969.
It is vital to view the history of the Stonewall rebellion much more closely and not let that fight be reduced to simply the right of gay and lesbian Americans to get married. It is important to note that at the forefront of the fight were two transgender women, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson.