Enraged is an understatement.
Watching the trailer for Roland Emmerich's upcoming film Stonewall made me feel levels of betrayal.
Basically, this film is going to be about a fictional cis-white male who ends up being the leading voice and face of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The character Danny Winters (played by Jeremy Irvine) gets rejected from his lily white small town and runs to New York City where he finally meets poor queer people of color and gets introduced to The Stonewall Inn. There, he is culture shocked by the rudeness and harassment of cis-white police which leads him to be the main rebel that throws the initial brick that sets off the major LGBT revolution.
Except, that's nowhere near the truth and Hollywood has decided to make a diverse movement one where a white man with sex appeal is at the center of it. And of course he rejects a transwoman of color who he has to tell "I can't love you" -- because clearly the director and screenwriter didn't love people of color enough to accurately include them in this drama.
The trailer quotes President Obama's inaugural speech on American equality and hints at "where PRIDE began." That will be the majority of the voice you will get from people of color in the trailer.
Go to the IMDB page for this movie and such legends as Marsha P. Johnson, a black transwoman who performed as a drag queen who celebrated her 25th birthday at Stonewall the night of the riot, is placed at the lower tier of the credits. You will not find Silvia Rivera, the bold Puerto Rican transwoman who actually threw the first bottle, anywhere in the credits at all. These two transwomen of color were the most notable in our history for igniting the riots that launched the modern-day LGBT civil rights movement.
But Hollywood has set its sights yet again on putting a dreamy white heartthrob as the hero of the day.
And I am here to tell them that they have chosen the wrong community and time to attempt such buffoonery.
As intersectionality becomes a more discussed realm within our current LGBT movement, we have no time to fantasize a reality in which white cis-dominance erases queer representation of color. Neither do we have the luxury to insert a deliberate distortion of our history for the rest of the world to see at a time when they're more open embracing it.
What disappoints me most about this film is not that it simply omits people of color in it -- but purposely goes out of its way to replace them with white fictional ones. And to add insult to injury, it capitalizes off of the current landmark LGBT victories that these transwomen of color helped pave the way for without giving them proper respects. This has yet again led me to question the racism within our LGBT community.
If the late Harvey Milk gets a deserving Oscar winning biopic on his legacy, why not Bayard Rustin who is just as worthy? What do the media and this movement often likes to chastise the queer communities of color's straight siblings and churches for being overtly homophobic -- and yet never celebrate the LGBT ones who have helped heal some of those wombs?
I'm waiting on a James Baldwin biopic and perhaps we can finally talk about queer people of color outside of the erotic white fetishism with ballroom culture. It would be nice to see a leading queer face of color more at the center of our film and cultural recollection. Because they were present, they did lead and they do matter.
If you appreciate historical accuracy and fair inclusion, don't go see this film. If you don't want to fuel the economy at another Hollywood attempt of whitewashing American history, don't give any aspect of this film a single dime or promotion. And if you want to properly pay homage and respect to the real heroes of Stonewall and their legacy, you will not pass along the film's narrative that perpetuates a damaging erasure of critical LGBT voices in this movement.
In other words, don't support it if you have a moral conscious. We have come too far to let such a poorly executed film divide us. Boycott the film Stonewall.