Stonewall 50 – Episode 4 – Live from Stonewall

Making Gay History live taping at the Stonewall Inn, May 23, 2019. From left to right: Adam Eli, Ann Northrop, Eric Marcus, Joyce Hunter, and Sir Knight. Credit: Photo courtesy of Will Coley.

Episode Notes

From Eric Marcus: For the fourth episode of MGH’s Stonewall 50 season, we offer reflections on the legacy of Stonewall—an intergenerational conversation with five special guests recorded on May 23, 2019 in front of a live audience upstairs at the Stonewall Inn. One archivist, Jason Baumann from the New York Public Library, and four activists—Joyce Hunter, Ann Northrop, Sir Knight, and Adam Eli—look back at the Stonewall uprising to consider its impact on the movement and how the legacy of Stonewall has informed their work in the fight for LGBTQ rights. 

To learn more about the legacy of the Stonewall uprising—and about the people who participated in the live show—I encourage you to explore the resources below.

Happy Pride!

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Stonewall: The Making of a Monument is a short documentary that shows how, ever since the 1969 riots on the streets outside the Stonewall Inn, LGBTQ communities have gathered there to express their joy, their anger, their pain, and their power. The film, which was directed by Cheryl Furjanic (Eric Marcus was one of the producers), contains MGH audio of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and others, and tons of invaluable archival photos and video footage. Watch it here

In the fall of 2017, the National Park Service hosted a scholars’ roundtable on the significance of Stonewall. Read essays by participants David Carter, Lillian Faderman, Emily Hobson, Jen Manion, and Eric Marcus here

Jason Baumann coordinates the New York Public Library’s Humanities and LGBT Collections, for which he has curated several exhibitions—most recently, “Love and Resistance: Stonewall 50.” Watch Jason talk about the exhibit here and check out the companion book. Jason was also instrumental in compiling the recent anthology The Stonewall Reader, which offers first accounts, diaries, periodic literature, and articles from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers to paint a multi-faceted picture of the before, during, and after of Stonewall.

To learn more about Joyce Hunter, check out our episode (and accompanying episode notes) about her here.

Read Ann Northrop’s bio here. In December 2018, Ann and her Gay USA TV show co-host Andy Humm hosted a roundtable about Stonewall 50 with guests Eric Marcus, Stonewall veteran Martin Boyce, activist Karla Jay, and Jamie Adams, the National Park Service’s park ranger assigned to the Stonewall National Monument site. Watch the discussion here

See Ann, alongside Larry Kramer and other ACT UP activists, on the Phil Donahue Show in 1990 here. Ann is also a co-founder of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which will mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall with a Queer Liberation March and Rally on June 30, 2019. The march will retrace the steps of the original Christopher Street Liberation Day March of 1970.

Sir Knight speaks and advocates for people of color/difference with a focus on the inclusion of black and brown queer and trans folks in the fight for human equality. Check out his website here.  Watch his VideoOut coming-out story here. Sir is also the creator and co-host of BlackTransTV, which provides in-depth content about the black trans experience.

Adam Eli (@adameli) is the founder of Voices4 (@voices4), a non-violent direct action activist group committed to advancing global queer liberation. Check out these striking images of Voices4’s April 2018 demonstration to demand justice for the victims of Chechnya’s queer purge. Read more about Adam and Voices4 in this 2018 article in Medium, and watch Adam on Logo’s LGBTQ State of the Union here. 

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Episode Transcript

Eric Marcus Narration: I’m Eric Marcus, and this is Making Gay History. And we’re doing something a bit different this week. We’re bringing you a show we recorded live at The Stonewall Inn, in front of an intimate audience of listeners and friends. We wanted to explore some of the themes that have emerged during this Stonewall 50 season on Making Gay History.

What made the Stonewall uprising different from previous confrontations with the police? Why has its legend endured? How did it inspire organizers? And how does it continue to inspire activists on the front lines today? 

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Eric Marcus: Hello! And welcome to the Stonewall Inn. This is going to be a live taping. So make sure your coughs and chortles are distinctive and well-timed if you want to be able to identify them when you listen to the show when we release it. But kidding aside, don’t be afraid to make some noise. We welcome your enthusiastic applause, which will sound great to our thousands of listeners in 200 countries and territories around the world, which is where we’re downloaded. So before we start, I wanted to take a moment to give thanks and to honor the people who got us here. We owe so much to so many, and we hope to show our gratitude through our work, through the podcast, and by donating tonight’s ticket sales to our friends at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. 

We’re grateful to all the activists who made the world we live in today possible, and we have some fierce and inspiring activists with us here tonight. We’ll be bringing four of them up on stage for a conversation later for part two of our program, but I wanted to give them a shout-out right now so we can give them a round of appreciative applause: Sir Knight, host of BlackTransTV; Adam Eli from Voices4; Joyce Hunter, who I first interviewed 30 years ago, co-founder of the Harvey Milk High School; Ann Northrop, one of the organizers of the upcoming Queer Liberation March. Thank you for being here. 

And we wouldn’t be here without the agitators. So we wanted to take a moment to offer thanks to the troublemakers, to those who refused to go quietly, and I asked our panelists to pick out who among the agitators we featured on Making Gay History inspires them, and I’m going to play you a couple of clips they picked out.

So Sir, Sir Knight, describes Bayard Rustin, who organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom as one of his, quote, “favorite brilliant humans,” and we couldn’t agree more. So have a listen. 

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Bayard Rustin: It was an absolute necessity for me to declare homosexuality, because if I didn’t I was aiding and abetting the prejudice that was a part of the effort to destroy me, and that in the long run, the only way I could be a free, whole person was to face the shit.

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EM: We were able to bring you that tape because our executive producer Sara Burningham got a handoff of audio tapes on the corner of 23rd and 8th Avenue from Walter Naegle, who is Bayard Rustin’s surviving partner. So we deal tapes in Chelsea. And it was a privilege to be able to share that, that audio through the podcast. Since Bayard Rustin died a year before I started my work, I never had the opportunity to interview him. 

Adam Eli chose this quote from Chuck Rowland, one of the founders of the Mattachine Society, the earliest sustained gay rights group in the U.S. And here’s Chuck talking about the then-revolutionary idea that homosexuals were an oppressed minority.

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Chuck Rowland: I don’t think or feel like a heterosexual. My life was not like a heterosexual. I had emotional experiences, that I could not have had as a heterosexual. My whole person, my whole being, my whole character, my whole life, differed—differs—from heterosexuals, not by what I do in bed because I don’t do any of that in bed anymore. I believe there is a—is—a gay sensibility. I would say, well, there is a, there’s a gay culture. A body of language, feelings, experiences, thinking, feeling, that we share in common. 

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EM: Chuck may have talked in this clip about not being the most sexual person, but I don’t think there was anyone I interviewed 30 years ago who was more enthusiastic in sharing with me stories of conquest during World War II, and it wasn’t about battles. Most of it was, most of it is unprintable for high school textbooks. He talked, he talked about a pickup on a troop train that was just, it was, it was as if he was 18 years old again, and loved sharing the story, and I loved hearing it. 

The next clip from the archive was chosen by me. You’re going to hear more from her later, but Joyce Hunter is my hero. She inspires me every day for her grit, for her determination, and her huge heart. 

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Joyce Hunter: One of the things that the movement did for me, it gave me a vehicle to express my anger. 

EM: What were you angry about?

JH: Everything. That I had been denied my life. That I had no adolescence. My childhood was, was robbed. I always say that when I come back in the next life, I want to come out at two, and I want to be able to enjoy being who I am.

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EM: I think we all wish the same, Joyce. Yeah.

So we’re grateful. We are so grateful to the activists, to the agitators, and we’re also grateful to the archivists. I have a very special archivist joining me for the first part of this evening. Dr. Jason Baumann, the Susan and Douglas Dillon Assistant Director for Collection Development, and Coordinator of the New York Public Library’s LGBT Initiative, and editor of the recently published Stonewall Reader. Welcome!

Making Gay History live taping at the Stonewall Inn, May 23, 2019. Jason Baumann (left) and Eric Marcus. Credit: photo courtesy of Will Coley.

Jason Baumann: Thank you so much.

EM: So Jason, you and I have had the chance to work together a lot, but I’ve never gotten to interview you.

JB: Never.

EM: So I’m very happy to have the chance to do that.

JB: Me, too.

EM: So your focus is the LGBTQ archive, which contains a lot more than just stuff about Stonewall. Why do you think Stonewall gets so much attention, and why the focus on those six nights in June of 1969?

JB: It’s kind of a victim of its own success. I think it seems activists like Michael Brown, Martha Shelley, other people who helped start Gay Liberation Front, Ellen Broidy, Craig Rodwell, and others… There was a purposeful decision to make Stonewall a kind of line in the sand in the LGBT political movement. There had been a number of riots across the 1960s before it, and demonstrations before it. The moment that happened after Stonewall politically was so different than what had come before with the homophile movement. And I think that just a totally different perspective… 

EM: So how was it different from before and after?

JB: I think afterwards you have this whole new generation of people, many of them much younger, some of them already involved in the homophile movement in the 60s, but dissatisfied with it, wanting to take it further. They are people who sort of kind of came of age in the anti-war movement, in more radical parts of the African American civil rights movement, and they want to bring all of this energy to bear on gay and lesbian rights activism. And so they just bring this totally different perspective that I think is also about changing society.

I don’t think it’s unfair for homophile-era activists that there’s an assimilationist tendency there, and with Gay Liberation Front, of really trying to transform society altogether, and I think that there’s this feeling of liberation that there was nothing like that before. Not at that kind of level. It’s not just that those six days, because if there hadn’t been this activist movement to move it forward that would have just been one of these other riots.

EM: Gay Liberation Front was an organization formed almost while the unrest was ongoing. What, how would you compare some, an organization like the Gay Liberation Front to the Mattachine Society of New York, which Dick Leitsch ran? And it was in existence and they organized the first meetings with the Daughters of Bilitis—which was founded in 1955, Mattachine in 1950—they organized right after the, the uprising. How was the Mattachine Society of New York different from, from GLF, from Gay Liberation Front?

JB: I mean, I think in a way, in some ways, Mattachine was less ideological. It’s really just about these certain laws that they want to change, about these freedoms, about civil liberties, while Gay Liberation Front, there’s an, inspired by Marxism, it’s very much inspired by the anti-war movement. You can even see that, in some ways, it’s, it’s a funny kind of contrast, because so much of that Mattachine-era activism was about the right to serve in the military, which is this key issue throughout the 1960s because it’s the right to employment, generally, in the society, because if the government can discriminate against us for the right to employment, that sets the tone for every other employer.

But then a few years later with Gay Liberation Front, there’s this contingent that’s in the May Day protest that shut down Washington D.C. in 1971 and trying to make it very clear that the gay liberation is hand-in-hand with the anti-war movement. So it’s a totally different kind of perspective and set of values that come to bear.

EM: I think so many people think that the first time the issue of the military came up was in the 1970s, when in fact that was an issue already for the early homophile rights groups in the 19—, in the 1950s and 60s.

JB: Yeah. I always point people to this, there’s this beautiful little picture, 1964, first protest that we have documented at Selective Service here in New York City. 

EM: Yeah, at the Whitehall Induction Center.

JB: Right, but it’s, like, five people. It’s the five people willing to be, protest as homosexuals in New York City in 1964.

EM: And that was the first, first documented public protest of homosexuals. 

JB: Yeah.

EM: And then we fast forward to Stonewall and you have hundreds of people, well, if not self-identifying, they certainly were challenging the police. And then a year later, thousands of people in a march, a Pride march and rally in Central Park afterwards.

JB: Yeah. I always point people to those two pictures. I show them the ’64 one and then I show them the gay be-in happening in Central Park. That’s the sea change that happens before and after Stonewall. 

EM: You said it’s a gay “be-in”?

JB: Yeah, the gay be-in happening. 

EM: Can you explain what a “be-in” is? That’s B-E-hyphen-I-N, right?

JB: Right, be-in, because there was a human be-in that was in ’67 or so, two, a few years before, in Central Park, that was a sort of grand hippie counter-cultural happening, a sort of gathering of people with music, and—

EM: So is it fair to characterize Stonewall, then, as the—I’m always saying, it wasn’t the birth of the gay rights movement, or the LGBTQ movement—but it was apparently the birth of something. So can we say that it was the birth of gay liberation?

JB: I think it’s very fair to say it’s the birth of gay liberation. And I think people from Gay Liberation Front will say that.

EM: So it was a different phase of the movement. 

JB: Yeah.

EM: But much bigger. I, there was a national conference in 1966 in Kansas City. As Frank Kameny said, one of the early activists, they chose Kansas City because it was inconvenient for everybody. And there were 20 organizations that were represented at that conference. And when I suggested to Frank that there were a dozen or a few dozen activists, or however many activists, he said, “A few dozen?!” He said, “There were a few, you can count them on one hand!” And we went from that period where there were maybe hundreds of activists, to thousands of activists in the aftermath. So the riots were explosive and messy, and so was some of the activism in the year or so after. Can you give us a laundry list of some of the organizations that came into being? 

EM: Yes. So first you have Mattachine Action Committee that sort of emerges right out of Mattachine, and these younger people who join—Michael Brown and Martha Shelley and others—splits off and starts Gay Liberation Front quite quickly. And out of Gay Liberation Front you then have Gay Activists Alliance, which is a combination of these people who come into the movement with Gay Liberation Front and also older activists who had been in the homophile movement, like Kay Lahusen and Barbara Gittings.

And then also out of Gay Liberation Front you have Radicalesbians and—the Lavender Menace first, and then becomes the Radicalesbians later that year, after Stonewall. Then also you have Third World Gay Revolution movement that comes out of Gay Liberation Front. Also, Salsa Soul Sisters, which comes out of Gay Activists Alliance, the black lesbian caucus in Gay Activists Alliance, and Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, which really comes out of the takeover of NYU.

EM: STAR. 

JB: Yes.

EM: As I’ve come to understand how things unfolded in the months after Stonewall, a whole range of people worked together in the immediate aftermath, and then people sorted themselves out into different groups, and then over a period of months everyone sorted themselves out again. And so I wonder how we go from GLF, the Gay Liberation Front, to the Gay Activists Alliance, and then help me understand, who got left out in the sorting process?

JB: One thing is, I think we tend to think of those as different groups. Like, we always think about Kay Lahusen and Barbara Gittings as being sort of kicked out of Gay Liberation Front, and “You’re a bunch of dinosaurs” and that kind of thing. But you look at early issues of Come Out! and Kay Lahusen photographed for it, it’s on the masthead. So there are all these surprising moments of overlap in those groups. And even, like, Sylvia Rivera, she was in all of those groups. We have the records for Gay Activists Alliance at the library and the minutes, and you go through Gay Activists Alliance’s minutes, and Sylvia’s, like, at all of the meetings, and it’s like, “Sylvia got,” the minutes are, like, “Sylvia got arrested this week.” You know, it’s Sylvia, you know, “Sylvia wants us to protest” this or “Sylvia wants us to protest” that. So in one way, they’re, people sorted themselves, but I think, and maybe that’s our impression because I think there’s so many political differences of, between people who came of that movement in retrospect, right? But I think on the ground, people were much more intimately connected than maybe they let on today.

EM: Ha, so we’re perhaps mistaken in trying to sort things neatly, that people were involved across the spectrum and went from one group to another. 

JB: Yeah.

EM: So there were a lot of different organizations. There were also a lot of different publications. 

JB: Yes. 

EM: And so what were some of those publications? I saw a lot of them at the exhibition at the New York Public Library, which you curated, which was called—

JB: “Love and Resistance: Stonewall 50.” 

EM: And I should say it wasn’t, it’s not past tense, it’s current. 

JB: Yes, until July 13.

EM: And that’s the main branch of the public library. First of all, can you give us an idea of what some of those publications were, and how different were they from what had come before?

JB: The library has one of the greatest collections in the country of these LGBT magazines. Our collection’s basically from, like, the 1950s to around 1990, the core of it, and it’s about 3,000 titles from around the United States. 

EM: Wow.

JB: Yeah.

EM: So it wasn’t just New York City.

JB:  Not just New York City. In each part of the show, there’s sort of a before and after Stonewall, and so there’s sort of selection of magazines, pre-Stonewall homophile-era magazines. So ONE, coming out of ONE Institute. There are a number of publications with ONE. Issues of The Ladder, also to show sort of before and after—

EM: Which was the lesbian magazine of the Daughters of Bilitis. 

JB: Yes, and also to show before Barbara and Kay took over as editors, what it looked like, and after, with Kay putting out lesbians on the cover of the magazine for the first time. Also Drum, in terms of Janus Society and activism that’s happening in Philadelphia at the time before Stonewall. And also even Advocate comes out in ’67, comes out of the Black Cat protests.

EM: Right, and it started out as the newsletter of the organization PRIDE, which was founded in 1966. So, sad to say, Pride did not begin here at Stonewall, Pride began in Los Angeles, and it morphed into, they had a newsletter that morphed into the Advocate magazine. So the publications that came out after Stonewall, what were some of their names and how are they different?

JB: A totally different aesthetic, right? So I think one of the first ones is Gay Power, which was edited by John Edward Heys, who’s still around. He has these amazing sort of comic book gay superheroes. Also covering the drag scene in New York, it’s covering sort of Andy Warhol Factory scene, and also this emerging activism with Gay Liberation Front. You also, then you have Gay, which is Lige Clark and Jack Nichols, really that Al Goldstein from Screw sort of gets convinced to do this sort of gay newspaper here in New York. A favorite one that I think nobody ever talks about but I always point people to is Queen’s Quarterly, which is for—

EM: Not published in Queens.

JB: Not published, it was for queens, right? At first, and actually the first issue comes out in the spring, it’s before Stonewall, and it has this very sort of hippie flower, gay flower child kind of cover, and the first issue’s Queen’s Quarterly and then later it becomes QQ: For Gay Guys with No Hang-Ups.

EM: They must have only had one or two subscribers.

JB: No, I think it was huge, because it went on into the 70s and it’s kind of almost like this kind of gay Esquire sort of lifestyle magazine, with, like, decorating your house, about cruising, avoiding STDs, like, yeah, it’s like, it’s a fun magazine and nobody really talks about it. Then, also, a favorite is Drag or Drag Queens. That was Lee Brewster, who I always try to bring up because I think it’s somebody, nobody remembers Lee Brewster, and Lee was in Mattachine in the 1960s and organized all of the parties, it seems, for Mattachine, and also did annual trips to New Orleans for gay men and drag queens to enjoy Mardi Gras.

So, and then later, owned the store Lee’s Mardi Gras, which was like the great drag emporium for years and years in New York. But in 19—, around 1970, he starts this magazine, Drag Queens, whose mission statement is “to fight for the right of everyone to cross-dress regardless of their sexual orientation,” and, which I think is the most amazing mission statement on a masthead, ever, of any magazine, and was fighting all of these, there are all these laws, or there’s these interpretations of laws that are used to arrest people for cross-dressing in New York in 1960s, early 70s, so Lee was really instrumental in fighting those laws and oppression for, by the police, for transgender people, gender non-conforming people. I think Lee is just this amazing person and really doesn’t get enough credit.

EM: You also edited The Stonewall Reader, which has recently been published. What is the book, and then if you can tell us what people can take away from it.

JB: So it’s an anthology of memoirs and interviews before, during, and after Stonewall. And so the first section, before, is both to give a sense of this activism from the homophile era, also just what did it feel like to be gay, lesbian, or transgender in the United States in the 1960s. So there’s both sort of interviews with Barbara Gittings, there is also, like, pieces from Transvestia that Virginia Prince edited, and actually her How and Why Virginia, her own autobiography, and then, like, John Rechy sort of being cruised at the library by one of the staff trying to pick him up, which is a favorite piece that I got to put in—

EM: At the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue? What a shock!

JB: Yes, exactly, my great illustrious predecessors cruising the, the patrons of the library. And then the middle section is all people’s memoirs of being at Stonewall. So it’s the reporting from the Voice, has interviews, including your interviews, with people who were there at the riots, and from people’s memoirs. I, so, in there, I tried to actually create as much confusion as possible, and I wanted as many conflicting narratives as I possibly could get, because from my own experience in being in riots and in demonstrations myself, I know, I think if you have an event with thousands of people, every person has their own story of what happened and nobody has a 360-degree, nobody has God’s eyes’ view of what occurred, right?

And also memory changes things. So I thought it was more true to give, say, 15 conflicting narratives of people that I think probably were there or were close to being there, or think they were there, or, you know, there is that thing, right? And so I try to be as generous as possible and also to get as many kind of different stories as possible. And then the last section, after Stonewall, is to really give a sense of this, this emergence of gay liberation, and also lesbian liberation and transgender liberation. How did these movements change? How did people’s possibilities change afterwards. 

Jason Baumann. Credit: Photo by Jonathan Blanc/New York Public Library.

EM: It’s a privilege to be in the book. Some of our excerpts are in the book. It’s also an audio book, and Making Gay History fans may recognize some of the voices and some of the stories, and my voice. I get to play Edmund White in the book. And as I was reading his account of Stonewall, I thought, Well, that’s not how it happened. But you make a good point that everyone had a different perspective on, on the experience and also memory changes over time, especially as you recall a memory, it’s reconstructed every time and it’s a little bit different. 

This season of Making Gay History is focused on New York City, and here in New York City, we do tend to think that what happened here is all that matters, and I’m guilty of that, but that’s clearly not so, especially since the movement got its start on the West Coast in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the 1950s. Around the time of Stonewall and afterwards, what was, briefly, what was happening away from New York City? 

JB: You’re one of the people who’s been most helpful to me in realizing this, but just that, as I think you’ve said, every state in the United States had some sort of fledgling LGBT rights group by the 1960s, and I think also with the riots that happened before Stonewall—Susan Stryker, I think, really writes about how Compton’s Cafeteria riot and how there was activism that came out of that with the Vanguard group in Dewey’s restaurant sit-in in Philly. There’s all this activism and protest that happens. So Stonewall’s not the first of these riots, right? It’s kind of the culmination of all, of the series of riots that happened across the nation. 

EM: What made Stonewall different, then? Because there was Compton’s Cafeteria, there was the New Year’s Day Eve Ball in San Francisco where there’s a huge confrontation with the police that led to new activism. What was different about Stonewall?

JB: I never think that it’s actually Stonewall itself as much as I think that it’s, the community had just reached a kind of critical mass. You know? I really just think the community had reached a kind of level of maturity, of size, range of political opinions, a number of people who were inspired to—and even, the kind of, the marches that happened in the mid-sixties to do direct action, right? You had this activist community that was eager to do confrontational demonstrations, picketing, … And then you had this younger generation of queer people who had wanted to bring this to another level.

So I think it just had, it had reached this pitch. People tend to think that Stonewall was about the people who were in the bar, when it seems it’s really much more about the people who are on the street outside of the bar, that community of queer and gender non-conforming people who were living in the Village, many of them homeless. There was this size of this community that was here in the Village that could really fight back and could be pulled into this activism and bring this to this other level. 

EM: So, Jason, I want to thank you for being so supportive of the podcast. We bother you all the time. You house our archive. You digitized the collection, and we’re so grateful to you for that. And thank you so much for your work. But thanks so much for being here tonight. 

JB: My pleasure, and just, I’m just one of many people at New York Public Library doing this work. So I just have a host of colleagues who are also behind all of this. 

EM: Thank you, Jason. 

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EM Narration: We’ll be back in just a moment with a really touching intergenerational conversation between some incredible activists. I learned so much during that conversation, and maybe you will, too. But first, we’re going to sneak into the audience… Producers Mo LaBorde and Will Coley were roving the Stonewall Inn with their microphones, primed to record the voices of Making Gay History listeners for this very special anniversary.

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Mo LaBorde: What does Stonewall mean to you?

Will Coley: We’re getting ready to celebrate World Pride because of what happened here 50 years ago.  So what does it mean to you in your life what happened here?

Unidentified Audience Member 1: What Stonewall means to me? Sure.

Unidentified Audience Member 2: To me, Stonewall means—you know, and it’s a shame, right?—for decades we were told that we were sick or we were wrong or we should change ourselves, and Stonewall, I think, was a powerful moment where people said, “I’m not wrong, you’re wrong,” right? “I don’t need to change. You need to change.”  And it’s fifty years, I think we’ve seen that that did change.

Unidentified Audience Member 1: So I used to live in Berlin, in Germany.  Over there they call Pride “Christopher Street Day.” The fact that somebody would celebrate specifically this street where we are standing today in so many parts of the world says volumes.

Unidentified Audience Member 3: To me, Stonewall is mostly about the multiplicity of LGBT experience because no one remembers it the same, many of the facts cannot be perfectly corroborated, and I think there’s, like, a beauty and an illustrative point about what happens when we start to write our own narratives, that they might not always line up.

Unidentified Audience Member 4: I was sitting there and thinking, I have a really good life.  You know? It’s not something I think about all the time, but I’m here and my life is the way it is because of the work that folks before me did.  And I’m really thankful, and I don’t think I get a chance to be thankful very much.

Unidentified Audience Member 5: I mean, as a movement, I can’t begin to, like, describe that sort of experience, it seems, like, too, bigger than me.

Will Coley: What does Stonewall mean to you?

Unidentified Audience Member 6: It means a lot of people putting their life on the line and doing a lot of hard work so we didn’t have to, I mean…

Unidentified Audience Member 7: Stonewall, to me, represents a place where, a beacon of hope for people that didn’t have much hope, and I believe it continues to represent that for the world.

Unidentified Audience Member 8: If I’m still scared of being gay in public sometimes, I can’t even imagine how the people felt at Stonewall, so I just feel immensely lucky.

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EM: And we’re back. This is a very special live taping of Making Gay History upstairs at the Stonewall Inn. And I first want to talk a little bit about language and that’s going to include a very quick bit of Making Gay History backstory, or Making Gay History history, if you will. So this is about how Making Gay History got its name. I wrote a book 30 years ago, which we called Making History. The publisher—and I blame the publisher, I don’t think I was that nervous—the publisher was nervous about using the word “gay” in the title of the book. There was concern that the sales force would be uncomfortable selling the book, and that book stores would be uncomfortable about having the book face-out on a shelf. It was published in 1992. It’s a long time ago. 

Ann Northrop: Not that long!

EM: No, well. Oh no, it’s gonna be a challenging panel. They’re already, they’re already restless! Nothing like having four activists on a panel with you. So there was, there was anxiety about, about using the word “gay” in the title, so we used “lesbian” and “gay” in the subtitle. Ten years later the second edition was published and by then nobody cared, so we called it Making Gay History. And when we started the podcast, it’s not like we thought a lot about what we were going to call it because it didn’t start out as a podcast, it started out as an educational project.

We were going to be providing short clips of my archival audio for our friends at History UnErased. It’s unerased.org, it’s an educational organization, and they thought it would be great to have our audio anchor their curricula, some of which are now available online. But when Sara Burningham, Making Gay History’s executive producer who is in the room monitoring the computer back there, when Sara said, when she got down to about 12, 14 minutes, it sounded like a podcast. And, but we had to have something out within, by October of three years ago, because the grant required that we have something out during LGBTQ history month. So we decided, well, what are we going to call it? Well, we’ll just call, call it what the book was. Making Gay History. So that’s how it got its name.

There were some suggestions that we call it Making Queer History, but I’m an old guy and I grew up in a time when the word queer was a really bad word and you didn’t want to be called queer. So the hair on the back of my neck stands up every time I hear it, so I just thought, I cannot call Making Gay History Making Queer History. I just can’t do it. So it’s Making Gay History. But, the podcast seeks to honor the risks taken and the contributions made by the breadth of the community. We’re not just talking about gay history, we’re talking about LGBTQ history, and all our histories are bound up together, and our futures are bound up together as well.

Making Gay History live taping at the Stonewall Inn, May 23, 2019. From left to right: Adam Eli, Ann Northrop, Eric Marcus, Joyce Hunter, and Sir Knight. Credit: photo courtesy of Will Coley.

So, on with the show. I’m joined on the stage by our four restive panelists, and I know I’m in trouble if I don’t do this right. And I’m going to ask them to very briefly introduce themselves one by one. So let’s start with our seasoned activists, Joyce Hunter and then Ann Northrop. 

JH: My name is Joyce Hunter. I co-founded the Harvey Milk High School, after years of being an activist, because I do remember not being at the Stonewall. And I was also the co-coordinator of the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

EM: In 1979. 

JH: In 1979. October 14, 1979.

EM: Ann.

AN: I’m Ann Northrop. I was a mainstream journalist. I got fed up, I quit, I went to work with Joyce at the Hetrick-Martin Institute and got back out in the streets with ACT UP, got arrested a lot. And now I co-host a TV show called Gay USA, a weekly news show, and I’m back to combining activism and news.

EM: And I might add that you are one of the organizers of the Queer Liberation March. 

AN: Yes. 

EM: Which is—

AN: A people’s political march coming up in just a few days on June 30 here in New York, leaving from right in front of the Stonewall Inn at 9:30 a.m. and tracing the original routes of the original marches up to Central Park.

EM: And I will be there along with you.

AN: Excellent. I’ll see you there. 

EM: And now the younger generation. Sir Knight and then Adam Eli. 

Sir Knight: All right, my name is Sir Knight. I am a public speaker, model, activist, revolutionary, media creator. I’m also the co-founder and host of BlackTransTV. You can find us on YouTube and Instagram, where we just uplift, inspire, motivate every person on this planet to be the best version of themself, because I believe that authenticity is the key to success. So when you tune into who you are then you can reach your ultimate potential. 

Adam Eli: My name is Adam Eli. I am a queer Jewish community organizer and writer. I live in Greenwich Village. I’m 28 years old and I believe that queer people anywhere are responsible for queer people everywhere. And I founded the activist group called Voices4. 

EM: What does Voices4 do?

AE: Voices4 is a direct action activist group that advocates for queer liberation all over the world. And so our message is, if you mess with one queer you mess with us all.

EM: So Stonewall is a mix of history, mythology, and folklore with some corporate-style branding ladeled on top. I’m pretty sure that if I asked each of you for an account of what happened at Stonewall, each of your accounts would be different. So what I’m more interested in is how that word, Stonewall, has informed your activism, whether it has informed your activism. So one of the, one of the big obvious ways we organize is to come together in marches. So Joyce, you organized the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979. The march took place ten years after Stonewall. Was the Stonewall uprising an inspiration, was it a part of the discussion?

JH: As I recall, it really wasn’t about Stonewall, because I think that Stonewall was a catalyst for the second wave of the movement, if you want to call it, because there was a first wave, you know, and I do, with what you were talking about before earlier is a good history, it’s not complete, but it’s a good history. It’s a good start. And what really moved us to do the march on Washington, it, and I could tell you now about how it really started. But it started with the organizations that were well-known, let’s put it that way, and activists who were well-known. Harvey Milk was also a part of it, as a spokesperson for the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights. We heard about this march and we would really like to be part of it. How are we going to get involved? Because we thought it was going to be organized by the people in Washington, D.C., and Harvey and some other people went. Harvey from San Francisco, a couple of people, there was Joy Perry, who was a minister in L.A.

EM: From the Metropolitan Community Church. Yeah.

JH: And so everything seemed to be going along and then it broke up. There was not going to be a march. There was real misogyny and racism. It was part of the issue for them and they could not get it together and decide. If they couldn’t do it then nobody could do it. But Harvey went back to San Francisco. And he said, “We still have to do this march, and we have to find a way to do it.” Then we got a call—and we were here in New York and it was late at night—from San Francisco, which was awful, because the call told us that Harvey was dead. That somebody had assassinated him that evening. I said, “We have to do this. We have to do this for Harvey, if nobody else, and the mayor,” I mean, they killed him and the mayor, they were assassinated in San Francisco. So we said, we’ll do this march, and we did, and the rest is history. 

Joyce Hunter. Credit: Photo courtesy of Joyce Hunter.

EM: Wow. You know, that’s actually a story I did not know. So Ann, you’re one of the organizers of the Reclaim Pride Coalition’s Queer Liberation March this year, taking place on the morning of Sunday, June 30. Be there, 9:30, out here in front. How is the legacy of Stonewall influencing that event, or is it not?

AN: Oh, it is, hugely, and I was at that ’79 march in Washington and loved every minute of it. We, the whole point of the Queer Liberation March is that we hate the current Pride parade. It’s all corporate floats. It won’t let individuals step off the sidewalks into the street anymore. We want to recreate the feeling of the original marches that went on for decades, where it was a community people’s event. It was all about the people. It wasn’t about corporations, it wasn’t about floats, and ours will be a non-hierarchical, political protest, celebration, angry, joyful, radical fairies, very glittery, everybody in the street doing exactly what they want to do, freedom, very few barricades or police, and we can’t wait. And that’s the spirit of Stonewall.

EM: Sir, let’s talk about other kinds of action, like creating content, something we do, something you do, what inspires you and how has Stonewall influenced you, or has it not?

SK: What inspires me? My mother. I am born to a black woman. I think there’s no better life to live. That for me inspires me. She’s pushed through so many obstacles in life, leaving south side of Chicago, being where she is, working on her Ph.D., like, she’s just the most brilliant human ever. And I’m just happy she’s my mom. So she inspires me, first and foremost. Stonewall, I’m influenced by the trans, the queer, the gender non-conforming folks that said, “You know what, we’re going to just push back, we’re gonna do what we have to do because we deserve our voices to be heard. We deserve freedom, respect, and equality.” So I think about our ancestors, right? Collectively, for the community. Every time that I’m doing anything, I’m speaking, it’s not about me. This is bigger than me, you know?

Just this week three black trans women were murdered, all right. Muhlaysia Booker was… and I’m just, I know there’s three, but I’m mentioning her because just a month ago she was viral, right, for getting attacked, and then no one protected her. There were no safety measures in place to actually protect her humanity, right? I think about Marsha P. Johnson and how we still don’t know what happened to her, you know. As a trans man—and I don’t identify that way, but politically, that’s what people see me as and that’s how they identify me, right?—I identify as a man, period, that is who I am, but politically I am a man of trans experience and a lot of people just use the word in terminology trans man. I’m not seen. I can walk outside and be safe. So everything that I do is not about me, you know, I’m just utilizing my privilege in order to make and create effective change for everybody else. So I’m, that’s it. Yeah.

Sir Knight. Credit: Toni Branson @Tomboi301 on Instagram.

EM: Adam, you’re active in a number of groups, Gays Against Guns and Voices4. You march, but you also use social media to get your message out. How does Stonewall inform that, or does it, and how do you think about activism in the age of Instagram? 

AE: So I’m inspired by Stonewall because Stonewall is an active reminder that when it comes to activism, especially direct action activism, that there are no rules. We live in a world where Donald Trump is president of the United States. If that can happen, literally anything can happen. And so, Stonewall was a violent riot about police brutality fueled by gender non-conforming people and people of color. I cannot imagine that the people that owned Saks Fifth Avenue in 1969 were, like, you know, running down to the Village to, like, hand out provisions, etc. And now, and now, you know, we see, like, “Stonewall riot,” like…

EM: In the windows of Saks!

AE: At Saks, you know? And so it’s a reminder that history has such a unique perspective. So if there’s a bunch of people telling you, like, to stop doing what you’re doing, doesn’t mean you have to and it doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. And so, Stonewall is a forever reminder that rules are meant to be broken. When it comes to using social media, I’m actually really really excited, and I’m really really honored to be sitting next to Ann, because Ann has been a huge inspiration to me, which I just told her.

AN: Aw, shucks. 

AE: I, when I, I am a student of Gays Against Guns. Gays Against Guns was a student of Rise and Resist and ACT UP before that. I went to the first Gays Against Guns meeting ever, I saw Ann there, I quickly became the social media manager, and some of the things I use are the same exact tools that Ann—there’s footage of Ann teaching that to ACT UP, and one of the things that Ann always says to ACT UP, which is exactly what I say to the kids at Voices4, is you talk through the media. Talk through the media and give them quotable—what do you call them, Ann?

AN: Sound bites?

AE: Sound bites, sound bites. That was what she said. So then you give them sound bites, that way the news can just use a quick sound bite, and I would imagine that a sound bite fits into a 180 characters, and could be a Tweet, or could be an Instagram caption. And I also remember you spoke at a Gays Against Guns meeting and you talked about how if you want to really piss someone off in the ACT UP days you would flood their fax machines, just with, like, stuff so that way they really got the message.

AN: On a loop.

AE: On a loop. And so, we can’t do that now, but it gave me the idea that, we were protesting Budweiser because Budweiser was sponsoring the World Cup where they had training grounds in Chechnya, where there’s an active queer genocide taking place, and Pride on the same day. And so we did, you know, hashtag prideovergenocide, and we flooded, the same way you did with the faxes, their comments, their comments section, and they shut down their Instagram for ten days during the World Cup, which is their biggest marketing period. And so, activism is about communicating a message, and I think social media is a great way to do that. 

The last thing I want to say is that I know that DIVA TV, which was the ACT UP video department, which stood for—

AN: James Wentzy and others. 

AE: And what did DIVA TV stand for? It’s so good.

AN: Damned Interfering Video Activists. 

AE: Yes, and so, and so they would take camcorders, right, and bring them to protests, and then come home and take those tapes and send them to news organizations and their families to show what it was like on the front row of the AIDS crisis. And can you imagine what they would have done with Instagram Live? 

AN: Exactly. 

AE: And so when people say, like, can social media make an impact, it’s like, I don’t know, can speaking directly to a huge and unlimited number of people make an impact? Yes, I think so. 

Adam Eli (center) speaking in New York City’s Christopher Park during the “Voices 4 Chechnya” rally, October 14, 2017. Credit: Photo by Hunter Abrams.

EM: So I also want to talk about, a bit more about young people.  Something that can get lost in the stories about Stonewall is how young so many of the people who were involved were. Sylvia Rivera was 17 at the time of Stonewall, and we forget that, so it was queer youth, street kids were a key contingent at the Stonewall riots. And young people have fewer rights and resources, and are among the most vulnerable in our society. And those risks are multiplied for LGBTQ youth of color. So Making Gay History is producing content for schools now, and it will be used in the cities and states that are now requiring LGBTQ-inclusive curricula.

We work with—we’re really really proud of that. We work with History UnErased, as I mentioned earlier, a nonprofit that works to create safer schools for all students through LGBTQ-inclusive education and we are proud to be a part of that. Which brings me to you, Joyce. You have dedicated so much of your career to helping young LGBTQ people. You were the first employee of what’s now known as HMI. It was originally called the Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth. Did Stonewall have any meaning to the young people you worked with?

JH: They were too young, and they were too busy trying to survive, and it really wasn’t about politics for them. It was about surviving, having a place to be safe, and and our whole idea was to educate the young people, but to find a place to make them safe, and they, all they worried about—where am I going to sleep tonight and what am I going to eat when I wake up? While they were out on the street and everything, a lot of them used to hang out near the river, the Hudson, on the piers. And those piers, let me tell you, in those days, it’s not as, it’s fancy right now.

Anyways, to make a long story short, they were already pretty well-educated. They read books. A lot of them were into poetry, you know, it was very interesting. I found that they knew more about some English literature than I did. Not that that would take much, but it was fascinating to me, and they were just wonderful young people who were having a very difficult time. They were being thrown out of their homes. A young lesbian told me that it was safer to walk the streets than to walk the halls of her high school. So, you know, we had to do something, and there was a lot of them out there wanting to get an education, but afraid to go to school. 

EM: So that’s how you changed the world, by founding the, co-founding the Harvey Milk High School.

JH: There was not just me, but you know.

EM: I know, there were many others, but you were key. You had the experience of a kid who grew up without a—

JH: Yeah, I didn’t graduate from high school. I got a Ph.D., folks, but I never graduated high school. I really, so I really understood, you know, this wanting to be part of it but not being part of it.

EM: Speaking of school brings me to my next question. I feel confident in speaking for you, Joyce, and for Ann, and actually I speak for myself, in saying that you didn’t learn anything about LGBTQ history in school or college, but Sir Knight and Adam Eli, where did you first learn about Stonewall? Was it in school? How have you learned about LGBTQ history? And Sir, why don’t we start with you?

SK: Where did I learn about LGBTQ history? On my own. I mean, through finding community and learning about names and just, thank God for Google, right? So I Google and I’m going through this this hole of information. I’m, like, oh wow, and then that person connects to this person, and that person, then I learn about a march or things like that. It’s literally Google, that’s how I figured everything out. And reading books. I’m really big on research because I think it’s very important to know your history so you know where you’re going, right? And and as I’m really trying to make a change, an effective change in this world, I need to know the past in order to deliver a better future. So literally just Google and reading books is how I’ve navigated the history of LGBTQ people and also Stonewall as well. 

EM: Adam, how about you? 

AE: In high school, the only time anyone said the word gay was, we read A Picture of Dorian Gray, which was great, but not really enough, and I think that my vantage point into queer history was definitely through the AIDS crisis. I picked up Angels in America, and I was reading it on, like, a family trip, and my parents were, like, “Can you put that book down? It keeps making you so sad.” And I was, like, “You don’t understand. This is my history, like, I have to read this.” And so through Tony Kushner I learned about ACT UP, but I think that things sort of branched out from there. It helped that, I think, the story was set in New York and that there were a lot of other queer Jewish people in it, and also everyone was super hot, and so I think that that got me interested. I mean, those photos and video footage, everyone was beautiful in, like, leather jackets, and so…

EM: Actually, I learned about gay people and history at the library at Vassar College, my freshman year.

AN: Cruising?

EM: No! This is rough.  No, no, no, no. I actually did a paper my freshman year, called, for sociology, it was called, “Marginal Men: The Alcoholic and the Homosexual,” and that homosexuals were considered marginal men in those days. 

AN: Yeah, okay, we get it.

EM: Yeah, and—

AN: We’re sad for you, Eric.

EM: And I thought that my sociology teacher wouldn’t notice that I was gay if I included alcoholics along with homosexuals.

AN: Very sad, very sad. Can I? Well, first of all, I read about Stonewall at the time. I was in college and in Boston doing a summer job, and I read little items and the newspaper contemporaneously. And, in fact, I’m older than some of those Stonewall vets are because they were teenagers and I was already in college, do the math. But like Sir and Adam, I picked up history when I really entered the community and started to meet people and hear about things. But I have a specific understanding of that because I had worked at Good Morning America and The CBS Morning News, as you did, Eric, and I quit in 1987, and I ended up going to work at the Hetrick-Martin Institute to be an AIDS educator. And while Joyce was in the agency taking care of all those kids who were homeless or couldn’t tolerate the schools, I was going out to those schools to try to educate the kids and the teachers and guidance counselors to make the school safer for those same kids. 

But to do AIDS education I had to learn about the epidemic, and in 1987, I had been covering the epidemic in mainstream news, since 1981, since it had become publicly known—it of course had been going on for a while before it became public—and when I entered the community and started to do this education, I realized how little I knew even though I had been working in the news, mainstream news media supposedly covering this. And that’s where I learned a lot about the reality of mainstream news and started being able to teach activists how ignorant the mainstream news really was. And how, therefore, you could interact with the mainstream news in teaching them. And that what you needed to do was teach them, because they really didn’t know anything and still don’t, as far as I’m concerned.

EM: And I’m going to come back to you in a second, Ann, with a follow-up question. You heard me say in this season’s trailer that Pride is not just for June and that LGBTQ history is not just Stonewall, and the threads that run through our history are so important, how moments and movements connect… So, Ann, where do you think we would be if not for the infrastructure in terms of organizations that was built between Stonewall and the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic?

AN: I have very mixed feelings about that, because I have mixed feelings about those organizations. I am a great, great fan of grassroots activists who take responsibility for taking things on themselves. So have organizations helped? Sure, in some ways. But some of them are really just jobs programs for bureaucrats. So I have very mixed feelings. I look at a whole long history that in my lifetime, and it certainly started way before then, but encompassed the black civil rights movement in the South, the anti-Vietnam War movement, feminism, the LGBTQ movement, the AIDS epidemic, and they’re all part of the same thing, and they all use the same techniques, and they all learn from each other.

And it is that great line of activists that I look at. Some of whom are more trained than we know. Rosa Parks was trained, and there were others who refused to give up their seats before her. It was a planned activist moment, and we don’t know things like that. But all of this is a very long stretch of history that I am thrilled and grateful to have stepped into and become a part of. 

Ann Northrop at Brighton Beach Pride, New York, 2017. Credit: Photo courtesy of Ann Northrop.

EM: Joyce, you had wanted to follow up on that, too. 

JH: Yeah, I think, and this was my thinking and some of our friends’ when we heard about, well, we didn’t really have a name, it was Gay-Related Immunodeficiency. 

EM: GRID.

JH: GRID. And, you know, we were all freaking out, and we were saying they’re going to put us all away, and that included the lesbians because they figured the lesbians were part of the problem of this disease. And I remember thinking, we are, if we don’t do something, we are all going to be locked away, and they’re going to do what they did in Cuba, was isolate a certain, the gay male community, is what they did. However, we had, and a lot of people don’t talk about this when we talk about gay history, but we really need to talk about the lesbian and gay health movement, which I was a part of. We had the, Jan, where are you? You remember the name of it? It was the National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation, and it was, it started…

EM: And Jan is your wife, yes?

JH: We both want to have a wife so I don’t call her my wife. 

EM: You’ve described yourself—I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve used a bad word, but— 

JH: No, it’s not a bad word. Well, it’s a heterosexual word. 

EM: We have a few in the audience tonight. 

JH: I do like straight people, like, I have a big family, trust me, but what I’m trying to say, all kidding aside, is that there was a lesbian and gay health movement and we were not really that publicized. But out of it came the Audre Lorde Clinic. 

EM: Callen Lorde, yes. 

AN: Michael Callen.

JH: How could I forget Michael? I’m sorry.  But I just wanted to say, because that was a hell of a time, and Ann did a lot of wonderful work during… 

EM: Yes, she did.

AN: As did thousands of others. 

JH: Well, a lot of us did. I wound up being a research scientist working at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies for 29 years.

EM: You hear so much around Stonewall 50 about, look how far we’ve come. But we have such a long way to go. So I’m going to ask each of you, what worries keep you up at night, and what keeps you on the front lines fighting. Let’s go to Adam first. 

AE: So I’m only going to, like, medium answer your question and I’m going to say that what I’m really, really, what keeps me awake and what keeps me fighting, what I’m really really excited about is that queer people are able to communicate in ways that we’ve never been able to communicate before. I’m aware and working on things that are taking place in Brazil and Ireland. I was doing that today. And so I believe that, like I said earlier, queer people anywhere are responsible for queer people everywhere, and that queer people are sort of this, like, unique human entity in that, you know, we are already, talk about grassroots, like, we’re already in every single corner of the world.

And I think that if we band together in solidarity and show up for each other we’ll be a force like the world has never seen before. And so using the tools of, I mean, social media, but also just the Internet, I think there, we have a chance to unify in a way that we never have before, and I think that that is so exciting it, like, takes my breath away. And so that is definitely what I’m going to be trying to focus on at, during Stonewall 50, and at the Queer Liberation March.

EM: Sir Knight?

SK: This is tough for me, just because I feel like there’s a duality to this question. So, what keeps me up at night is visibility, right? But at the same time I’m excited because of visibility, and I’ll go into that, right? I’m up at night. I don’t sleep a lot. I’m always thinking about different things I could create, how I can use my voice to help others, right? But black trans women are being killed at alarming rates, it’s a national emergency. No one cares, no one’s doing anything, people say, “Oh my God, it’s so sad, so-and-so died.” Why do you have to wait till someone dies in order for you to talk about it, for you to hashtag, for you to post, for you share it, you know?

People that call themself allies are literally just doing stuff on social media, but when it comes to seeing a black woman or femme being harassed in the street, it’s this assumption that black women and femmes are warranting this harassment, right? They deserve it, in a sense, and that’s how people act, they’re just, like, “Oh, she, she knows him. Maybe that’s a domestic situation.” No one’s stepping in, no one’s intervening, until someone dies, until someone’s murdered, and that’s what keeps me up at night, because I’m, like, who’s doing the work? Who’s really helping when it, when it’s that moment where it’s life or death? I don’t even know what white people are doing to help black trans women survive. Black people in the community aren’t doing anything for black trans people to survive. And then I’m just, like, I’m just tired. I’m just tired. I mean, just, it’s circling in my head, the murders, the murders, and then I’m just thinking, is someone that I know going to be murdered? Are they going to be here tomorrow?

But then I’m also excited because there are shows shows like Pose on FX. So people are learning about the narratives of black trans people, queer people, in this world and that makes me really hopeful and excited, and then I’m creating content for people to learn, especially when it comes to, like, what is a man of trans experience? People don’t even know that we exist, because every time I tell someone I’m trans, they’re, like, “Oh, so you’re a woman?”  And that is, like, okay that’s not where I was going with this, but, I thought I was giving a different energy, but you’re just, like, so certain that that’s the direction because it’s a full spectrum of trans-ness, and I think that we need to also respect not just the masculine and the feminine, right? Because with the visibility it’s only feminine out there. But also there’s gender non-conforming people, who may go by he or she or they, respect the pronouns. So I’m hopeful with the visibility that we can grow and move in the right direction.

EM: Ann?

AN: What keeps me up at night? Trump. Racism, sexism, homophobia, the horrible things that people do to each other as human beings. That all keeps me up at night. 

EM: What keeps you on the front lines? 

AN: Well, first of all, I’m thrilled to hear from Adam and Sir. They give me great hope for the future, and I really appreciate everything you, both of you are doing, that’s really great.

I find it fascinating. I feel lucky to be alive in a time of transition, a time of evolution, and to, I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be part of these movements and these actions, because to me, I meet the best people, we do the most fun work, the most compelling work, I am so thrilled to have stepped out of the mainstream and into the grassroots activism. It has so improved the quality of my life, and I feel such enormous love for the people that I’ve worked with for the last 30 years. It has been such a joy and such a gift to me to be part of this. So, so for instance, when the Queer Liberation March came up, I thought, here we go again. I have to do this, because this is so important that we stop doing this useless corporate Mardi Gras that does nothing for anyone except the corporations, which get a lot of cheap advertising. We have to go back to having a community event. So, how could I resist that?

EM: Joyce, you get the last word. 

JH: I think Ann said it for me about what keeps me up at night. 

EM: What inspires you to keep going?

JH: Young people, thank God. And Sir, Adam, if it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t have any hope, because what I keep saying, all the thing that’s going on right now… They’re taking away our rights, women’s rights to abortion. That, you know, all this, the racists and the killings and the murder. I agree with everything that everybody said on here. The question is what’s going to happen, and I have to tell you I have days when I’m very depressed. I want to know where everybody is, and where is the movement? I really believe we need to start with coalitions again. 

EM: I think there’s a lot for people to learn from your experience going forward.

JH: Like you said, if nobody’s listening and nobody’s paying attention, you got to do more than just write a thing on the Twitter or whatever the hell the president’s doing.

EM: And with, and with that, a huge thank-you to all of you for being here tonight, and thanks again to Sir Knight, Joyce Hunter, Ann Northrop, and Adam Eli. Thank you so much.

And thanks, thanks, thanks also to our guest Jason Baumann, Making Gay History’s crew, including Sara Burningham, Mo LaBorde, Inge De Taeye, and Will Coley, and thanks again to the Stonewall Inn for generously hosting tonight’s live event. Thank you and good night.

JH: Thank you, Stonewall. 

———

EM: We had such an amazing evening at the Stonewall. And that’s not the end of it. We have a surprise coming up for you: some special Stonewall minisodes to mark the anniversary with some never-before-heard archival audio. 

I’d like to thank all the people who make Making Gay History possible: executive producer Sara Burningham, producer Josh Gwynn, assistant producer Mo LaBorde, administrative and special projects manager Inge De Taeye, live show production and engineering by Robert Auld and Chauncey Dandridge, and mixing by Pran Bandi. Thanks to our photo editor Michael Green, and our social media team, Cristiana Peña, Nick Porter, and Denio Lourenco. Thanks also to our intrepid researchers, Brian Ferree and Brian DeShazor.  Special thanks to Jenna Weiss-Berman. Our theme music was composed by Fritz Meyers.

Making Gay History is a co-production of Pineapple Street Media, with assistance from the New York Public Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Division, the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, and the Pacifica Radio Archive.

Season five of this podcast has been made possible with funding from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Calamus Foundation, Irwin and Andra Press, and our listeners, including Michael Longacre. Thank you, Michael!

Stay in touch with Making Gay History by signing up for our newsletter at makinggayhistory.com. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or you can email us at hello@makinggayhistory.com. We love your letters. Head to our website to find previous episodes, archival photos, full transcripts, and additional information on each of the people and stories we feature.

So long!  Until next time!

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