Archives for the month of: June, 2012

Donna Louise here taking time to commemorate the Stonewall Inn Rebellion of Saturday, June 28, 1969. On that night, forty three years ago, the New York City Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. The people in the bar and on the streets cooperated at first just like they always did when the police came to harass them. But something strange occurred as the process unfolded, the bullied and oppressed fought back giving birth to the new Gay Power movement.

The Mattachine Society of America had been hard at work trying to convince Americans that homosexuals were just like them (sound familiar?) and their protests had increased awareness of the problems and issues facing the members of the subculture, but they were too nice with their orderly protests and too easy to ignore by the those in power.

Early that Saturday morning, the niceness wore off. The drag queens, transvestites and homosexual street kids stood up and said, “We’re not running away and hiding anymore.” And they didn’t.

The rioting provided the impetus the nascent Gay Power movement needed to burst from the social confines of polite behavior to a movement fighting for equal rights, one that would not turn away from the violence of the police and the society. Gay people came out and haven’t gone back in.

Surprisingly, Stonewall was not the first riot against unofficially condoned police brutality directed at the homosexual community. In LA, police raided and beat patrons of The Black Cat on New Year’s Eve 1967. (Funny how LA police still have a reputation for beating up people.) The Advocate, a “gay” paper, began as a source of information for local activists and blossomed into a national magazine.

In August 1968, police raided The Patch, a well-known gay bar in another LA suburb. The drag queens resisted. One of the men arrested, Tony Valdez, went home and told his partner “God doesn’t care about us.” His partner, Troy Perry, started the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) which believes everyone is a cherished member of God’s family. Over 200 branches of the United Fellowhsip of the MCC, a Protestant denomination, exist worldwide.

Despite how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go, let’s take some time today to thank the people who started it all and all those who’ve died or been hurt along the path to equality. As Mama always said, “We’re all queer in one way or another.” I don’t think she meant sexually, but, hey, I’m going with it.

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Donna Louise here preparing Mikey’s favorite dish:  scalloped potatoes and pork chops. He deserved something for all his efforts to find me a car. He bought it and fixed it up and then saved my life. Oh, yes, I almost forgot to finish the story of Elvira Sussman jabbing me with a needle.

After I recovered from the effects of the shot, Mikey told me what happened. He’d driven up as Elvira and her two cohorts loaded me in the trunk.

“I knew something was wrong when I saw you face down in the trunk and these two strange women grabbing your legs and trying to get them in the trunk too. It’s a good thing you’re limber from yoga or they could have hurt you. I said to myself, ‘My girl don’t play that.’”

His powers of observation sometimes frighten me. I can’t remember the last time I was face down in a trunk—uh, never mind. That’s another story for another time.

Mikey played out the drama. “I slammed on the brakes, jumped out and took aim with my S&W 357 Magnum. Those women recognized a powerful gun when they saw one.”

“I made them pull you out of the trunk and lay you in the driveway. Like a fool, I lost track of one of the women and she clobbered me with a rock from your native plants garden. I told you to take those rocks out of there. They’re dangerous.”

“Mikey, they’re native and add legitimacy to my garden.”

He rubbed the side of his head. “Man, that hurt like hell. I stumbled and fell down next to you, but I never dropped my gun.”

“What happened then?”

“They ran to their car and peeled out. You’ve got an inch of tire rubber in front of your driveway. But I got their license number. I gave it to Hippolyta to have one of the SISsies run it. We’ll track her down. At this rate we’ll have the whole WICKED gang before long.”

I grabbed Mikey and hugged him. “You’re my hero, you big strong man.” I love to fluster him.

He blushed “Aw shucks, that’s what friends are for.” He paused. “Don’t do it. Please don’t do it.”

But it was too late. Given a musical cue, I sing. “In good times…”