The Shot Glass Heard Around The World
In 1969, the Stonewall riots — precipitated when the NYPD burst into the famed gay bar and started being their usually abusive selves — defined the modern gay movement.
Among the first to physically resist the police was Marsha P. Johnson, the now infamous transgender rights activist who co-founded S.T.A.R. (Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries) with Sylvia Rivera in the ’70s.
At 1:20 in the morning on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes police officers entered Stonewall Inn and announced “Police! We’re taking the place!"
Officers forced the customers to form into two lines divided by perceived gender and show them their genitals to confirm if it matched the gender on their identification card.
At some point during the raid, Marsha Johnson proclaimed, ‘I got my civil rights!' and then threw a shot glass into a mirror, adding on to the tension and creating an atmosphere of resistance. Some witnesses and historians believe her action is what instigated the riot.
Patrons began to refuse to produce their I.D. and police decided to arrest everyone still at the bar. Those who were not arrested gathered outside the bar and quickly drew a crowd of over 1,000 queers. As rumors spread through the crowd that those inside were being beaten by cops, they began throwing pennies, beer bottles and other items at police.
A drag queen who was shoved by an officer in front of the crowd responded by hitting him on the head with her purse as the crowd began to boo.
Soon after, an unidentified lesbian was hit on the head with a billy club after complaining that her handcuffs were too tight. She faced the bystanders and shouted, “Why don’t you guys do something?”
Police threw her into the back of a patrol wagons, at that point the crowd became a mob and collectively resisted the police.
Along with Sylvia Rivera, the two transgender revolutionaries created S.T.A.R. and STAR House in which they housed, fed and clothed homeless drag queens and trans* youth by hustling in the streets of NYC so that their children didn’t have to.
Marsha P. Johnson is often credited for inciting the Stonewall Riots, yet she receives close to no recognition by mainstream Gay Organizations and the queer community. I have no doubt that the erasure of Marsha’s participation in the riots and the Gay Liberation Movement is due to her being a black, transgender radical. Had she’d been a white gay cis-male, her name would be permanently embedded in every queer’s mind.
I know Marsha as a courageous queer revolutionary, a queen of Queens, a Stonewall Veteran, a dedicated activist, a mother of S.T.A.R. and a personal idol. She deserves more than anyone I know, to be recognized by the queer community.
In July 6, 1992, Johnson’s body was found floating in the Hudson River off the West Village Piers shortly after the 1992 Pride March. Friends of Johnson claims she was harassed near the spot where her body was found. The police disregarded this and ruled her death a suicide without any evidence. However, in November 2012, the NYPD re-opened the case.
Click here to watch “Pay It No Mind”, a documentary on Marsha P. Johnson.
I will keep on reblogging this each time it props up in my dash because it’s both important, heartwarming, and tragic.
Remembering the unvarnished truth of Mandela’s words means refusing to let anybody sanitize his legacy. As the United States attempts to piggyback on Mandela’s revolutionary spirit, never forget that it was the CIA who helped jail him for 28 years. His sentiments toward our imperialist government reflect what our government remorselessly tries to keep we citizens from seeing, that indeed ”…the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like" regardless of who we harm in the process.
Here are a few more quotes we are unlikely to see in the mainstream press:
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens."
It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
“No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.”
"If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don’t ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers."
not everyone who blogs about social justice issues is a social justice warrior! there are social justice clerics, social justice rogues, social justice rangers, and social justice wizards, among other classes. nobody’s going to get anywhere without diversity; if you go into any boss dungeon with a party consisting entirely of social justice warriors and expect to beat it then you are going to be sorely disappointed.
Two other women, also breast cancer survivors, said their husbands left them after they were diagnosed. Both had to have mastectomies (in case anyone doesn’t know, this is the surgical operation to remove one or both breasts).
The first woman said her husband told her that he would rather see her dead than see her lose her breasts. The second woman had her operation and waited all day to be picked up by her husband, who never arrived. By nightfall, one of the nurses offered to give her a ride, and she came home to find the house empty.
Obviously, these are extreme cases of a man’s reaction to his wife’s breast cancer, but this is what I see when I see the “I ♥ Boobies” bracelets. I see love of the body parts, not the person being treated—not the patient, not the victim, not the survivor."
Imagine a world where gay media gave as much visibility to gay and trans people of color as they give to straight white allies. What a world that would be.