The Stonewall riots are an essential piece of LGBT history. In the early morning of June 28th, 1969, it was in Stonewall Inn that members of the community unknowingly kickstarted the modern pro-LGBT movement by resisting the violent and dehumanising actions of the police.
This year, director Roland Emmerich – known for epic films such as Independence Day or 2012 – will introduce a film supposedly based on the events at Stonewall Inn. It is set to come out on September 25th, and stars, among others, Jeremy Irvine and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
The film will certainly play a role in introducing the general public to the origin story of the pro-LGBT movement. Members of the community, however, have been very vocal in voicing their displeasure. The main character, Danny (Jeremy Irvine), is an “all-american”, white, cisgender gay man. He is also fictional – meaning that no such person ever took part in the Stonewall riots. In the film, he is the one to throw the first brick, kickstarting the riot. In real life, however, the credit belongs to Marsha P. Johnson – a transgender artist, activist and woman of colour. Other important historical figures, such as Sylvia Rivera and Miss Major, seem to be entirely absent from the film.
“It is time that black and brown transwomyn and drag queens are recognized for their efforts in the riots throughout the nation. From the preview alone, we know that will not be happening. The majority of characters cast are white actors, cis men play the role of transwomyn, and folks who began the riots do not seem to be credited with such revolutionary acts,” writes Pat Cordova-Goff, who started a “Boycott Stonewall” campaign that has gathered almost 18 000 signatures and encouraged young LGBT+ people to tell their own history.
Watch the trailer for ‘Stonewall’ below and let us know what you think.