Thursday, August 13, 2015

Q Toon: The Stonewall Boycott

This week's cartoon goes far afield from the centers of media attention, so let's start with the back story.

Next month, director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012)  is coming out with a movie, Stonewall, about the gay uprising that broke out when police raided a gay bar on the night of Judy Garland's death in June, 1969. According to Emmerich, the film is a “compelling, fictionalised drama of those days centering on homeless LGBT youth.” Imdb.com has this synopsis:
The plot revolves around the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the violent clash that kicked off the gay rights movement in New York City. The drama centers on Danny Winters [Jeremy Irvine], who flees to New York, leaving behind his sister [Joey King]. He finds his way to the Stonewall Inn, where he meets Trevor [Jonathan Rhys Meyers] before catching the eye of Ed Murphy [Ron Perlman], manager of the Stonewall. He colludes with corrupt police [Matt Craven] and exploits homeless youth [Caleb Landry Jones -- okay, I'm just guessing on that one].
Stonewall: movie
Publicity image from "Stonewall," the movie. Looks like a musical number.
The problem some LGBT activists have with the movie is that it appears to center on a white, "cisgendered" (as opposed to "transgendered") male character. Pat Cordova-Goff, described as "a trans activist feminine person of color," launched an on-line petition to boycott the movie, signed by over 23,000 persons as of yesterday:
From the previews alone, queer folks have gathered that the centralized character is a white cis gay man. (WHY?) From the previews alone, queer folks have gathered that not many people of color are even in the film. (WHY?) To make this short, we have also gathered that white folks are being credited in throwing the brick, starting the riots, starting the "gay liberation front" and also capturing the heart of a light-skinned transwomyn. (Of course we all fall in love with the white saviors. WRONG.)
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate 
؏
August 13, 2015
Emmerich and Irvine have responded that the role of non-whites and transgendered persyns is given its fair due in the movie. Emmerich posted on Facebook that:
I understand that following the release of our trailer there have been initial concerns about how this character’s involvement is portrayed, but when this film - which is truly a labor of love for me - finally comes to theaters, audiences will see that it deeply honors the real-life activists who were there — including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro — and all the brave people who sparked the civil rights movement which continues to this day. We are all the same in our struggle for acceptance.
Irvine posted on Instagram:
Marsha P Johnson is a major part of the movie, and although first hand accounts of who threw the first brick in the riots vary wildly, it is a fictional black transvestite character played by the very talented @vlad_alexis who pulls out the first brick in the riot scenes. ... In my opinion, the story is driven by the leader of this gang played by @jonnybeauchamp who gives an extraordinary performance as a Puerto Rican transvestite struggling to survive on the streets.
Now, if you see any of these people wresting the microphone from Bernie Sanders, you'll know what they're shouting about.

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