In an earlier article, I posted that the month of June 2013 had been proclaimed as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month by President Barack Obama. I wrote a post here on what LGBT Pride Month meant to me as a veteran. My words were added to those of hundreds of other bloggers on the web who are LGBT, LGBT-allies and straight people who wanted to express their sentiments about this special month. My friend and brother free-thinker blogger and nudist, Roger Poladopoulos asked for, collected and posted a few of these sentiments on his blog A Guy Without Boxers which you can read here.
Now it’s self-quiz time, readers! Here is a question of which only YOU can honestly answer:
As LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride Month ends, what have YOU learned?
Before you answer that question, first ask yourself these questions:
- Did I study the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions this week on Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8? How did I feel about the decisions?
(Take note of this article as you ponder this question.)
- Did I bother to talk directly with or Facebook-chat with people – particularly older people, whom I know are gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual or transgender and ask any of them about THEIR views regarding the recent Supreme Court rulings?
In case you had no idea that June 2013 was LGBT Pride Month or if you procrastinated until the last-minute to learn what that was about, let me help get you up-to-speed with a history lesson. No, I won’t give some lengthy commentary or “did-you-know” facts here. If you’re genuinely interested and so inclined to learn, you can easily find whatever you want to know about LGBT Pride Month, LGBT history and facts on the internet. However, I do want to pique whatever interest you might have by inviting you to watch an on-line 90-minute PBS American Experience video called Stonewall Uprising.
(See photo link below)
This past Friday, June 28, 2013, marked the 44th anniversary year of the 1969 Stonewall Riots that began when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. That raid sparked the gay liberation/gay rights movement. In the film, producers at PBS’ American Experience draw upon eyewitness accounts and rare archival material to bring that pivotal event to life. The film is based on David Carter’s critically acclaimed book; Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. The video, Stonewall Uprising was produced by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner. There are three (out of many) important reasons for why Stonewall is important in American history:
- Social Injustice
- Social Oppression
- Social Inequality
– all based solely on sexual orientation – a natural phenomenon, regardless whether you believe it. These are among the very same reasons for the Civil Rights movement! Now, there is some debate as to whether the Gay Rights Movement is the same as the Civil Rights Movement. Let me say for the record, that while there are some slight differences in both movements, the very word civil implies and includes ALL citizens or people in a society. And let’s not forget that BOTH movements were about – and STILL are about human rights and equality – which would include those of LGBT people! One more thing: unlike many members of my ethnic group, I do not subscribe to the preposterous notion that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s was “only for Black people”. Having lived through the 1960s Civil Rights era as a child, witnessing it unfold on television, radio and print media, and having members of my family who did their part in the fight (including a few cousins involved in the Philadelphia Chapter of the Black Panther Party), I’ve learned and have been taught more than I care to discuss on the issues of racism, social injustice, social oppression and social inequality. It’s why I’m such a strong proponent of human rights for ALL people – regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality and of course, sexual orientation. But I digress.
I saw the Stonewall Uprising film a few years ago in my Criminal Justice college class during an intense discussion on police tactics and their conduct regarding the rights of subculture societies like the LGBT community. At that time, I thought the film was fascinating and informative. I still think it is! Another interesting and fascinating film related to the Stonewall riots is Milk, the 2008 biographical film based on the life of late gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Click here for a brief bio on Harvey Milk. Film synopsis on Milk is here. Milk movie trailer here:
Considering the Supreme Court decisions last week that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 – and as LGBT Pride Month ends, I challenge everyone – young and old, who are straight or gay – especially the younger LGBT people (and any close-minded people reading this blog) to get off Facebook for a while, stop surfing the web for sales, pornography or whatever, kill the on-line chat bullshit, lay aside any biases and WATCH STONEWALL UPRISING! I further challenge each person to learn just a little more about the history of our fellow citizens and our country!
CLICK THE PHOTO BELOW to watch the 90-minute PBS American Experience film…STONEWALL UPRISING.
** ARTICLE UPDATE: July 1, 2013 **
Brother free-thinker blogger Roger, whom I mentioned earlier, has just published an article giving an excellent summary and tie-in of Stonewall history with the Supreme Court events of the present on his blog, A Guy Without Boxers. Click here to read, Reflection: Stonewall and the Supreme Court.