Five Things to Watch if You Don’t Want to Watch Stonewall

By now, you’ve probably seen the trailer for Stonewall, the film accused of whitewashing, ciswashing and bierasing events that took place on Christopher Street, New York, in June 1969. If you’ve decided to #BoycottStonewall, consider watching one of these films instead.

1. Pay it No Mind – The Life and Times of Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P Johnson was an African American, bisexual transwoman, famed for being photographed by Andy Warhol and for her role in instigating the Stonewall Riots. This documentary tells her story though original footage of interviews with Johnson as well as interviews with her family and friends. You need to see it immediately.

(full doc)

2. Stonewall (1995)

Stonewall, the final work of director Nigel Finch who died shortly after filming finished, is a fictonalised account of the riots written by Rikki Beadle Blair and based on the memoir Stonewall by Martin Duberman. It’s a highly stylised comedy/drama that focuses on life on Christopher Street before the riot, and apologises for the inaccuracies it includes.


3. Stonewall Uprising

This documentary by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner is based on historian David Carter’s book Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. The film combines scaremongering footage of 1960s anti-LGBT propaganda and interviews with people on both sides of the riot – including the police officer who lead the raid.


4. Sylvia Rivera: Trans Movement Founder

Tara Mateik and Denise Gaberman made this this short documentary  in 2002 to celebrate the life of Syliva Rivera upon her death.  The quality of the pictures is not great, but this is nevertheless a valuable piece of filmmaking which includes interviews with Rivera as well as her friends, colleagues and fellow activists.

(full doc. Content note: some offensive language in notes and comments)

5. We Matter: Stories of Queer & Trans Youth of Color Experiencing Violence

This short film examines the struggles queer and trans young people of colour experience in the Southern states of the USA today. It was made by young people at the FYRE Media Justice Camp in 2010. With some stark statistics and stories of unacceptable treatment, this short shows just how far we haven’t come in fifty years.

(full, short)

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Libby Baxter-Williams

Libby is a 30-something Londoner, who spends more time reading picture books than is seemly. She became a bi activist entirely by accident, but now she can't imagine living any other way. In the event of an emergency, she'll have a large gin and tonic, thanks.

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