For the overnight shift, check out last year’s virgotext Pride extravaganza. To see every post, be sure and click the “Next Page” link.
More new Pride tomorrow!
Every Pride celebration, the scheduled events portion anyway, comes to an end. The parade’s long over, the street fairs and dances wrap up, and the queers all go their separate and together ways and “regular” life commences apace.
From the blog stats, I’d say you folks enjoyed my little celebration. I’m happy you’re happy — hey, I’m a giver.
I didn’t plan to do this. It was an impulse, born not of strategy, but of sentiment and private musings on the anniversary colliding with a crazy, over-scheduled week in the meat-space that left me with little time to read blog posts, much less write my own.
So, since I didn’t really have a plan, I can’t claim this was meant to be any one thing, certainly it wasn’t exhaustive, thorough or even representative. If there was any organizing principle, it was attitude rather than analysis, stand up rather than stand by, and don’t forget to dance and sing.
Details about how the riot started vary from story to story. According to one account, a transgender woman named Sylvia Rivera threw a bottle at a police officer after being prodded by his nightstick (Duberman). Another account states that a lesbian, being brought to a patrol car through the crowd put up a struggle that encouraged the crowd to do the same (D’Emilio 232). Whatever the case may be, mêlée broke out across the crowd—which quickly overtook the police. Stunned, the police retreated into the bar. Heterosexual folk singer Dave van Ronk, who was walking through the area, was grabbed by the police, pulled into the bar, and beaten. The crowd’s attacks were unrelenting. Some tried to light the bar on fire. Others used a parking meter as a battering ram to force the police officers out. Word quickly spread of the riot and many residents, as well as patrons of nearby bars, rushed to the scene.
Throughout the night the police singled out many transgender people and gender nonconformists, including butch women and effeminate men, among others, often beating them. On the first night alone 13 people were arrested and four police officers, as well as an undetermined number of protesters, were injured. It is known, however, that at least two rioters were severely beaten by the police (Duberman 201-202). Bottles and stones were thrown by protesters who chanted “Gay Power!” The crowd, estimated at over 2000, fought with over 400 police officers.
The police sent additional forces in the form of the Tactical Patrol Force, a riot-control squad originally trained to counter Vietnam War protesters. The tactical patrol force arrived to disperse the crowd. However, they failed to break up the crowd, who sprayed them with rocks and other projectiles.
Eventually the scene quieted, but the crowd returned again the next night. While less violent than the first night, the crowd had the same energy as it had on the previous night. Skirmishes between the rioters and the police ensued until approximately 4:00 a.m.. The third day of rioting fell five days after the raid on the Stonewall Inn. On that Wednesday, 1,000 people congregated at the bar and again caused extensive property damage.
“Queen power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. … The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses, and ladies in waiting began hurling anything they could lay their polished, manicured finger nails on. … The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.”
New York Daily News, Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Stinging Mad
About Rich’s work, the poet W.S. Merwin has said, “All her life she has been in love with the hope of telling utter truth, and her command of language from the first has been startlingly powerful.”
Rich has received the Bollingen Prize, the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the National Book Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship; she is also a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
In 1997, she refused the National Medal of Arts, stating that “I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration.” She went on to say: “[Art] means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage.”
A patriot is not a weapon. A patriot is one who wrestles for the soul of her country
as she wrestles for her own being, for the soul of his country
(gazing through the great circle at Window Rock into the sheen of the Viet Nam Wall)
as he wrestles for his own being. A patriot is a citizen trying to wake
from the burnt-out dream of innocence, the nightmare
of the white general and the Black general posed in their camouflage,
to remember her true country, remember his suffering land: remember
that blessing and cursing are born as twins and separated at birth to meet again in mourning
that the internal emigrant is the most homesick of all women and of all men
that every flag that flies today is a cry of pain.
Section XI, An Atlas of the Difficult World
“She is one of those fortunate mortals who has rhythm
in her body and soul.”
“It was a big deal that she was so blatant, so publicly open. We had so little. This was so precious.”
— Merrill, a fan
“I wouldn’t come to this toilet if it weren’t to see you. “
There has never been anyone exactly like Frances Faye.
Collage via Tyler Alpern’s Fabulous Frances Faye Archive
The tired (but happy) subway ride home. The speculating about whether the hullabaloo was worth it for the kids: questionable; depends on the age; will probably phase in and out. Speculating on the worth for the self: are you kidding? Even if you’re so exhausted you can’t stay up late and write down all the thoughts that have been occurng to you, it’s worth it. Has been for the past umpty-ump (for some of us, twenty-three) years, through various sweeties and none, through one political affiliation or another, active or dormant.
Until it feels this way, any day of the week, any week of the year — the relaxed sense of belonging, everywhere, that you have amongst your kindred on this day — you have to go. Majority status for a minority community, just this one day. Sip long and deep from this trough this day, so’s it’ll last you another 364.
— LesbianDad, And so it goes (Pride in Glimpses)
(1 Baby *)
That’s just a tiny representative handful of the GLBT family blog community. Visit Mombian’s Resource Directory for a much bigger list of GLBT family blogs. Happily, there are way too many to include in one post.
Visit COLAGE’s resource page for links, info and resources for LGBT parents, children in LGBT families, schools, health professionals, extended familes, etc.