Arts, LGBT History Month, Reviews
Stonewall: The Film Where Pride Ended
Stonewall came out in 2015, directed by Roland Emmerich. The film was supposed to relate to the story of the Stonewall riots, in 1950s New York, where the Pride march started, but instead it came out with a lot of problems.
The film tells Danny Winters’s story. Danny is a young, gay, white, cisgender (a person whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth), male character, who is rejected by his family because of his sexuality. He runs away from the countryside to find himself in Greenwich Village in New York, ending up in the midst of New York’s LGBTQ+ community.
The story follows his discovery of the Queer world and coming to terms with his sexuality. According to the film, Danny is one throwing the famous “brick” against Stonewall Inn and screaming “Gay power!”, beginning the Pride parade tradition.
Nowadays we can call this film #alternativefacts. The real story was not like that.
The violence and brutality against gay people at the time is a fact present in numerous reports and accounts of the Stonewall events. But, the people that were involved in the riots were a lot different to the ones who are represented in the film.
With Stonewall all you get is a film full of white people; but at that time there were a lot of racially and ethnically diverse residents in that Greenwich Village, so the cast should have shown that diversity.
He’s a straight acting guy
The LGBTQ+ community knows that Danny is not the kind of guy that would be bashed for his sexuality because of the way he looked or acted. He’s not a good representation of those people who fought for our rights, they were the Queer, the ones that screamed, that ones were always on the front of every parade fighting for equality.
The lack of transgender people and Drag Queens
As I said there’s a lot of reports about the different people (black, white, gay, lesbian, transgender, drag queens etc.) that were in the riots fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, and in this film, you don’t see much representation of it.
The representation of the lesbian component to the riots is ridiculous; they were there, they were fighting for their rights as the gays, and the queens and the transgender people were, but Stonewall doesn’t show it.
The narrative of the white man saving the day, and throwing the first “brick” to the Stonewall Inn is not a realistic one.
There’s no way to know for sure who threw that “brick” – but we are aware that it was not a brick but rather a shot glass – but there are some reports that claim Marsha P. Johnson, a black drag queen, as the responsible for that.
Stonewall is a film that only takes into consideration of the G in LGBTQ+. However, the story that belongs to the LGBTQ+ community is a story with all of them in it, together, fighting. It is sad to see this type of mis-representation in a film that was supposed to represent the beginning of the fight involving everyone. However, there are other films that you can see that stay true to the history of the whole LGBTQ+ community, such as Pride or Milk. Unfortunately Stonewall is not one of them; it shows the alternative side of what the Stonewall riots were, and who were the people that started the LGBTQ+ rights movement.