Stonewall Riot: Achieving Equality One Sequin at a Time

Maximilien Marton and Sam Lovett-Perkins

Senior Division

Group Documentary

 

The project started when Max wrote a paper on the revolution, reaction, and reform of the Stonewall Riots. He chose the topic because he has a strong connection to the LGBTQ community. He is openly gay and spends much of his time actively supporting groups that fight for homosexual equality. Much like Max, my life has been positively influenced by members of the LGBT community between my own sexual orientation and two openly gay fathers the topic made a perfect fit. The decision to pick the Stonewall Riots was easy as it is known as the night the gays fought back and the birth of the fight for gay rights. We joined forces to make the documentary.

          Research for this project was extensive. Because Max wrote a paper prior to the creation of the documentary, the research started with those sources. Many of these were from Outhistory.com a website with a collection of primary and secondary sources from LGBT history. The next resources were interviews with respected members in the homosexual community. One of most essential was with Henri David who was at the Stonewall Inn the weekend of the riots. In addition to the interviews, the Internet played a big role in the process of finding sources. For our documentary, we wanted visual sources including news headlines, pictures, and information on the treatment of homosexuals before and after the riots. After the city competition we strengthened the product by going to the archives at the William Way Center, where we found newspapers from the days immediately following the riots and from the 25th anniversary Stonewall 25.

Choosing the format of our project was straightforward. Documentaries have the capacity to be dramatic. The Stonewall Riots and the resulting equal rights movement had a dramatic effect on society. Max and I strived to create a professional documentary. Our research included viewing several documentaries to further understand how to organize and format these films. In filming the interviews, we used a specialized microphone so that speech wasn’t garbled or distorted. The editing process was lengthy. Max learned to utilize video editing software. It took several weeks to create a product that we both were happy with. We finalized our documentary, and submitted it to the National History Day Contest.

The Stonewall Riots that started on a June night in 1969, are widely considered to be the birth of the movement for homosexual equality. Many of our sources referred to this as the time “they” fought back. After years of raids on known homosexual related bars by New York City Police and general dislike from the American public, these riots let everyone know that this abuse would no longer be quietly tolerated. It was a revolution for human rights and for years afterwards, being loud and proud was nothing to be ashamed of. The reaction from the LGBT community was demonstrated by supporters and rioters that weekend and who continues today as allies.

Annotated Bibliography

Primary Sources:

Ambrosini, Joseph. Stonewall Rioters. 1969. Photograph. New York City. OutHistory.com. Web. 20 Mar. 2012. <http://outhistory.org/wiki/Stonewall_Riot_Police_Reports,_June_28,_1969>.

This picture by Joseph Ambrosini was one of few that were taken on the first night of the stonewall riots. It is a visual component in our documentary.

Brinkley, Sidney. "Black Gays and Lesbians and Stonewall." Philadelphia Gay News 7 July 1994. Print.

This was an article about involvement of African Americans, Latinos, and lesbians at the Stonewall Riots. It added a more racially diverse perspective. We used it in the documentary as a visual aid to show how much of a reaction Stonewall had.

Brown, Howard. Familiar Faces Hidden Lives. The story of homosexual men in America today. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976. Print.

Familiar Faces Hidden Lives is a novel about the life and struggle of the homosexual man in the pre-Stonewall era. It tells of the persecution, secrecy, and self loathing that homosexuals endured at the hands of their heterosexual counterparts. We used this source to better understand how homosexuals felt about themselves and how they were forced to operate before they revolted in 1969. It helped us understand the tension that had been building up before the riots.

Buckman, Adam. Peek-a-boo! Debbie Reynolds Guest-judging a Drag-queen Beauty Pageant? Digital image. TV Howl. 31 Mar. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://tvhowl.com/2010/03/31/rupauls-drag-race-the-funniest-show-on-tv/>.

        

This is a picture of the drag queen RuPaul and Actress Debbie Reynolds on the show, Rupaul's Drag Race. We used this picture in our documentary.

The Cinematic Orchestra/London Metropolitan Orchestra. "Arrival of the Birds." The Crimson Wing: Mystery Of The Flamingos. Disney Records (Europe), 2008. MP3.

This song was used in the introduction of our documentary, as well as at the closing.

Davies, Diana. Gay Liberation Front Riot. 1969. Photograph. New York City. Blogspot. 22 June 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://counterlightsrantsandblather1.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html>.

This is a picture from a riot in Time Square months after the Stonewall Riots. It was used in the documentary as a visual aid to show how equality over sexual orientation didn’t die down but in fact continued on for years with growing support.

David, Henri. “Interview with Henri David.” Personal Interview. 7 Mar. 2012.

David Henri was a rioter at the Stonewall Riots. His personal story about the events that night strengthened our documentary. He explained how it changed the LGBT community led to a domino effect strengthening allies across the country.

Drag Queens at the Stonewall Riots. 1969. Photograph. New York City. WestView News. Web. 20 Mar. 2012. <http://www.westviewnews.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=890:gay-men-have-their-rosa-parks-moment&catid=43:articles>.

This is a picture of drag queens getting arrested at the stonewall riots. It was used as a visual aid for our documentary.

"Edmund White: Letter to Ann and Alfred Corn, July 8, 1969 - OutHistory." Main Page - OutHistory. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2012. <http://outhistory.org/wiki/Edmund_White:_Letter_to_Ann_and_Alfred_Corn,_July_8,_1969>.

This is letter written in first person from Edmund White, in which he describes what it was like at the Stonewall resistance. He references the violence on both the police and rioters sides and makes points about how other cities are also experiencing riots over same-sex rights. Showing the growth and effect of the movement nationally.

File:Rainbow Flag Breeze.jpg. Digital image. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 2 Feb. 2011. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rainbow_flag_breeze.jpg>.

This is a picture of a rainbow flag flowing in the breeze. The rainbow flag is a symbol of LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Pride. We used this in our documentary.

File:Stonewall Inn New York 002.JPG. Digital image. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 1 June 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stonewall_Inn_New_York_002.JPG>.

        

This is a recent picture of the front of the Stonewall Inn. It was used in the introduction of our Documentary.

Gruber, John. Mattachine Society. Digital image. KQED Pressroom. 2011. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://www.kqed.org/press/tv/harryhay/images/harryhay3.jpg>.

This is a picture of the founding members of the Mattachine Society. We used this image in our documentary.

"Harry Hay: Founding the Mattachine Society, 1948-1953 - OutHistory." Main Page - OutHistory. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2012. <http://www.outhistory.org/wiki/Harry_Hay:_Founding_the_Mattachine_Society,_1948-1953>.

Harry Hay was an early gay activist who formed the Mattachine Society, one of the earliest LGBT societies starting around 1950. This document is an interview between Hay and Jonathan Ned Katz. Hay goes on to describe the difficulties and process of forming a society that represented the androgynous minority, proving the difficulty of forming such a group in that time period.

Hermance, Ed. "Interview with Ed Hermance." Personal interview. 27 Feb. 2012.

Ed Hermance is the owner of the oldest LGBT oriented bookstore in America. At the time of stonewall riots he was still coming out. His involvement added first hand account of how society has changed since and lead us to further resources.

Lane, Bettye. Police Raid at Stonewall. 1969. Photograph. New York City. The New York Times. 15 June 2010. Web. 20 Mar. 2012. <http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/movies/16stone.html>.

This picture was during the stonewall uprising of the cops attempting to arrest someone. This added into our documentary as a visual aid.

"Martin Sherman: "A Hot Night in June," November 1994 - OutHistory." Main Page - OutHistory. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2012. <http://outhistory.org/wiki/Martin_Sherman:_%22A_Hot_Night_in_June,%22_November_1994>.

Martin Sherman wrote a piece remembering when he stumbled upon the Stonewall Riots. He recalled it as the beginning of a revolution where “queens fought back.” We used this as a primary source proving that this was in fact the start of a revolution.

McDarrah, Fred. Christopher Park Marchers. 1969. Photograph. New York City. Blogspot. 20 June 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://counterlightsrantsandblather1.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html>.

This is a picture of marchers going to the Christopher park in The Village days after the Stonewall Riots. It was used in the making of the documentary to show the growth of the equality movement.

McDarrah, Fred. Jim Fouratt. 1967. Photograph. Saint Mark's Place. Blogspot. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://counterlightsrantsandblather1.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html>.

This is a picture of Jim Fouratt, a founder and activist in the Gay Liberation Front. This picture was taken two years before stonewall. This picture shows how youth could be involved in the movement for change. The time when this photo was taken suggests that civil rights were beginning to become an issue that only exploded after the stonewall riots.

McDarrah, Fred. Marty Robinson and Cop. 1969. Photograph. New York City. Blogspot. 20 June 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://counterlightsrantsandblather1.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html>.

This is a picture of Marty Robinson being asked by a cop to not incite the crowds in the streets a couple days after the Stonewall Riots.. It was used in the documentary as a visual aid.

McDarrah, Fred. Marty Robinson Speech. 1969. Photograph. New York City. Blogspot. 20 June 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://counterlightsrantsandblather1.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html>.

This is a picture of Marty Robinson at a speech on Christopher Street in New York after the Stonewall Riots. This was a visual aid in our documentary that conveyed the response to The Stonewall Riots just days after during a rally.

McDarrah, Fred. Stonewall Inn. 1969. Photograph. New York City. DavidCarter. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. http://www.davidcarterauthor.com/resources.html>.

This is a picture outside of the Stonewall Riots with civilians enjoying the bar. In the picture one can see the kind of environment the bar had around it. One notable thing is two guys in the center with their arms around each other. This was a visual aid in our documentary and helped us understand the environment around the Stonewall Inn.

McDarrah, Fred. The Village Voice. Photograph. New York City. The New York Times. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/weekinreview/21peters.html>.

This is a picture of protesters in New York City, fighting for equal rights in regards to homosexuality. We used this in our documentary to show how many more people fought for their rights after the Stonewall Riots.

McLean, Charles, and P. Singer. "The Military Should Quickly Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' - The Daily Beast." The Daily Beast. N.p., 3 June 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/06/04/don-t-ask-tell.html>.

This is a photo depicting protesters who are protesting Don't Ask Don't Tell. We used this graphic in our documentary.

Miller, Eric. Marchers and Mile Long Rainbow Flag. 1994. Photograph. William Way Archives, New York City. The Philadelphia Inquirer. City ed. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Inquirer, 1994. Print. D.

This photograph depicts the support of allies at Stonewall 25 carrying a mile long rainbow flag, a symbol of gay liberation. We used it as a visual source in our documentary to show the support of allies even though it was long after the riots themselves.

Morris, Larry. Stonewall Inn. 1969. Photograph. New York City. The New York Times. Web. 20 Mar. 2012. <http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/01/images-from-the-stonewall-uprisings-final-night/>.

This picture was taken by New York Times photographer Larry Morris on the last night of the stonewall riots. It added a visual aid to our documentary.

Samuel, Terence. "Gays Rally in N.Y. to Demand Equality." The Philadelphia Inquirer 27 June 1994, City ed., sec. D. Print.

This was the front page article from The Philadelphia Inquirer in June of 1994 of Stonewall 25. In which Samuel shares the history of what the riots ment and how they have strengthened the gay community. We used this as a visual aid to show the reaction of the riots.

Segal, Mark. "Mark My Words." Philadelphia Gay News 7 July 1994. Print.

This article was from the view of Mark Segal, a participant at both the original Stonewall Riots and Stonewall 25. He wrote about how times have changed especially in the treatment of homosexuals by the police. We used this source as a visual source to show yet another person's reaction of just how revolutionary the Stonewall Riots were.

Stonewall Militant. Photograph. London. The QU. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://www.thequ.co/the-gay-rights-movement/>.

This is a picture of the Gay Liberation Front making a stand in London. This is like many other public events that were likely fueled by unrest from the Stonewall Riots.

Stonewall 25, comp. Welcome to NY. New York City: Stonewall 25, 1994. Print.

This was likely one of many pamphlets that were handed out at Stonewall 25. It was used as a visual aid in our documentary. The cover talks about why participants were there, the history of Stonewall, and what it means to support the cause. The back is an empowerment advertisement about fighting against AIDS.

Strauss, Zoe. Silence = Death. Digital image. Zoe Strauss. 1 Dec. 2011. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://zoestrauss.blogspot.com/2011/12/blog-post.html>.

This is a poster of ACT UP's (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) iconic phrase, Silence = Death. We used this image in our documentary.

Sylvia Bellvue. Photograph. High Kixx. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://highkixx.com/2012/01/16/civil-rights-in-the-time-of-drag-queens/>.

This is a photo of Sylvia Bellvue a famous drag queen who fought for a androgynous rights. This picture was used in our documentary.

Tresh, Joseph. Female Speaker. 1994. Photograph. William Way Archives, New York City. Philadelphia Gay News. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Gay News, 1994. Print.

This is a photograph of a woman speaking at Stonewall 25. It was considered as a picture for our documentary as it showed the strength of women in these events. Although not used in our documentary it encouraged us to look for sources from the female perspective.

Tresh, Joseph. Stonewall Veterans. 1994. Photograph. William Way Archives, New York City. Philadelphia Gay News. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Gay News, 1994. Print.

This is a picture of Stonewall Riot veterans at Stonewall 25. It depicts the timeless strength of the community. It was found in one of William Way archive newspapers.

Truscott IV, Lucian. "Gay Power Comes to Sheridan Square." The Village Voice [New York City] 3 July 1969: 1. Print.

This was a local newspaper reporting on the Stonewall Riots just days after them. It was used as a visual aid in our documentary.

Will & Grace (1998) Poster. Digital image. TVPoster.net. 17 Jan. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://www.tvposter.net/poster-2982.html>.

This is a picture of Eric McCormack, the actor who played Will on Will & Grace. This picture was used in our documentary.

Secondary Sources:

Act Up International. 2012. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://actup.org/news/>.

This is the main website for the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. We used this resource to find information about ACT UP that we required for our documentary.

"ACT UP Philadelphia." ACT UP Philadelphia. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://www.actupphilly.org/>.

This is the website for the Philadelphia chapter of ACT UP. Within this site, we found additional information about the coalition that proved useful to our documentary.

Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2012. <http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/hsx/>.

This is a secondary source about how the Nazi’s treated homosexuals. It shows how prior to the Stonewall Riots, (or other homosexuals advancement movements) treatment of the LGBT community was brutal.

Stonewall Riots." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 3 Jan. 2012.

<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1386501/Stonewall-riots>.

This source was used as an introductory source to the topic. It explained the basic outline of what happened and the period. This was a basic first step into research of the Stonewall Riots.