The Mary Renault Society

The Triangle Area of North Carolina

Stonewall Uprising

Our MRS speaker for June, on the schedule for six months, was forced to cancel because of serious physical problems that will trouble him for some time to come. After some scrambling, the decision was made to focus on a critical event in our history, one that younger members of the LGBT community often are completely unaware of.

This past March, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Ghana and criticized its parliament, which is considering a bill (that US religious groups were instrumental in creating) which criminalizes advocacy for gay rights, with jail terms for those that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Most of us are at least dimly aware of the Lawrence v. Texas case in 2003, in which the Supreme Court struck down the Texas sodomy law and, ultimately, all laws of its kind.* But how many younger LGBT people today haven’t even heard of the fairly routine treatment in the 60’s of a particular group, treatment that actually resembles the lead up to the horrors of the holocaust?

Stonewall Uprising (2010) is a passionate and compassionate documentary of the historic 1969 standoff between police and pub-crawlers at a Mafia-run bar in Greenwich Village, a time when the gay community stood up to the police (and the Mafia) and said, “No more!” It includes archival footage, photographs, documents, and witness statements. The movie received a Peabody Award.

A reviewer of the movie cries “This needs to be in the lesson in grade school! Everyone needs to know this!” Fortunately, you can learn about the Stonewall Inn riot on June 25 … while the veto-proof NC Legislature debates restrictions for North Carolina similar to those in Texas and Florida.

* Though how many know that sodomy remains illegal in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and North Carolina?

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