Matt Baume On Stonewall

  • Ken McPherson

    Sorry Matt. The Village may have been the place to be for east coast queers, but San Francisco was place to be for queers advancing LGBT rights. I get so tired of myopic NYers who just ignore the equal importance of California Hall and the Compton Riots… get over yourselves!

    • JT

      Yes. Also, among other things, Allen Ginsberg was in San Francisco during the mid 50s. People often forget to mention, as part of the LGBT struggle, the obscenity battle over “Howl” shortly after it was published by San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore in 1956. Part of the claim of obscenity was due to Ginsberg’s unashamed depiction of homosexual relationships.

    • Schlukitz

      You’re gonna turn this into a pissing match like the drag queen deniers did with the earlier post on Stonewall?

      I guess you’ve never heard of Harvey Milk or saw the film on him, along with others?

      There are just as many articles and sites on the Internet about San Francisco and it’s roll in advancing equal rights for the LGBT community as there are for NYC.

      Knocking New Yorkers doesn’t get you any popularity votes or advance the validity of your argument.

      • JT

        To be fair, I think he’s talking about earlier events than those involving Harvey Milk, who didn’t move to San Francisco until 1972.

        • Schlukitz

          That’s a distinct possibility.

      • GarySFBCN

        I agree that we shouldn’t get into a pissing match, but I also understand Ken’s anger. Even in the late 1970s, NYC was way more ‘closeted’ than San Francisco but somehow everything is seen as being equal.

        But New Yorkers had no idea.

        • Schlukitz

          Good point.

          i do recall New Yorkers not being as favorable to gay rights during that period as San Franciscans were, which sure surprised the hell out of me.

      • Ken McPherson

        Thanks for proving my point.

        California Hall happened in January 1965.

        The Compton Cafeteria Riots happened in 1966.

        And that was well after Jose Sarria first ran for Supervisor in 1961 and stunned everyone by gathering over 6000 votes.

        And while Stonewall has become the icon for the modern LGBT movement, The Black Cat was just as, if not more significant in terms of inventing gay activism.

        But you don’t know anything about those pre-Stonewall events, do you?

        My comment has nothing to do with a pissing match and everything to do with being historically accurate, which is the point of this thread.

    • gaymex

      Both places had lots going on. Write down your stories. Time will sort it all out.

  • Toasterlad

    “You must demand everything, immediately…” Truer fucking words…

  • Michael Rush

    i often check to see who the director is when i hear about a movie , Roland Emmerich is the director and he does not have a good track record ( the 1998 remake of godzilla / rotten tomatoes 16 % , 2008’s 10,000 B.C / rotten tomatoes 8 % ) there are so many terrible gay movies .

    fascinating note : Several characters in his films are seen using a spray bottle to water small plants

    • Jeffrey

      “Could you bring the same level of reality to gay rights that you brought to Godzilla?”
      “Yes, I think I can do that!”

    • Trog

      Roland F*ckin Emmerich? The (bad) action flick and natural disaster film director? Say no more.

    • pablo

      It’s Roland Emmerich and they’re releasing it in September so you know it has to suck, but what really sucks is that I’m going to be compelled to see it because a bunch of people who insist on rewriting history to make themselves feel better are bitching about it, and boycotting it.

  • another_steve

    Good video, Matt.

    I remember meeting and seeing Marsha Johnson and Sylvia Rivera at the Saturday night GAA (Gay Activist Alliance) dances at the Firehouse on Wooster Street in the Village. They were regulars. Older NYC queers reading here might remember that, too.

    GAA was an offshoot of the GLF (Gay Liberation Front) — GLF being one of the early organizations to form following the June 1969 riots. There were strategical/philosophical differences in the GLF and GAA models (too complex to discuss here), hence the two separate organizations.

  • Chrissy

    I was under the impression from later research that some of the people Matt lists here, were not there initially. There was a sense of claiming to be at the Stonewall riots as a way to brag and gain fame. Didn’t they find in Sylvia’s apartment a dead body when they cleaned it out after her death?

    • MattM

      How is that relevant (the comment about the dead body)?

      • Schlukitz

        It’s the usual strawman trick to derail a thread as happened yesterday when Joe posted the trailer for Stonewall.

        • MattM

          On Towleroad, one particularly nasty anti-Trans troll would use multiple usernames to constantly post comments that bring up Silvia Rivera’s criminal record on every single pro-Trans story.

          • Schlukitz

            There is just no understanding bigotry and hatred, is there?

            It’s especially disgusting and dismaying when it comes from within our own tribe.

            I used to visit Towelroad from time to time, but it is trolls like the one you just described to me, that made me stopi going there. Life to too short to argue with idiots like that.

            Bad enough when they descend on JMG. 🙁

          • MattM

            While I try not to generalize, I’ve found white gay men (I am one of them) are surprisingly prejudice of much of the people in the LGBT community. It’s not a coincidence that most gay republicans are White, “straight-acting” men.

          • It really is the entire world wide web. There are people who leave comments who must personally attack or demean those who they do not agree with, or those who they find to be easy targets. JIt is everywhere. And the web lets these sociopaths get away with being anonymous — so they relish the opportunity.But this place is the same as any blog in a controversial or contentious subject matter. It is the way the web is.

          • Schlukitz

            I hear you, loud and clear, Eddi.

            A good example, is the attack that TJay229 made aqainst me about three hours ago on this thread.

            He too is anonymous with a comment history file that is private so no one can copy or paste any of the mean comments he often makes.

      • Chrissy

        I think it is relevant to character.

        • MattM

          Why are we establishing character at all? Sylvia Rivera was there. Your opinion on what kind of person she was doesn’t retroactively remove her from the event.

          You just want to diminish her.

    • Perryn

      Your confusing her with Dorian Corey of Paris is Burning and their times of relevancy are a good 30+ years apart.

  • YUp. there’s much to be concerned about from what we’re seeing of this film. all that Baume points out, plus yet another instance where the HERO of this gay/queer story is played by a clean-cut pretty white STRAIGHT Boy. because, you know, there are no actually-gay actors out there who are good enough to play an actually-gay character.

    • Harlan92

      I totally agree. I’m sick to death of the allegedly liberal/progressive Hollywood that says all the right things, but then does’t back it up with actions, because gay actors are still seen as a financial risk or whatever. It’s an absolute joke.

      • they also want their “gays” to not seem ‘too gay’ – meaning, authentic. they like their gays to be “indistinguishable” from straight people. you know, more palatable. which is an utter insult to everything the stonewall rioters were about.

    • James

      I don’t have a problem with straight actors playing gay roles (or gay actors playing straight ones). The job of an actor is to become someone he’s not. I would like to know if they even considered any gay actors, though.

      • KT

        I don’t have a problem with straight actors playing gay – I do have a problem when it seems most gay film roles go to straight actors (TV is getting kinda better but there is still an imbalance – even gay shows like Looking and The L Word have a mix of straight and gay actors). It would have been nice if for a film of this magnitude that the lead was played by a gay actor. No offense to the current lead but he will have clue how to address culture questions about Stonewall. He can empathize but he will never truly 100% know what it means since he is straight.

      • look at the roundabout theatre company’s all-white broadway revival of Noises Off. their defence? “it was about getting the best actors” – meaning, there were no non-white actors who are good enough.
        and in this film – no actually-gay actors who are good enough to play actually-gay and queer characters.
        they don’t like casting gay actors in gay roles. they don’t. they’ll cast a non-famous non-gay man before they’ll cast an actually-gay guy in a gay role. and the reason is stupid , and insulting – they don’t want the characters to seem “too gay” – they want them to be gay after being distilled through the sieve of heterosexuality. which is the exact opposite of everything the stonewall riots and libation movement were about.

        • KT

          “they’ll cast a non-famous non-gay man before they’ll cast an actually-gay guy in a gay role.”

          Interesting point. I can think of so many openly gay actors they could have hired – granted most are Broadway actors, a place that doesn’t give two shits about sexuality but they would have just as much if not more experience than the unknown actor they hired.

          • plus, they’re gay. it’s called Authenticity. but people don’t like that. they like their gays to be filtered through a sieve of heterosexuality.

          • Miji

            Asking for that kind of “authenticity” is a double edged sword. If it goes both ways 95%+ rolls will not be available to gay actors.

          • breaking news – they’re already not.

        • Nexus1

          I always joke (but with a bit of seriousness behind it) that we are not that far away from ‘The Martin Luther King story: staring Brad Pitt and MLK’. Heck they actually advertised 12 years a slave with Brads image as the main focus instead of the actual star in Italy.

    • There is one sign of progress. It is about acting roles portraying virile young gay men no longer being taboo in Hollywood. It was not too long ago that any mainstream young actor would never ever consider taking a role like this. Granted, there was the movie Philadelphia, but Hanks was already established by then as a character actor. Jeremy Irvine, who is quite a comer and does young straight hetero romantic leads, and as far as I can tell has a straight sexual film identity , took this role with no qualms at all. He is a very hot young actor — he is starring in six films this year. Could you see a young Ben Affleck or Jude Law taking a role like this a generation ago?- no way!

      • you see that as progress? i see it as reappropriation. progress would be letting an actually gay guy play an actually gay character in a story that is decidedly about defying conformity.
        it’s not about “how a young straight actor had no qualms playing gay”, but about how hollywood, even with a gay director, still has qualms about letting gay people play gay leads. instead, we get some milquetoast “straight-ish” gay man. ENOUGH already.

        • I agree with you, it would be better if the main role were played by a young LGBT actor. However, the point of this movie, like other big Hollywood productions, whether we like it or not is to make money and recoup the production costs. It is also to make the movie chains comfortable enough with it to think they will make money off showing it. You are living in a fantasy world if you think that the point of making this movie is altruistic. It is not. The point of this movie is not to be “good to gay people or good to history by telling the Stonewall story”. or “true to Stonewall and good to young gay actors by giving them a leading role and play gay leads”. And frankly, if someone claimed it was, I would not believe it. It is about recouping development costs, and earning a profit. Why would someone who is investing cash in getting this film made care about anything other than the lead roles ability to pull in an audience, even if you think (and you very well may be correct) that the lead is a milquetoast white boy? The movie Selma last year was canned by some activists for not showing things as they were– my guess is many movies “with a message” suffer the same complaints. I am just stating fact. But sure, I am on the same wavelength as you– I am just realistic about Hollywood.

          • Nexus1

            There a difference between altruism and authenticity. It’s true that in matters of sexuality it’s not as apparent as race, but there is a difference in realism that’s for sure. As far as the matter about pulling in an audience, that has to be counter balanced with blanket whitewashing of actually people when you’re talking about a movie based on a true story. We’ve seen so many movies in the last 10 years where major characters have had their race or ethnicity completely changed because Hollywood didn’t think an ‘ethnic’ lead would sell. Oliver Stone’s ‘World Trade Center” changed one of the heroes from a Black man to a White man because they ‘apparently’ didn’t know that the soldier was a Black man. They knew his story and his name, but ‘astonishingly’ didn’t know his race surrrrreeeee. (Give me a minute as I seem to have rolled my eyes out of their sockets) Even more saddening, the actual soldier gave them a pass because he was more concerned about people being told the story than the producers of the film somehow being ‘conveniently’ ignorant of the fact that he was Black. Yeah sure. /sarcasm

            I fully understand making money, but there has to be some integrity to the actual story and the real people whose stories are being told. If this is allowed to continue with biopics then how far are we from ‘The Maya Angelou story’ starring Meryl Streep as Maya? Or The Richard Simmons story starring The Rock? <—That one actually has a good chance of happening. 🙁

      • KT

        Jude Law was not the best example to use – he starred as a young gay aristocrat in Wilde in 1997, right before his career really took off.

        • lol thanks KT this counters my point a bit.

        • Nexus1

          I should have read down before I posted. lol

      • Nexus1

        Jude Law played gay in Midnight in the garden of good and evil and in Wilde when he was only 24 and before he was a big star. By the late 90’s it wasn’t a ‘career killer’, but a ‘bold move’, a decade earlier it wouldn’t have been.

  • TJay229

    So as easy as it is to find information these days, they choose to use some white boy as the “face” of Stonewall… When it was 2 Black kids… Please stop stealing Hollywood.

    White Ghey is NOT the only thing out there, damn!

    • Schlukitz

      It shouldn’t be too long before the usual clique of young, know-it-alll, drag queen deniers arrive to trash Matt Baume’s review like they did with the original post on JMG yesterday. *sigh*

      • TJay229

        I honestly don’t know WHY you respond to my comments. I mean, I know it’s your choice & you’re free to exercise your will… But to be frank, I find you detestable and would prefer if YOU didn’t… I never initiate any dialogue with you.. And would greatly appreciate if you didn’t with me either.

        • Schlukitz

          I was agreeing with you. LOL

          And just what did I say to you that makes me so “detestable”?

          • TJay229
          • Schlukitz

            Flagged for verbal abuse and name calling.

          • Schlukitz

            You know, you really do have an anger management problem and a mean disposition that seems to be out of control.

            That a simple spelling error should get you so enraged, is very telling. You should get some help.

            I may have disagreed with some of your posts in the past, but I do not ever recall being as hostile and mean-spirited as you appear to be. Nor do I recall ever having called you any names, much less a “DUMBASS FAGGOT”, in caps, no less.

            I’ve seen some of the hostile comments you’ve made to other posters as well. I can readily see why you choose to keep your user activity file private so that you can attack and abuse other posters and hide under a mantle of anonymity.

            Your abusive comments are a violation of TOS and I have flagged them. Be assured that I have no desire to have any further contact with you.

          • TJay229
          • TJay229

            1) I don’t need you to agree with me on anything nor do I welcome your (in particular) commentary.

            2) When attempting to correct ME, Sissy… You make sure you’re correct first. “Detestible” #Nomoreconversationtoyou

          • Schlukitz

            Abusive comment.


  • LonelyLiberal

    I’m rather liking the new (newly discovered by me, anyway) direction from Matt. I still think his vids need fewer clothes and more action.

  • sfbob

    I don’t think I ever met Rivera but I did used to chat with Marsha Johnson on the street. Marsha was a character; always engaging people. She once told me she wanted to change her name to “Diana Ross-child.”

    Among the people who really were at Stonewall was my friend Roger Davis. Among the pictures Matt shows there is one showing a group of young people standing outside the Stonewall Inn; Roger’s the guy on the righthand side of the picture with his hands clasped in front of him, wearing a too-large men’s white dress shirt. I can tell you what I do know about him and let you know there are plenty of things I never knew about him. We met in 1977; were friends, then roommates, then friends again. He was my next roommate’s boyfriend. White, Jewish and middle class he was tossed out of his home in Jackson Heights at the age of 13; he was an underage prostitute hustling in Times Square. He got an education; he went to school at the building that later became New York’s LGBT Center. Lived in Boston for a while, Provincetown for a while (he was a “chambermaid” as he liked to refer to himself). He and his lover David moved to San Francisco; Roger drove a cab, was on welfare, learned how to take pictures (he later taught me how to use a camera and a darkroom). Sometime around early 1977 his relationship ended–amicably–and he returned to New York. We met at Billy The Kid on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights. Roger was very good-looking and a character. I don’t know what Roger was doing at the Stonewall the night that picture was taken; if I remember correctly he used to hang out there quite a bit. Since he turned 18 only at the beginning of June 1969 he’d likely have been there illegally until his birthday (the drinking age in NY was 18 back then but the bars were infamously casual about checking ID in those days). Roger was friendly with all sorts of people; his stories of the people he met “back in the day” spoke to an era in which being gay seemed in many cases to trump race and class. One of the people he’d known back in the Stonewall days was Henry Geldzahler who worked as Curator of American Art the Metropolitan Museum of Art and served as Commissioner of Cultural Affairs under Mayor Ed Koch.

    Once I left New York in 1980 we somewhat lost touch; I would occasionally run into him on return visits. He’d always had a drinking problem; and in the early ’80s it really started to show. But he did eventually turn his life around. I last saw him when in 1986; at that time he was one year clean and sober. He died from AIDS in 1992. There is a Names Project quilt panel for him.

    • another_steve

      That’s a great post, Bob. Thanks.

      It’s very important for we elder-queers to tell our stories. Whether others read or collect them — that’s up to them.

      But we must tell our stories.

      • sfbob

        Am I an elder-queer? I’m 64 so yeah I guess I suppose that shoe fits.My hubby never tires of reminding me of that; he is, shall we say, younger. Then again he’s did choose to be with me and when we first met I was more than twice his age (that’s no longer the case; we’re in our fourteenth year of domestic bliss and someday we’ll perhaps both be sufficiently grown up to get married).

        • gaymex

          Really great posts, Bob. Keep writing.

      • gaymex


    • Schlukitz

      Thanks for sharing that story with us, sfbob.

      What a nice tribute to your friend, Roger Davis.

      • gaymex

        It really is a nice tribute to his friend and it may be that Bob’s memory and the memory of a few friends is all there is. It is an important and moving story and needed to be told. Roger lived.

    • Oh wow thanks so much for sharing that! So interesting to hear the stories of the people who were there. I see the photos and have so many questions about what their lives were like.

      • sfbob

        The sad fact is that many of the people who were at Stonewall passed away during the darkest years of the AIDS epidemic. It would be a great tribute, I think, for those of us who remember those people to provide as much information about them as we have at our disposal and for those who are still around to commit their memories to paper (or the electronic equivalent).

        I believe Edmund White talked in his memoirs about having been a bystander as the riots were taking place. White was born in 1940 so he was in his late 20’s at the time and I believe had a corporate career going on. He himself admitted to being a bit of a coward at the time.

        The fact is that in general the people who were taking part in those disturbances were those who felt that they had little to lose by doing so which is why the demographic as represented in the pictures seems to consist of the very young and the already-marginalized. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing; it only becomes a problem when those who stood on the sidelines or who, like me, were not even yet out of the closet to speak disdainfully of the people who put their lives on the line while simultaneously taking advantage of the very freedoms those brave individuals helped secure for our community.

        One point pertaining to marriage equality and why it did not seem important to the pioneers of LGBT rights: SCOTUSblog reported this week on an interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Here is an excerpt:

        “The issue before the Court in the same-sex marriage cases, she argued, is ‘only imaginable’ as a case since 1982. Before then, as a legal matter marriage was a ‘relationship of dominant and subordinate; the nature of the union was not between equals.’ But in 1982, the Court relied on equal protection to strike down a Louisiana law stating that although a husband and wife each owned half of their shared possessions,
        the husband controlled the use of all of those possessions. In striking down this law, Ginsburg concluded, the Court changed marriage into an institution between equal, consenting adults, which opened the way for an argument for same-sex marriage on those terms.”

        I do think that historic phenomena in general are more complex than they are made out to be. After all, the plaintiffs in Baker vs Nelson wanted to be married in 1971, well before the decision Ginsburg cites. In addition there has always been a tension within our movement between the side looking for assimilation and the side seeking acceptance for a broader view of sexual liberty. The importance of the two sides has swung back and forth since the very beginning and was particularly obvious in the early day of the gay liberation movement. There was the transition from Gay Liberation Front to Gay Activists Alliance, the views of the latter being at least somewhat (I emphasize here somewhat) more along the lines of mainstreaming. I suspect that the swings tend to reflect other things going on culturally at the time but they are no doubt there and I suspect they will continue to be there.

        And after all let us not kid ourselves here: even among those who have fought for the the freedom to marry, not all who have wished to partake and are now able to do so embrace sexual monogamy as a mandatory aspect of marriage, nor should they have to. The tension continues to play out even here: certainly there are those who seek monogamy but there are those who seek not so much to “redefine marriage” (of course that is a right-wing trope) but for the right to decide what their off-the-shelf, state-sanctioned marriage means to them as they conduct their personal lives going forward. There’s still plenty of room for liberation. And of course there are other battles to fight before we achieve true equality.

  • Joe Shaw

    I love Matt. Good job, keep up the informative and entertaining work.

  • I have an interesting story. My mom, who grew up in Manhattan, recently told me (much to my surprise) that should would hang out at the “gay places” in the Village in the 60’s when she was at college in NYC (Hunter). She was with my aunt which surprised me even more. She said that the gay places she went to had well dressed men– and were the places to go for music and to be with cool people. She mentioned that before she (or anyone) was allowed in, they would go through her handbag and “frisk” her to make sure she did not have a camera on her- photographing anyone in these places could ruin their lives. I thought gay life in the Village in the 60’s was all about places like the Stonewall but I guess that there were other places to visit

  • LAguy323

    Documentary about Marsha P. Johnson

  • LAguy323

    Stonewall Uprising: A must see documentary film for anyone interested in our true history:

  • LAguy323

    Another excellent film about life as a gay man before the Stonewall rebellion. It’s a $2.99 rental.:
    Before Stonewall: In 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city’s gay community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the Gay Liberation Movement had begun. Before Stonewall pries open the closet door–setting free the dramatic story of the sometimes horrifying public and private existences experienced by gay and lesbian Americans.

    • Yes, and I guess this movie was made outside of the money-centric Hollywood system. This movie was made to tell the truth, for history. And we need more movies made like this to preserve a memory of what really happened. I do not think you can compare this to the Hollywood movie Stonewall at all!!

  • pablo

    Fun fact: Right after Sylvia gave her stirring speech, Jean O’Leary of Lesbian Feminist Liberation took the stage to denounce drag queens for mocking real women.

  • Joseph Miceli

    Matt never fails to impress me!

    • Schlukitz

      Same here. 🙂

  • David From Canada

    The gay community finally gets a mainstream movie about Stonewall and now all the Far Left extremists can do it bitch, holler, and complain. These are the same people who love to over-analyze everything and then tear it apart.
    As Alfred Hitchcock used to say to disgruntled actors, “It’s only a movie”.
    To those who don’t like this movie, having seen only the trailer, make your own movie about Stonewall, and when people start to criticize it, as they would, just remember, “It’s only a movie”………………

    • Why settle for less – as Clive said demand everything now and you’ll get somethings eventually. We’re doing the same thing here. Never. Ever. Be . Complacent.

    • Schlukitz


      “Those silly fairies should be happy to be getting a movie about themselves. Why can’t they just shut the fuck up?”

      Hollywood gave us Cruising with Al Pacino. What a piece of shit that was. We could have done without it, thank you very much. All it did was give the LGBT community a black eye.

      You say mainstream as if it’s a good thing? Just because Hollywood made it, we should be happy and content and ready to slap $20 bucks down on the counter just for the privilege of seeing it without critiquing first?

      I would prefer to have a low-budget, Indy version that is historically accurate than a big-budget blockbuster that is bullshit and sanitizes a lifestyle that half of America hates anyway no matter how it is portrayed.

      • gaymex

        Crusing was awful. I almost got in a fight in the theatre when I told some punks to stfu when they were laughing and loudly screaming for the killer to do it again.

      • David From Canada

        Be careful Sweetheart, you’re turning into a fanatic. You’re all over this thread.
        Whether the “Stonewall” movie is good, bad, or indifferent, the world, including the gay world, will keep on spinning.
        And keep on remembering, It’s only a movie.
        Chill out and good night.

  • So a white man just glosses over the fact that there were many POC involved and that having some pretty white boy be the face of the movie isn’t a problem?

  • Avenger280

    I have seen the trailer. Dorothy Snarker speaks far more eloquently than I do