So this image is floating around my Facebook right now, getting shares left and right. Something doesn’t sit right with me about the image though. Well, a few things.
I don’t know if this photo is actually from 1969, but it pretty much shows some skinny, cis, young bodies looking … IDK, “Gay” somehow (Happy, I guess)? The POC in the shot are rendered nearly invisible cause the contrast is so high. I think the caption really erases what kind of people were actually being targeted at Stonewall and who it was that “fought back” … and how transwomen (esp. of colour) are being murdered and targeted at an alarming rate STILL in the States and all over the world.
And this image is still centred around skinny white dudes (way to rep the diversity of the community) and doesn’t actually address the significance of Stonewall: It downplays the “unremarkable” (read: despicable) act of police raids in queer establishments and acts like our queer elders who fought back at Stonewall totally “won” so that “gays” everywhere could get shitfaced and spend all their money on rainbow coloured shit every summer. The image ignores the contemporary reality of queer struggle (for folks who aren’t young white gay men) and juxtaposes a sanitized image of gayness with really flawed commentary and understanding of the Stonewall Riots, who was being targeted, and who actually fought back. All this coming from a non-profit invested in (hopefully meaningful) community organizing for change.
Did a queer person with a critical conscience even make this image?
I feel like the New Organizing Institute got something really wrong when they published this image to facebook, probably more than I have written down here.