My boyfriend and I saw Stonewall Uprising at The Living Room Theaters last night, and although we came out a generation later, we appreciate the generation of gay activists who took to the streets for our equality. We're not there yet, but a great deal of progress has been made since the dark ages of the mid-20th century.
During the 1960s in the U.S., sexual minorities were treated as mentally ill deviants who were to be incarcerated and subjected to shock treatments and torture. They either had to blend in or move to The Village or Haight-Ashbury to find any sense of family or community. Newsreel-type public service announcements, such as Boys Beware, helped form negative stereotypes that led to brutality against us.
Gay bars such as The Stonewall Inn were run by mafia, and police would frequently raid and make arrests for political purposes. By 1969, The Sexual Revolution had led to a relaxation of attitudes towards sex, and it is no surprise that in this climate sexual minorities were no longer content to be treated as second-class citizens.
Stonewall Uprising reminds me of the larger struggle for civil rights, and that this struggle is ongoing and global. In most of Africa, my brothers and sisters are dealing with many of the same forces that oppressed us in the U.S. decades earlier. And even here in present day U.S., there is DOMA and DADT. I am not about to take my rights for granted, and I hope that we will use whatever resources necessary to resist oppression and achieve justice and equality for all.