White dude yelling

Trailer for the whitewashed Stonewall movie looks even worse than I expected

The trailer for Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall movie was released yesterday, and it looks offensively terrible.

The film already looked whitewashed and ciswashed and just bad from the information we had before the trailer was released. I mean, here’s the official synopsis:

STONEWALL is a drama about a fictional young man caught up during the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) is forced to leave behind friends and loved ones when he is kicked out of his parent’s home and flees to New York. Alone in Greenwich Village, homeless and destitute, he befriends a group of street kids who soon introduce him to the local watering hole The Stonewall Inn; however, this shady, mafia-run club is far from a safe-haven. As Danny and his friends experience discrimination, endure atrocities and are repeatedly harassed by the police, we see a rage begin to build. This emotion runs through Danny and the entire community of young gays, lesbians and drag queens who populate the Stonewall Inn and erupts in a storm of anger. With the toss of a single brick, a riot ensues and a crusade for equality is born.

So the movie about Stonewall  is focused on a cis white dude. Nope.

And now we’ve got a trailer selling a movie that’s looking super cis and white and guy-centric all around. (Also, it looks like a cheap Disney channel musical.)

Let Monica Roberts explain why this is some bullshit:

Umm, naw boo boo kitty, that’s not how it went down, and as long as Miss Major is alive, I’m not letting that fictionalized whitewashed trans free Stonewall narrative even gain a foothold because it’s a crime against history.

The reality coming from multiple witnesses to the original event say that it was Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, butch lesbians and other persons of color who jumped off the riot in 1969 while the Fire Island gays were still cowering in their closets.

Even Ray Hill, who is one of our Houston human rights icons and was one of the early Big Four Gay leaders along with Harvey Milk, Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings, has told me that Stonewall was a trans and gender variant POC led uprising.

As I expected, the trailer starts the project of historicizing Stonewall as the beginning of the movement that culminated in “winning full equality” ie same sex marriage. Forget about the movement for liberation started by the very people who’ve been left behind as the mainstream gay rights establishment focused all its energy on marriage.

There are two POC characters featured in the trailer, and in 2 minutes and 22 seconds they manage to come off as tokens who are there to teach our white dude hero about how hard things are by being tragic figures. In one scene, white guy Danny tells a character – who seems to be a trans woman of color (in today’s parlance) – “I can’t love you.” OK, this is a film that’s got trans woman of color Marsha P. Johnson, whose 25th birthday was being celebrated at Stonewall that night, listed way down in the credits on the IMDB page, looking like a glorified extra and played by a cis man. Trans woman of color Sylvia Rivera, who’s credited with throwing the first bottle, isn’t listed on the IMDB page anywhere. Neither is trans woman of color and living legend Miss Major. And this film’s trailer includes the most on-the-nose version of the “trans women of color are unlovable” trope possible?

Fuck this movie.

Get ready to boycott and protest Emmerich’s Stonewall. Remember, Stonewall was a riot the first time around.

Here’s the trailer if you feel the need to hate watch:

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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