We S.A.I.D Enough Is Enough

We S.A.I.D Enough Is Enough

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Advocate Interviews SAID's Miss Major and Ashley Love on the Proposed Stonewall Plaque's Problematic Wording: 'Does the Stonewall Commemorative Plaque Erase Trans People's Role in Riots?'

From Advocate.com:

Does the Stonewall Commemorative Plaque Erase Trans People's Role in Riots?

Trans activists say the use of the term 'gay' as an umbrella term erases the historic importance of trans and gender-nonconforming people in the riots that launched the modern LGBT equality movement.
BY Sunnivie Brydum

October 24 2013 6:42 PM ET

Ashley Love (left) and Miss Major, two of the trans women leading the effort to make the Stonewall plaque's language more inclusive.
New York City is currently considering installing a plaque at the site of the historic Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village bar where in 1969, bar patrons — including trans women, lesbians, drag queens, and gay men — fought back against continued police harassment, leading to a riot that lasted three days and, by most estimations, started the modern LGBT rights movement.

Commemorating the riots and the location is undoubtedly a laudable goal, but the actual words that will be included on the plaque have stirred up controversy within New York's LGBT community...
...But even at the first meeting of the local Community Board's Landmarks and Public Aesthetics Committee on October 15, tensions over allegedly exclusive wording was plainly evident.... 
...Among those most upset over the draft language are members of Stonewalling Accurate and Inclusive Depictions, an educational project that aims to bring attention to "the ongoing pattern of trans erasure, whitewashing, misgendering and problematic messaging spread in numerous media portrayals, political establishments, and educational institutions regarding the history and multi-movement building surrounding the Stonewall Riots of 1969," according to SAID's website
"Many who took part in the Stonewall Rebellion died way before their time, like my sisters Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson," explains Miss Major, a SAID organizer, executive director of the TGI Justice Project in Oakland, Calif., and a trans woman of color who was inside the Stonewall Inn the night the riots began. "The ongoing whitewashing of those days of struggle put a blemish on the memory of those trans women of color and those still living — mentally, physically and spiritually. I pray this plaque uses inclusive language to honor the sacrifice we as trans women displayed by taking back our power."
Ashley Love, another organizer with SAID who is a journalist and transsexual and intersex advocate, cut straight to the chase on why her group is displeased with the plaque's draft language. 
"LGB decision-makers shouldn’t misrepresent less privileged communities by repeatedly using exclusive and nonaffirming language that marginalizes and misgenders Americans with a transgender gender identity or a transsexual medical condition," Love tells The Advocate. "Misusing 'gay' as an umbrella term erases the many heterosexual and non-gay identified people in the Trans* coalition, and confuses the already ignorant public. This is a chance to responsibly depict history by ensuring this plaque honors all diverse communities who kickstarted the Stonewall Rebellion."
Sen. Holyman's chief of staff confirmed that the specific wording will be discussed and revised at next month's meeting of Community Board 2's Social Services and Education Committee. That meeting will take place on November 19, which happens to be one day before the International Trans Day of Remembrance, where trans people and their friends and allies gather to remember all those lost to anti-trans violence and bias around the world in the past year...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Call To Participate: Attend October 15th Public Hearing in N.Y.C. to Ensure Proposed Stonewall Memorial Plaque Has Trans-Inclusive & Affirming Language

Stonewalling Accurate & Inclusive Depictions (S.A.I.D.)

What:  First Public Hearing on Proposed Plaque Honoring the Stonewall Riots of 1969

This hearing will occur during a meeting of Community Board 2’s Landmarks & Public Aesthetics Committee  to enroll the public to discuss the proposed draft of what will be written on the plaque to be placed on the Stone Wall Inn honoring the Riots of 1969.
When:  Tuesday, October 15th @ 6:30pm

Where:  NYU’s Silver Building at 32 Waverly Place (at Washington Square East), room 411
Why:  It’s vital that transsexual, transgender and gender-non conforming people attend this hearing to ensure that the language on the plaque does not gloss over our communities by repeatedly and inaccurately pushing thee word “gay” as an umbrella term because this minimizes and erases the significant role transsexual, transgender and gender non-conforming people had in the rebellion. Sexual Orientation (gay) is not the same thing as a transgender gender identity or a transsexual medical condition. Words really do matter.

S.A.I.D. organizer Miss Major, currently the Executive Director of T.G.I Justice Project and a Stonewall veteran who was actually inside the Inn when the riots started, has deep concerns about the proposed plaque’s wording and the overall misrepresentation of Stonewall’s legacy.  She states,
“We started S.A.I.D.’s campaign to honor all those at the Stonewall Inn the night the riots erupted and, though you wouldn’t know it by viewing the inaccurate ‘Stonewall Uprising’ film or a string of other (mis)depictions, that most definitely and primarily included trans women and people of color.

The whitewashing of this history is an abuse of power which we will no longer tolerate.

The plaque should not use “gay” as an umbrella term as it marginalizes and erases the many trans people there. I’m not gay. Many transsexual and transgender people are also not gay.

 History revisionism and trans-erasure have no place in this memorial. Let’s truly honor all the people who stood up for their human rights and yours by writing language on the plaque that’s honest.”
S.A.I.D. organizer Ashley Love, a journalist and transsexual & intersex advocate who volunteers with the anti-defamation group Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET), finds the plaque’s inaccurate draft speaks to larger issues,

“It’s well documented that Sylvia Rivera, a Puerto Rican woman of trans experience, “threw the first heel” that started the riot, with Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major and many other trans* people and people of color also kicking things off. Then after the affluent white gay male political establishment was done using Rivera to fundraise she was quickly discarded. I’m sure the fact that she rightfully called out classism and transphobia also led to her being blacklisted.
If this commemoration is to have any integrity then the pattern of certain privileged communities within the LGBTTIQQ coalition making Stonewall's legacy all about them must be challenged. It’s not just about “gay” people as the proposed text repeatedly misrepresents, it’s also about transsexual and transgender people. Let’s pay a genuine homage to the people who sacrificed so much for all of us by using more affirming text on the plaque.”

Stonewalling Accurate & Inclusive Depictions, or S.A.I.D., is an educational project drawing attention to the ongoing pattern of trans-erasure, whitewashing, misgendering and problematic messaging spread in numerous media portrayals, political establishments and educational institutions regarding the history and multi-movement building surrounding The Stonewall Riots of 1969. This campaign aims to encourage filmmakers, historians, educators, students, journalists and activists to responsibly affirm the colorful diversity which ignited the global revolution which the Stonewall Rebellion inspired.

“We S.A.I.D. enough is enough!”