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Kicking and Screaming: Stonewall at 50

Exiles on 12th Street: Episode Three

The Stonewall riots that took place in New York in June 1969 are widely credited with catalyzing the modern LGBT+ civil rights movement. Join us as we commemorate 50 years since the riots with Stonewall historian Marc Stein, lesbian writers and activists Pamela Sneed and Kelly Cogswell, and stories celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Drag March. The episode is presented by your host, historian Claire Potter, executive editor of Public Seminar. 

Here are some links and references mentioned in this podcast:

  • The Stonewall Inn is a national historic landmark at 53 Christopher St. where the famed riots between police and LGBT took place. 
  • Marc Stein, a professor of history at San Francisco State University and author of The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History, discusses the significance of the Stonewall riots in galvanizing the gay liberation movement. However he notes that many, including activist Jim Kepner, did not view Stonewall as the beginning the LGBT movement.
  • Claire mentions Susan Stryker’s documentary Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, about the lesser known drag queen riot in San Francisco, three years prior to Stonewall.
  • Pamela Sneed, poet, performer and author of Sweet Dreams discusses the history and political implications of the word “lesbian” with fellow writer Kelly Cogswell, whose book Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger reflects on how the lesbian civil rights group helped shape her activism.
  • The episode ends with stories from the Drag March Storyslam: Tales of Glamour and Resistance which took place at Tompkins Square Library.
  • Brian Griffin, aka Harmonie Moore Must Die, co-founded the annual Drag March after feeling excluded from the 25th Stonewall anniversary ceremony. The 2019 Drag March will also take place on June 28 at 8 p.m. beginning at Tompkins Square Park and ending at the Stonewall Inn.

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“After Stonewall” Exhibitions Remind Us That Queer History Shouldn’t Be Straightforward