Who Started The Stonewall Riots? I Have An Answer

Categories: Gaaaaayyyyyy

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In 1969, the Stonewall riots -- precipitated when cops burst into the famed gay bar and started being their usually abusive selves -- defined the modern gay movement.

Well, every eldergay on earth claims to have not only been there, but to have started the riot -- even more people than claim to have seen the original Carrie musical.

But a documentary about "The Saint of Christopher Street," transsexual legend Marsha P. Johnson, has uncovered some interesting info.

Director Michael Kasino interviewed Stonewall author David Carter for the documentary, and here's what Carter said:


"When Jerry Hoost, who was a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front, got to the Stonewall Inn on the evening of the uprising, John Goodman told him that Jackie Hormona was the one who started the riot, and that soon after, Marsha Johnson and Zasou Nova quickly joined in.

"Later, Marty Robinson, and later Morty Manford, told Robin Souza, who was one of the founders of the Gay Activists Alliance, that Marsha Johnson was involved in starting the riots.

"The story that Robin Souza told me, that Morty Manford told him, was that Marsha Johnson said, 'I got my civil rights!' and then Marsha threw a shot glass into a mirror. And that's what started all the riots.

"This was later know as the 'shot glass' heard round the world.

"So I think when you look at the mythology, with the few known facts that withstand scrutiny, I do not think that there is any doubt that she was there the first night. And I think if we had to conclude, in all probability, that she was probably among the first to resist the police in a physical way."


Want to know more about Marsha? Then you might want to help kick-start the movie. Here's how. By the way, yes, I'm in it. But I didn't start Stonewall!



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25 comments
ROBERT
ROBERT

 Please help make this event a huge success.  It's for a living legend domicile right here in Brooklyn.  She deserves it!  Two independent films featuring the life of Storme DeLarverie will be screened.

https://www.facebook.com/event...

Rheisler
Rheisler

Hey Michael!  It's actually Jerry Hoose.  He's one of our regulars at SAGE.

joseph scarpati
joseph scarpati

Actually, this is true because my late father was the cop that was hit in the face with a glass, therefore starting what the gay community uses as their watershed moment.

The fact of the matter is that Stonewall was a notorious drug den. My father, six years passed away, was an undercover narcotics officer at the time and personally bought thousands of dollars of drugs there over a six month time period as an undercover officer.

Additionally, the place never had a liquor license, which was the real reason for the raids and were told after each raid to back off the bar by the higher-ups in city politics at the time.

So while Musto and others write about how this was such a landmark for the gay community, perhaps they should know the real story behind what went on there.

And while this post will no doubt be flamed (no pun intended), it is the truth. Which will no doubt be disputed by people most of whom weren't even alive when it happened.

My father, before he died was approached on numerous occasions by authors wanting to write the story but my father backed out, knowing what a shitstorm would occur as a result.  

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

It seems quite logical to me that a drag queen might have been the first to stand up to a cop.

Back then, drag queens had to have an admirable, crazy kind of courage just to be who they were.

And I've been around the block a few (thousand) times and known some very tough queens, drag and otherwise, who were never lacking in the so-called "manly arts."

freddiemessina
freddiemessina

What I find interesting is how the gay community today often looks down on the very types of people who started the revolution. Meaning Queens, Minorities etc.. 

Abso Lutely
Abso Lutely

The action at Stonewall would more correctly be termed an uprising, not a riot.

kalalaumango
kalalaumango

tragically being involved with egotistical vanity driven buffoons who have no regard for elders other than their preference for sucking cock from 12-19 years old -- i think of stonewall and other moments prior to that and now what follows -- how do people eat some of this contemporary trash??  and think they're doing anything for GLBT people with a foundation beyond trollish garbage??

Newton Magalhaes
Newton Magalhaes

I do believe this could have happened... The shot glass on the miror and "I have my civil rights". The "QUEENS" have always shown guts from a very tender age.

latenitebump
latenitebump

i know and met people who, back in the day, hung out at stonewall. (funny, to hear about those times.) i heard it was a mafia controlled joint like all gay places back in the day.a friend told me the name of the person who started the riot. he won´t tell me, again. i forgot but was surprised to learn the person was african-american. holla!the story went (don´t quote me) (you have to ask my friend): after a zillion times of the cops raiding stonewall...the black queen, who sparked the riot, was assaulted by an nypd--this night--decided to stand up and fight this cop back at which point the stonewall riot ensued.my friend told me the story. he was around during this time in the village. a lot of these queens are still alive.had a roommate who hung out at the stonewall. said he was underage at the time when it would get raided all the time.

pollik
pollik

She started the riot.

Hmmm

Doesn't this rather miss the point of a riot waiting to happen because of an oppressive regime?  If it hadn't been Jackie, it would have been someone else.  There is no kudos, pride or shame attached to the deed.  Riots are not a weekend hobby...they are acts of pretty desperate people and it focusses attention in the wrong place to highlight she who threw the first stone.

 The attention should be on why people rioted and that is usually those in positions of authority.  

Rogie
Rogie

Sounds exciting, promising, and significant. And for these reasons and more, the project should get funding from the city government (the national govt will need more time to come around). All they probably have to do is request one or two of those Lincoln Center donors to "divert" their money to an even worthier cause - NYC history.

Frustrated about the project because I'm not deep-pocketed enough at the moment....

Fandangofanny
Fandangofanny

Storme DeLavalier slugged a cop , thereby starting it for realz.

Gayola
Gayola

It all sounds a little bit second hand--like everything is about Stonewall these days--but it sounds credible. Did Marsha herself ever say she flung the shot glass heard round the world?

Kassie
Kassie

I believe it! Marsha was that kind of game changer!

LIMEN !
LIMEN !

There are always two sides to the story! There's the truth, and then there the bull crap. I've found that the truth is more likely on the side of the appressed. The white man has his great stories, and then there are the Native Americans who had a whole continent out right stolen from them. Then you have those whites again who inhumanly enslaved a lot of people who's skin color wasn't just right! Then you have we gay people who have been pushed down in every way that a person can be.From not being hired or losing our job bcause we are gay. Or just not given a right to living in a house or apt. that we wish to. Or being abused in moreways than the average man has fingers and toes. And the perpetrater always has his piis poor excuse for thier actions, no matter how reprehensible they may be.I'm old! And I'm over the crap. I'm not afraid. Or do I give a rats ass, to what others think of who I am. Nor well Ibe intimidated by those who religion, dogma, orideology is different than mine. I'm loved by my friends, family, many others. And my life has been given to all who are less fortunate than my self.So there are two different sides to every story! Which side are you on. The right or wrong side? It's all in the eye of the beholder. So many cover thier deeds in lies of virue. EVEN MURDER OF OTHERES THAT ARE DIFFERENT THAN THEY ARE, FOR WHAT EVER RESON THAT IT MY SAID TO BE!

latenitebump
latenitebump

it took, also, a drag queen to start rock and roll which encouraged mick jagger and david johansen to drag it out, too.move like jagger.

WHORETENSE
WHORETENSE

You know it. I owned 7 fantasy full-fillment parlors. And they were all over the country. Alot of the patrons were straight. But the gays were way more inventive in thier fantasies! A blast! And the money was fabulous. Remember Fort Lauderdale in the 1990s, and a bar called Sleaze Alley. It was an after hours bar. And Fort Lauaderdale vice was afraid when they came in. THEY WERE TERRIFIED ! So mybe the QUEEN'S GOT IT!

LIMEN !
LIMEN !

You got that so right girlfriend. We old QUEENS kicked ass! And we had balls the size of cocnuts, and double edged razor blades in our hair-dos. We dared some one to pull our hair! History doesn't matter to these young mannequins. We old QUEENS had heart, pride, real fun, guts, and the right attitude! Not some vain I'm young pretty, and I'm here.You got to do some thing for those less empowered than you! That's a real man, even when you in drag. And you remember that or you might just learn it the hard way? By a QUEEN with balls the size of cocnuts.

Karl
Karl

Thank you, stuck up queen. 

LIMEN !
LIMEN !

No it doesn't miss the point! Yes there was great oppression and disadvantage way past young peoples comprehensions. The only people how had the power and guts to have a gay bar were the old organized crimepeople. They had guts and balls and they liked our money. And way back in those days all  most all gay bars were just like speak-easies! If two men got caught dancing the undercover cops shut the bar down. IT WAS CLOSED DOWN! So it was the older Queens who were the look-outs. And they knew who was who! And they protected us young kids. Like a lioness, protecting thier own. Young people have not a clue to what has come before thier day. What was fought. Who was killed. But who looks out for us now? Listen toMick Jagger's Angie. I was asked to sing Angie at a dear childhood friend's daughter's funeral. Iwas really hard, she was only in her late teens. I did it with tears in my eyes for Angie. And there wasn't a dry eye in the funeral home. And then we had the Kinks best Lola. And that song spellied out the best. Lola, she walks like a woman, but talks like a man, Lola. And then you had the great David Bowie sing a real winner ,Changes, even thugh it wasn't so much said to be about a transvestite it talked about these children that you spit on. Ithink we have all been there. EVEN THOUGH IT'S 2012! Thank-you Michael one moe time for a great story, and a real eye opener for the younger generation. We need more decadence for these hard times. We need it, we crave it, we long for it, it's in our souls, and in our gay genetic code! That's what the gay 1890s was about. And the roaring-twenties. And the 1960s.Wee need to vent our being neglected, and being used by religion as a hatemongers vote getter. LONG LIVE THE MEMORY OF THE STONEWALL RIOTS.

Elder
Elder

"There is no kudos." I'm not gong to rip apart your grammar, but your sentiment: There's something called history, and naturally the causes of the riots have been documented for decades in books, essays, and documentaries. But it's also important, for history's sake, to determine who started the rebellion and how it grew from there. I find it VERY important to note this fact.

joseph scarpati
joseph scarpati

Actually, this is true because my late father was the cop that was hit in the face with a glass, therefore starting what the gay community uses as their watershed moment.

The fact of the matter is that Stonewall was a notorious drug den. My father, six years passed away, was an undercover narcotics officer at the time and personally bought thousands of dollars of drugs there over a six month time period as an undercover officer.

Additionally, the place never had a liquor license, which was the real reason for the raids and were told after each raid to back off the bar by the higher-ups in city politics at the time.

So while Musto and others write about how this was such a landmark for the gay community, perhaps they should know the real story behind what went on there.

And while this post will no doubt be flamed (no pun intended), it is the truth. Which will no doubt be disputed by people most of whom weren't even alive when it happened.

My father, right before he died was approached on numerous occasions by authors wanting to write the story but my father backed out, knowing what a shitstorm would occur as a result.

Rimbeaux
Rimbeaux

I thought it was a TOTAL riot, girl. I laughed my ass off!

pollik
pollik

I take your point...although I am not sure about correcting my grammar.  Kudos is singular, although treating it as plural has gained some currency.  Not sure about ripping apart either..."correcting" would be less emotive.  Uh, not sure I like the reminder about history, either...I thought my post was in a historical context, but hey ho.

I was referring to the riot, rather than the rebellion.  They are connected, but not the same.

I wonder if what you are looking for is a hero figure.  OK, if that is what you need, I have to respect that.  However, rebellions and riots are much less started by single individuals than they triggered by events.  A hero bent on starting a riot is going to look a bit lame if no one around him agrees with him.  In history, the real story is in the exploring the cultural environment that lead to the oppression of gays and trans and why the society of that time thought it was a good idea that could ever work.  Who cast the first stone will occupy just a sentence in the pages of history, recorded but not, by itself, historically significant.

latenitebump
latenitebump

 i know someone right now (alive) who hung out at the stonewall and have met many people who hung out there. never once have i heard it was a drug den. (and who cares, anyway? what place in new york wasn´t in the sixties?) i never heard that was the reasons for the raids.basically, the reasons for the raids was it was homosexual.any 2 men touching (dancing) the place was shut down. the reason for the raids. no one ever mentioned drugs.it just sounded like a gay hang out. that´s all. no one even talked about sex there, either, (backrooms) that i met.

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