Stonewall Movie Does Not Reflect Real Stonewall Riots
September 21, 2015
The Stonewall Riots are widely considered the start of the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement. This is why I was ecstatic to learn that there would be a film coming out on September 25th about them. However, the trailer for Stonewall, written by Jon Robin Baitz and directed by Roland Emmerich, proved to be less than amazing.
It seems to me that every LGBTQ character in popular media is white, cisgender, male and conventionally attractive. Danny, the movie’s protagonist, is no different. That’s where the trailer goes wrong: most of the people at the forefront of the Stonewall riots didn’t share all of Danny’s traits, but the trailer makes it seem that way. The trailer shows Danny throwing the brick that starts the riots, but people who were at the riots credit Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender woman with starting the riots. While Marsha is a character in Stonewall, other crucial activists are completely erased from the cast, like Sylvia Rivera and Miss Major, two other trans women of color, who also played major roles in the fight against the police at Stonewall. Stormé DeLarverie, a biracial, butch lesbian who was involved in the riots and is often credited with throwing the first punch, doesn’t appear in the cast either.
Most of the opinions I have heard about the film Stonewall have been negative, and I think that this movie definitely deserves to be criticized for its lack of diversity and historical accuracy. People of color and the trans community already don’t have a lot of representation in the media. Stonewall could have shown the power and importance of those who aren’t white and cisgender, but it seems the writer and director chose not to include a more diverse cast to make it more appealing to a general audience.
While this is only the trailer and the film itself may prove to be more diverse than it seems, I don’t expect it to be. Are you going to see Stonewall? Share what you think of its casting choices in the comments below.