Sunday, April 27, 2003

More Goldberg

Jonah also reveals what a insulated little idiot he is. Check out this statement:

The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s didn't claim nearly as many lives, but it, too, transformed American life, rearranging institutions, public and private, and rewriting the language of the nation. And, you know what? None of it had anything to do with gay people.
Brother didn't fight brother over gay marriage or homosexuals in the military. Men didn't brave police dogs and fire hoses to overturn sodomy laws and the National Guard was never called in to restore order after gays were allowed through the schoolhouse door. Gays weren't kidnapped in Africa and brought to America against their will to toil in our fields.

I'm not even quite sure what that last sentence has to do with anything, but in any case someone should teach Jonah a little history.

The Stonewall riots were a series of violent conflicts between homosexuals and police officers in New York City. The riot began on Friday, June 29, 1969 outside the Stonewall Inn, a gay hangout in Greenwich Village. "Stonewall", as it is often called, is considered the start of the modern gay rights movement in the U.S. and worldwide. It was the first time any significant body of gays resisted arrest.

Prior to Stonewall, police raids on gay bars and nightclubs were a regular part of gay life in cities across the United States. Commonly the police would record the identities of all those present, which would be subsequently published in the newspaper, then load up their paddywagon with as many gays as it would hold. Kissing, holding hands, or even being in a gay bar at all were used as grounds for arrest on indecency charges at that time.

The Stonewall raid started out just like any other raid on a gay bar. Seven plainclothes policemen entered the bar along with one uniformed policeman, allegedly to investigate improprieties in the liquor license. They cleared the bar, whose clientele remained on the sidewalk and street outside.

Some of the people outside the bar that night began to toss coins at the police, making fun of the system in which regular raids were a part of extorting payoffs from the bar owners. The gay bar system in New York at the time was widely corrupt. Many gay bars were owned by the Mafia, and operated by a form of payola called gayola, paying off the police to look the other way.

Details about what happened next vary from story to story. The situation quickly got out of control, as there were 400 gay people outside of the bar, milling around, so the stories are confused and sometimes contradictory. One story says the situation escalated when a drag queen stood in the doorway and defied the police. Another says a butch lesbian started it. Either way, at some point the situation took a dramatic turn for the worse, and the police began beating people who resisted with their nightsticks. Several were sent to the hospital, and one teenage boy lost two fingers after police slammed his hand in a car door.

The crowd started throwing rocks and bottles rather than coins. The police took refuge inside the Inn, which they trashed. They also beat a heterosexual folk singer, Dave Van Ronk, a man who was present and who has since documented much of the events, says effeminate men were singled out for special treatment.

While the police were inside, someone sprayed lighter fluid through the door and attempted to light it. The crowd used a parking meter as a battering ram. All across the district, residents, many of whom were gay, rushed to the scene and the crowd swelled. They began to chant "Gay Power!"

The police sent additional forces in the form of the Tactical Patrol Force, a riot-control squad originally trained to counter anti-Vietnam War protesters. They were completely unsuccessful at breaking up the crowd, however, who sprayed them with rocks and other projectiles. At one point they were presented with a chorus line of mocking queens, singing:

We are the Stonewall girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear no underwear
We show our pubic hair
We wear our dungarees
Above our nelly knees!