Monday, July 14, 2008

Remembering Our History

By now even the dimmest theotard has heard of the Stonewall Riots but how many remember that three years earlier there were the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot?

In 1966 in California it was illegal to cross dress, having buttons on the wrong side of your shirt could get you arrested. On a hot August night in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district the police were doing a routine sweep to harass trans-women, hustlers, gays and lesbians when one woman in Compton’s Cafeteria refused to go quietly and threw her coffee in the cops face. One thoroughly trashed cafeteria, one wrecked cop car and nine nights of picketing latter and things had changed permanently in San Francisco. To quote from glbtq.com ;

In the aftermath of the riot at Compton's, a network of transgender social, psychological, and medical support services was established, which culminated in 1968 with the creation of the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, the first such peer-run support and advocacy organization in the world.


We need to remember our history, remember that we have always had to fight for our rights.

2 comments:

Christopher said...

I'm ashamed to admit I've never heard of this before, although glad to have learned about it now. But then I didn't learn about the Stonewall riots until after I'd graduated from college. Looking back I think these events should have been included in my high school history books.
You're right that this is "our history", but I believe the "our" extends to cover gay, straight, and transgendered people. If this is what you meant, and if I left anyone out, I apologize. These events are as much part of U.S. history as the civil rights movement or, for that matter, the Civil War and Revolutionary War. These events remind us that, for all its promise, the U.S. was not, and in many ways still is not, a country that treats all citizens equally.

Natasha Yar-Routh said...

I meant it on to levels, as specific to transgendered people and applying to 'our' as all the people who's history is either not told or is not told from our viewpoint. The first nations, labor organizers, politically radical, queers, women and so very many more. We need to reclaim and tell our history because no one else will.