psa. if we’re mutuals, we’re automatically friends. u don’t need to say things like “sorry to bother” or “sorry im annoying” bc ur not. ur my friend. u can come to me for anything. u need help? im here. wanna chat? hmu. just wanna gush abt your muse? go for it. we’re friends. ily.
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may 21 will mark the 40th anniversary of the white night riots that took place in san francisco in 1979 after dan white was sentenced to just 8 years in prison for the murder of mayor george moscone and supervisor harvey milk.
by the turn of the 1970’s, the castro district of san francisco had become a queer & trans utopia that provided a sense of sexual freedom, liberation, and self-realization. however, both local and national anti-gay legislation & sentiments were threatening that paradise.
in 1977, miss america runner-up & florida citrus orange juice “queen” lead a successful “save our children” campaign to overturn a dade county ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. that win launched a nat’l movement against the lgbtq community.
in 1978, harvey milk, the first out gay man to be elected to public office in CA, helped to get a non-discrimination ordinance signed in to SF law & was integral in mobilizing lgbtq folks and allies to shut down a statewide bill to ban gay teachers.
former cop dan white, who was elected to the SF board of supervisors the same time as harvey, was the only board member to vote against the non-discrimination bill. embarrassed and angered that his own bills failed, white resigned from his position on november 10, 1978.
in the following weeks, white reconsidered his decision and asked to be reappointed to his position. after being told during a radio interview that another person would be appointed to the board in his place, dan white set out to punish those he felt had humiliated him.
on the morning of november 27, 1978, dan white snuck into city hall through a side window & with a loaded 38 caliber smith & wesson, and traveled to city hall. walked into the office of mayor george moscone, an ally of harvey’s & shot him 4 times, 2 shots to the head.
as dan white rushed through the hall searching harvey milk, he stop to reload his gun. when he found harvey down the hall, white shot harvey 5 times, two times in the head. the murders shocked an already devastated city who that just beginning to process the jonestown massacre.
in may of 1979, white was tried for 2 counts of 1st degree murder. however, the mostly older white & working class jury delivered a guilty verdict of voluntary manslaughter w/ sentence of just 8 yrs. for gay community, this was further proof that the justice system was anti-gay.
thousands marched to city hall to protest the verdict. some held signs that read, “pity for the privilege, death penalty for the poor” and “white(s) get away with murder.” as the crowd grew, the pain and disappointment quickly turned into collective rage.
outnumbered by the gays, cops retreated as the gays rioted at city hall breaking windows. when things subsided, folks headed back to the castro district. in retaliation, police descended onto the castro and invaded a gay bar later that night.
police violently struck gay patrons. still filled with complete fury and disdain of the police state and justice system, the gays fought back and set police cars on fire. by the end of the night, dozens of police cars were set ablaze and 20 people were arrested.
the white night riots are an important chapter in queer history. on the night of may 21, 1979, the san francisco gays challenged the police state and defended themselves from police violence. they set the city on fire.
the following san francisco pride, marchers held signs that read “lesbians against police violence” & “end police violence.” cops were seen as a threat to queer liberation. later that year, in november of 1979, close to 100,000 people marched in support gay rights in DC.
the white night riots signaled a continued a trans & queer revolution that was ignited during the stonewall uprising 10 years earlier. pride marches were political and even more so just two years later when the aids epidemic began its assault on the queer community
sadly, in many ways, the aids epidemic truncated the revolution that we were on the brink of by stealing the lives of those who knew our liberation could never be realized under the police state.
BAN POLICE FROM PRIDE!
this pride season, may we all remember that the first pride was a riot. every culture shift for our basic human rights have been because of riots and direct actions. this year, honor black and brown trans women who rioted for us. remember the white night rioters by banning police
happy flag day, y'all!
so yesterday our twitter was lit. normally it’s just two of my friends ❤️ing and retweeting our shit but yesterday, the white gays were calling us all kinds of racists. of course, the day immediately after they cried and took up all kinds of space at vigils for the many black and latinx queer and trans folks lost in the pulse shooting.
normally, i never engage on twitter cuz it just ain’t my thang. mainly because i need more than 120 characters to let a fool have it. anywho, we got tweets about how the rainbow flag is not about race. we even had a few folks ask, “where is the white stripe!?” one of those folks was a latino dude who says he was asking about the white stripe because he is not “racist.” someone told him that working to ensure that white gays have a space everywhere - even on our twitter page - makes him “not racist.”
admittedly, i was not initially sold on the new flag. but chyle, but i saw how pissed and upset white gay men and hoteps were about the black and brown stripes - i was with it. i’m petty so anything that pisses yt gays and hoteps off, ima support. lol
here is the thing tho, redefining and owning queerness on our terms has always been a fight for black and brown folks ESPECIALLY for trans, gender non-conforming, gender non-binary folks. we have always had to face resistance every and anytime we wanted to carve out a space for ourselves. for some white cis-gay, our audacity to claim space on this earth is a direct affront to their commitment to dominate all spaces.
the new flag aims to recognize black and brown folks that continue to be marginalized within the lgbtq community and pride movement. the new flag DOES NOT cure racism. but my question is, why are we ok with waving the original rainbow flag at corporate sponsored pride events that are largely organized by white cis-gay men where cis-het performances pander to our community for coins does but fall silent when black trans women are murdered? why are folks more vocal about the black and brown stripes than they are about the violence black and brown bodies are subjected to every damn day?
don’t like the flag cuz it’s not visually appealing to you? cool. don’t wave it then. but if you are offended and appalled by the purpose and representation of the black and brown stripes, then you need ask yourself a few questions about what inclusivity really means to you beyond words that are not followed by action.
if you hate the new pride flag but have remained silent about the confederate flag, then i invite you to ask yourself a few questions. if you have remained silent as the alt-right and current administration has used the american flag to intimidate non-white americans, then i invite you to really have an honest and intentional conversation with yourself about what inclusion really means to you. you may find that while you are not racist, you may be hella anti-black. we all have our work to do. being mad at black and brown stripes is not where you start.
blessed are those who mother the children the world left alone to mind themselves. blessed are the queens who build a queendom for these children to survive and thrive. pepper labeija was both mother and queen and on this #mothersday weekend, we speak her name.
born on november 5, 1948 in the bronx, new york, pepper became the mother of the house of labeija (pronounced la-BAY-zha) in the 1982 after the founding mother, crystal labeija died.
under pepper’s leadership, the house continued to pave the way both drag and ballroom culture. the family structure that has long been the foundation of black and brown ballroom houses was created by the house of labeija and pepper played an integral part of this.
pepper and the house of labeija rose to mainstream prominence when they were featured in the 1990 documentary film, “paris is burning.”
pepper spent most of her life providing refuge for black and brown trans and queer young people during and after the height of the aids and crack epidemic. like many of the house mothers of her time, pepper helped to cultivate a space where black queer and trans people could live out their fantasies and those fantasies included a universe without homophobia, transphobia and racism.
on may 14, 2003, mother pepper labeija became an elder when she died of a heart attack at the age of 54.
in a new york times tribute printed on may 26, 2003, douglas martin wrote, “pepper was the last of the four great queens of modern harlem balls; angie xtravaganza, dorian corey and avis pendavis all died in recent years. these four exuded a sort of wild expressionism that might make las vegas girls seem tame.”
happy mother’s day, pepper! thank you for all of the new earths you helped to create when ours was burning down.
yesterday, on the first day of pride month, johana “joa” medina, a salvadorian trans alum seeker living with HIV, died in an el paso, texas hospital after ICE purposely delayed medical treatment.
according to a press release from grecia, trans leader from casa migrante in juarez, mexico who accompanies joa until her death, joa had pleaded for weeks that she was in need of medical care due to hiv complications. the press release states that after two months of suffer, joa was finally taken to las palmas del sol hospital in el paso, texas after johanna became extremely ill.
johana “joa” medina died june 1, 2019 at 21:00 hours. .
just a little over a year ago, rosxanna hernández, an hiv positive hundoran trans woman, died while ICE custody last year after being denied medical treatment and physical abuse.
we speak your name, joa.
we speak your name roxsanna.
we speak the name of every trans woman murdered.
Emile Griffith was the epitome of a reluctant boxing superstar. After moving to New York from the Virgin Islands in the early 1950’s, went from hat factory worker to professional boxer in just a few short years.
On April 1, 1961, Emile stepped into the ring to fight reigning welterweight champion, Cuban fighter, Benny “Benny the Kid” Paret. Emile won the match by knockout. Their much anticipated rematch took place just months later on Sept. 30th. This time, Emile lost to Paret by split decision.
By their third match on March 24, 1962 at Maddison Square Garden, their rivalry reached a fever pitch.
During the weigh in of the match, Paret called Emile a “maricon” and laughed. While many were aware that Emile frequented gay bars, many in the boxing world did not speak about it. Remember, this was years before the Stonewall riots of 1969.
By the time the televised match entered its 12th round, and just seconds after the commentator remarked, “This is probably one of the tamest round of the fight.”, Emile backed Paret into a corner and struck him repeatedly in the head before the referee stopped the fight. Paret slowly collapsed against the ropes and lost consciousness. Paret died 10 days later.
As a result of the match, Emile was bombarded with death threats, a government committee was assembled to investigate the sport and boxing was pulled from television for almost a decade. The match would haunt Emile for the rest of his life.
Emile retired in the late 1970’s and became a boxing trainer before working as a correctional officer.
In 1990, Emile was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two years later, Emile was viscously beaten by a homophobic gang after leaving a New York gay bar. He spent four months in the hospital.
In a sports illustrated interview before his death, he was quoted saying: “I like men and women both. But I don’t like the word: homosexual, gay or faggot. I don’t know what I am. I love men and women the same, but if you ask me which is better…I like women.”
Emile died on July 23, 2013.
Today, we remember and speak the name of a champion.