From Stonewall to Gay Marriage

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stonewall witnesses/participants, Danny Garvin and Tommy Lanigan Schmidt, and historian David Carter will recount the events surrounding the Stonewall rebellion.

Kurt Andersen, host of PRI and WNYC’s Studio 360, and Mark Randall, principal of Worldstudio, a marketing and design agency, will talk about Studio 360’s gay pride flag redesign project and what the flag means.

A preview of Worldstudio's gay pride flag designs

The Gay Pride Flag Makeover Challenge flickr page

The discussion continues with Robert Reid-Pharr, critical essayist and professor at the CUNY Graduate Center; Pauline Park, co-founder of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy(NYAGRA); Cathy Marino Thomas, board president of Marriage Equality New York; Detective Timothy Duffy, NYPD LGBT Community Liaison; JoJo Edward, FIERCE member Desiree Marshall, FIERCE lead organizer; and Kenyatta, a resident at Sylvia's Place - a homeless shelter for gay youth.


Kenyatta, Kurt Andersen, David Carter, Timothy Duffy, JoJo Edward, Danny Garvin, Desiree Marshall, Pauline Park, Mark Randall, Robert Reid-Pharr, Tommy Lanigan Schmidt and Cathy Marino Thomas

Comments [32]

josh from NYC

Jun. 26 2009 09:49 AM

I would like to request that Lou, #30, be invited as a guest sometime on the Brian Lehrer show.

Either that, or Lou should get more than 1200 characters to further illuminate us.

that "law and science" bit deserves more space...

Jun. 24 2009 12:52 AM
Lou from Queens

Dear WNYC,

On the relative merits of being a social outcast.
Anyone thinking person who can't muster the imagination to cast themselves as "outside" this society isn't trying very hard. I understand what Issac Mizrahi means about the incredible thrill of an underground culture, but the Gay Culture he is nostalgic for is not, I think the violent and terrifying one of 1950s, but rather the explosively hedonistic one of the 70's and 80's when the worldwide cultural revolution of post '68 re-imagined the socio-political and sexual possibilities of all late capitalists...and Mr. Mizrahi seems like a fabulous late capitalist indeed. What is less clear to me, as a middle aged lesbian, is whether the law and science are frameworks that adequately serve us as human beings seeking to understand the mysteries of happiness, wholeness and freedom. I don't think they are completely adequate in the least. They serve to address crucial, but ultimately limited aspects of human experience, but gender and sexuality will ultimately die on the operating table if left to purely materialist means.

A listener.

Jun. 23 2009 12:28 PM
jim fouratt from greenwich village

Quite frankly the issues and the history is much more complicated and interesting than the presentation today ... the Fierce kids (and I say kids because I see them as my kids) and the residents of Sylvia's Place (named after the fierce street transvestite Sylvia Rivera a person on the streets during the Stonewall Rebellion and a a fierce member of the Gay Liberation Front who was hardly mentioned at all in the Carter book) and Robert Reid-Pharr represent the spirit of Stonewall Rebellion and GLF with their multi-issue politics much more vibrantly than the single issue politics of the GAA -ish Marriage Equality. Same sex civil marriage is a basic civil rights issue and shouldn't be a radical idea is radical because of the political debate and homophobia of so many politicians from the right wing to inside the White House. It has been the radicalizing issue for so many "post-gay life is wonderful" lesbians and gay men when they saw how little power they actually have when it comes to the most basic of affirmations of commitment and love .. if you want to hear more please attend the NYPL event tomorrow night at th main library on 42nd st at 6PM Founding members of the GLF Ny will talk politics ..then and now.

Jun. 23 2009 12:23 PM
Lara from Flushing

I think this was a case of good intentions gone bad, but this segment seemed mishandled all the way around. The ex-cop appeared to be barely conscious and did not have any new perspective on Stonewall as your intro of him suggested. Brian's referring to being gay as a "lifestyle" was unfortunate, and the Kurt Andersen segment was horrible and typical of the arrogance and privelige with which he approaches many issues. And having radio with a studio audience and a video feed just seems to distract all from the unique intimacy that only radio can create.

Jun. 23 2009 12:21 PM
Nico from Crown Heights

I agree with the comments made about the use of that ridiculous "alternative lifestyle" language...

But mostly I just want to shower all the guests and Brian and producers with as much gratitude as I can fit in a posting...

The tenor, the work, the respect, and the implicit dignity with which WNYC, and ESPECIALLY Brian's show addresses issues that effect my community lies in stark contrast to the mainstream media's coverage of the same--if it's even mentioned.

Many thanks for letting me hear the voices of people who came before me in activism, in living gay/queer life with immeasurable strength.

My partner and I are planning our wedding...and in the face of the massive discrimination I've encountered in just buying a damned dress, today's show reminded me that I am not alone... in particular that I'm not alone in the experience of having my civil rights are violated on a daily basis as a queer American woman.

Jun. 23 2009 12:19 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

OMG Brian, so now homosexuals were just doing it to reject 1950s status quo? I have a question for you… are you Jewish to thumb your nose at the 6 BILLION people on the planet who are not? You’re just digging the hole deeper and deeper.

And on marriage equality. Marriage isn’t really the issue the way I see it. It’s more of an omnibus for equality… an “obsession” for equality. Marriage equality is a catch all that would 1. Recognize homosexuals as equal Americans. 2. Recognize same-sex relationships as emotional and valid as opposite-sexed relationships. 3. Extend equal protection equally to all Americans. 4. Demonstrate a clear understanding between religious dogma and civil law.

Jun. 23 2009 11:57 AM
AMS from BK

Robert Reid-PHARR

Pls tell Brian to pronounce his name right -- PHARR, not Parr

Jun. 23 2009 11:56 AM
jeffrey farber from chelsea

my partner & i are about to hit 30 years. i've been on his medical as a DP at macys for alot of years. the following is taken direct from federated's health options info packet, 2nd year in a row
"In states such as Connecticut, Iowa and Massachusetts where same-gender marriages are permitted by law, a domestic partner may be covered only if the associate and the domestic partner marry and continue to reside in those states."
i think everyone should have marriage equality but do i have to get married too?

Jun. 23 2009 11:53 AM
Sally from L.E.S.

I want to hear more from FIERCE! I think they bring an important perspective to this conversation about race and class that is not being addressed in this discussion.

Jun. 23 2009 11:53 AM

Brian, did you say obsession with marriage?

Jun. 23 2009 11:50 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

This conversation is incredible! Saying being forced to be closeted and underground with threats of violence from the people paid to protect the public is tantamount to saying being a runaway slave made for one h**l of an adventure and Anne Frank was oh so lucky she because she was a rebel and had a blast in the attic. Sickening.

Jun. 23 2009 11:48 AM
connie from village

Issac ... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give a pass on all these redesigns .. and pick the RAINBOW FLAG as we know,

if you do that trust me ..we will buy, buy, buy


Jun. 23 2009 11:45 AM
Nora Rocket from Queens, NY

Sadly, the rainbow flag has lead to my least favorite cliche about the LGBTQ community: "they're so colorful!" "The Pride Parade is the most colorful event of the year!" "The colorful community" blah blah blah. I've always felt, as an Executive Queer, if you will, that the rainbow flag infantilizes me/us/our movement: lookit the shiny, colorful homosexuals! They're so FUN! I'd like us to display our fangs just a little bit more, to remind the straight community (allies and detractors) that being gay is still not actually a safe thing (despite certain markers of acceptance) and that it comes with an obligation to fight, in public and in politics, because there are many, many powerful people who think we're wrong, dangerous, sick, trash.

Jun. 23 2009 11:42 AM
jim from soho

Leave it to a straight man to decide that we should redesign the rainbow flag, Of course he would defend himself by quoting some fawning gay fan telling him he is "so gay"

Sorry but he is so wrong.

The flag is representative of diversity that rises above the political correct crowds that today's show seems to be pandering to.

And now valuable air time that could be devoted to real issues beside the no briner same sex civil marriage is given to the also rans for queer eye as bad as saying Judy Garland death caused Stonewall .. which is such a crock!

Jun. 23 2009 11:36 AM
Lance from UES

I think the current gay pride flag is fine as it is.

It's particularly annoying that some conservative religious groups have organized a movement objecting to the association of the rainbow with gay pride (the current flag being based on the rainbow design), arguing that God gave humanity the rainbow as a symbol of God's love for humanity after the deluge that Noah's family survived.

Jun. 23 2009 11:34 AM
Jim Cooper from Paramus NJ

Seymour Pine is either still brainwashed by his police controllers of the 60s, or he is still protecting the "reputation" of the police when he insists that they were only after the Mafia and not the gays back then. He sure sounded rather 'lame' to me today... and conveniently couldn't understand the pointed questions from Brian.

Jun. 23 2009 11:31 AM
Nora from Brooklyn

A sidenote on the topic of the rainbow symbol...has anyone noticed then when you search terms like 'gay' and 'homosexual' in google a subtle rainbow motif appears? I find this a little strange.

Jun. 23 2009 11:29 AM
Priya from Brooklyn

Did Lesbians visit the Stonewall? What was the female version of the Stonewall at that time, and did it also undergo similar problems with the police?

Jun. 23 2009 11:28 AM
hunter carson from soho


I think you have been had.

Pine does not speak of police payoff that went bad that was the incident that initiated the events of the evening.

And please does Mr Garvin really expect New Yorkers to beleive that if "fags" had "beat up cops" set fires and threw stones (where they got stones and bricks is not answered) when we know historically how the police react when challenged, he is nuts. How does he know what happened outside when he says he was inside???

Far too much fantasy has been reported as truth .. and I expect more of The Brian Leher show.

Jun. 23 2009 11:27 AM
Matthew from Astoria


Is there any truth to the longtime meme that Judy Garland's funeral (which was on the afternoon before the uprising) helped lead to the Stonewall uprising? For instance, any truth to the idea that the reason The Stonewall's patrons rebelled against the raid that night (as opposed to the raids on any number of other nights) because they were upset about Judy's death?

Jun. 23 2009 11:24 AM
Robert from NYC

Who's idea was it to change the flag? If it initiated with some heterosexual at WNYC I think you should mind your own business. Why is that Studio 360 geek involved in this!!

Jun. 23 2009 11:23 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

The LGBT community deserves better then the Democratic party’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” What do your guests think about the Democratic party (the religious left) running year after year from gay rights? Does the LGBT community have a plan for dealing with the religious left? Has the LGBT community embraced Vice President Cheney’s brave stance supporting gay marriage?

Jun. 23 2009 11:19 AM
Lance from UES

Although it's true that the Stonewall Riot was a major turning point in the international gay movement, it wasn't the beginning of the gay rights movement even in the US. The Mattachine Society, for instance, had been organized nearly 20 years earlier.

Jun. 23 2009 11:19 AM
the truth from bkny

Alternative Lifestyle sounds about right to me as per VOTERs definition above "lifestyles that are out of the American norm"..yeah that sounds correct.

Jun. 23 2009 11:18 AM
Steve Laifer from NJ

Hi folks, just a technical note regarding the video:
your aspect ratio is incorrect resulting in stretched video. You are probably shooting at 4:3 and encoding at 16:9 or your display aspect ratio in the web coding is incorrect.

Jun. 23 2009 11:14 AM
bk from nyc

could someone explain to me how the word "gay," which use to apply to homosexual men & women, now is used in reference to men, only, & women are called "lesbian." when did the term "gay" stop including homosexual women?

Jun. 23 2009 11:14 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I find it rather repugnant the host keeps referring to the movement as one that originally “supported alternative lifestyles…” Yes, female impersonators were at the forefront of the movement in the ‘60s; however, New York City was also a place where at one point and time it was illegal to serve homosexuals alcohol and homosexuals in gathering places were routinely rounded up and jailed without breaking any laws. It was harassment, plain and simple.
There is a marked difference between true “alternative lifestyles” (lifestyles that are outside the American norm) that are chosen and sexuality. Swingers, non Protestant religions, cohabitation between non-married heterosexual couples, Goths, Emo, Hipsters, et al. Call them whatever you want, but they are all chosen lifestyles. Sexuality is not. Does the host also consider the fight for racial equality and equal rights for women fights for “alternative lifestyles”?

Jun. 23 2009 11:12 AM
jake from upper west side

Excited to both be able to see and hear the STONEWALL coverage today,

But where is Jim Fouratt?

I have read both the Martin Duberman and the Carter books on Stonewall.

I also attended the NYPL lecture by David Carter.

Jim Fouratt, profiled in the Duberman book, confronted Carter on a number of issues. Fouratt objected to the word riot and hearing his reasoning was persuasive to me. He also asked why Carter has excluded the beginning of the night police shake down that started at 10:30 which actually sparked the rebellion.

He asked Carter why he was excluded from his book.

Carter refused to answer his questions.

I have followed Fouratt's activities both inside the gay community and in his very public life.

I ma impressed by his political work: Founding Board member of hte Lesbian and Gay Services Center. He was active in AIDS work
from the very beginning as founder of HEAL in 1982 and was a co-founder of Act Up among otehr activities,

His legendary nightclub history is well know.

I visited his facebook and myspace pages and quite frankly amazed how this out gay man has been so involved in the cultural and political life of NYC\

Anyway, of all the voices on Stonewall I have found his to be both the most authentic and provocative.

I remember him saying the Stonewall Inn is a symbol of oppression not liberation and the if I remember it correctly tit when the butch lesbian threw her body against a police car it was that moment that the gay liberation movement was born.

So why isn't Jim fouratt on your show today?


Please respond to my query

Jun. 23 2009 11:08 AM
Marsha from NYC

Please don't refer to LGBT as alternative lifestyle. Lifestyle implies choice like being a vegan or living off the electrical grid. I am gay, and proud and did not choose to be born this way any more than being tall or white.
Thanks for doing this show

Jun. 23 2009 11:08 AM
Zach from UWS

It's interesting to hear Obama and various other politicians commemorating Stonewall as an important event in civil rights. I wonder if they would be so joyful if a similar act of civil disobedience by the LGBT community happened under their watch. I guess hindsight is 20/20.

Jun. 23 2009 11:07 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Maybe the new gay pride flag could have a picture of Vice President Cheney on it since Vice President Cheney openly supports gay marriage. President Obama should not be featured on the new gay pride flag because President Obama opposes gay marriage because for religious reasons. Vice President Biden also opposes gay marriage so he should not appear on the new gay pride flag either.

Jun. 23 2009 08:08 AM

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