Stonewall Inn and the Riots
Three Centuries of Police Raids
Other Trans Person in New York 1969-72
Recurring Untruths: Masha P Johnson's Birthday
Where was Sylvia the night of 27/28 June 1969?
New York in the 1960s
East New Jersey in the 1960s
1969 – a Year of Much Activity
In the 14 months following Stonewall there were two other major gay riots in response to police raids: in January 1970 at the Snake Pit, and in August 1970 at the Haven. I have not found any notice of trans participation at either of these. And yet, and yet, there are still writers who wish to diminish the trans participation at Stonewall. We claim only one out of three, and there are those who re-write of history to take away even that !!
The wave of radicalism initiated by Stonewall was pretty much spent after the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day, and the retirement of Sylvia Rivera from activism, and shortly afterwards the death of Candy Darling. I have include 1974 below to show the beginnings of the next phase: Rachel Humphreys, The New York Dolls at the changed 82 Club, Ajita Wilson, the Gilded Grape nightclub. Jean Hoff was introduced to Harry Benjamin.
The four years leading to Stonewall
The five years following Stonewall
The trans geography of New York 1966-74
Transvestites and Transsexuals (TAT) was formed by Judy Bowen but lasted only a couple of months. Bowen was quoted as saying that she found the transvestites “too politically radical”.
- Jackie Curtis’ play Femme Fatale, with Patti Smith, Jayne County and Penny Arcade.
- Jackie Curtis’ play Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit with Holly Woodlawn.
- Arthur Bell & Sylvia Rivera. “Chris: Gay Prisoner in Bellevue”. Gay Flames, Nov 14, 1970: 1,2,7.
- Paul Morrissey (dir). Trash, with Joe Dallesandro & Holly Woodlawn. US 110 mins 1970.
- Win Chamberlain (dir). Brand X with Taylor Mead & Candy Darling. US 87 mins 1970.
Harry Benjamin “in 1970 -71 asked me to talk to a Dr. Ethel Person as part of a study and I agreed although I am inherently distrustful of shrinks but I found her pleasant and quite nice and we became friendly. When the study was published I was stunned to be honest. ... We talked about our lives as children until the current time and at the time I was 24 and had close to enough money for surgery. In point of fact Harry might have been more upset by the study than anyone. I am posting this to refute what they found because as one of the participants in the study I walked into her office and asked her where I fit in late 1974 and she said Secondary because I liked boys so I was a homosexual transsexual where by Harry's definition I was a Type VI high intensity transsexual and according to Harry the study was bogus.”
STAR “is mainly into whoring and radical politics. Their philosophy is to destroy the system that’s fucking us over. They’re a sub-culture unaccepted within the subculture of transvestism and looked down at in horror by many of the women and men in the homosexual liberation movement. Sylvia and Marsha and Bambi and Andorra with their third world looks and their larger-than-life presences and their cut-the-crap tongues do not ‘fit’ at a GAA meeting. ‘We don’t relate to each other,’ says Sylvia. Marsha says, ‘Why should I go to their dances? No one asks me to dance. I freak them out.’ S.T.A.R. didn’t do too well with the Gay Liberation Front toward the end, either. The S.T.A.R.s relate very well to themselves, and to a certain segment of the ‘live and let live’ street people. But by and large, they’re the great unwanteds.”Perhaps he said too much about how the inhabitants hustle. Its publication was followed by a flurry or arrests on 42nd St.
++Wanda could wear ordinary male clothes and still come on as womanhood personified. She was a queen who didn’t need drag. She fell or was pushed out of the fifteenth floor of a hotel in Brooklyn. Since she had no identification, she lay unclaimed in the morgue for several days before friends had been able to trace her down.
" 'Bebe' Scarpi, a transvestite in male attire, gave testimony on the minority group, he pointed out that transvestites used the men's room because they 'd been warned they would be subject to arrest if they entered the ladies room. And even transvestites had to heed the call of nature. Bebe, a student at Queens College, gave what amounted to a short course on the lifestyle and problems of transvestites with such charm, ready wit and intelligence, that even the Councilmen appeared beguiled. … Chairman Sharison seemed unable to comprehend that some transvestites were heterosexual. He wanted to know whether Bebe believed transvestites would be protected by Intro 475. 'Only as a homosexual, not as a transvestite', Bebe explained, and perhaps the councilman would care to enact legislation protecting the transvestite."
Judy Bowen had surgery from Drs George T Whittle and John Clarke at the Jersey Shore Medical Center in 1971. There were complications and then litigation that continued for many years. The Jersey Medical Center discontinued transsexual surgery in response.
- Avery Willard. Female Impersonation. Regiment Publications, 1971. Online.
- Lyn Raskin. Diary of a Transsexual. Olympia Press, 1971.
- Alan J Pkula (dir). Klute with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, and with Candy Darling in a small role. US 114 mins 1971. A prostitute murder mystery.
- Mervyn Nelson (dir). Some of My Best Friends Are ..., with Candy Darling. US 110 mins 1971. A group of sad people in a mafia-run gay bar, on Christmas Eve.
- Mario Monicelli (dir). La Mortadella starring Sophia Loren with Candy Darling in a small part. Italy 97 mins 1971.
- Dusan Makavjev (dir), WR: Mysteries of the Organism with Jackie Curtis. Yugoslavia 84 mins 1971.
- Jackie Curtis’ play Vain Victory: Vicissitudes of the Damned.
- Jackie Curtis’ play: Heaven Grand in Vain Victory: The Vicissitudes of the Damned, with Candy Darling.
- Candy Darling was in Tennessee William's play Small Craft Warnings after impressing Tennessee at his birthday party.
- Bob Roberts (dir). The Love Thrill Murders/Sweet Savior, with Tobi Marsh as a hair-dresser in drag who is killed. US 92 mins 1971.
- Paul Morrisey (dir). Women in Revolt, with Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn. US 97 mins 1971. Sometimes referred to as Blonde on a Bum Trip, in reference to Candy’s character.
- Doris Wishman (dir) Adam or Eve. With Leo Wollman. Cinematography by Susan Malick. This was later recut as Born a Man … Let Me Die a Woman, 1978.
Jimmy Camicia founded the Hot Peaches acting troupe in 1972, with drag as a major component. Marsha P Johnson was an early recruit.
- Werner Schroeter (dir). Der Tod der Maria Malibran with Magdalena Montezuma and Candy Darling. West Germany 104 mins 1972.
- Theodore Gershuny (dir). Silent Night, Bloody Night/Night of the Dark Full Moon with Candy Darling, Jack Smith, Ondine, Mary Woronov. US 81 mins 1972.
- Robert J Kaplan (dir). Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers. With Holly Woodlawn. US 82 mins 1972.
- Lou Reed’s song “Walk on the Wild Side”: “Holly came from miami f.l.a./ Hitch-hiked her way across the u.s.a. … Candy came from out on the island/ In the backroom she was everybodys darling … Jackie is just speeding away/ Thought she was james dean for a day …. She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side/I said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side/ And the coloured girls say”.
|Lee in tiara, Sylvia in jumpsuit|
“They’ve been beaten up and raped. And they have had to spend much of their money in jail to get their self home and to try to get their sex change. The women have tried to fight for their sex changes or to become women of the Women’s Liberation and they write S.T.A.R., not the women’s group. They do not write women. They do not write men. They write S.T.A.R. because we’re trying to do something for them.”
"We support the right of every person to dress in the way that she or he wishes. But we are opposed to the exploitation of women by men for entertainment or profit."
"You go to bars because of what drag queens did for you, and these bitches tell us to quit being ourselves!”
Chris Moore was diagnosed with cancer. She was able to fight it for over five years. Lee Brewster put on a special ball for Chris so that she could perform and be the star, and Vicky West drew her for the cover of Drag magazine.
++ Lottie and Crystal LaBeija founded the House of Labeija with a ball at the Up the Down Stairs.
Wilhelmina Ross joined Hot Peaches. They were skeptical about the Warhol Factory scene and satirized it as The Magic Hype drag show, starring the celebrity-obsessed sell-out Randy Whorehall. In another play, Wilhelmina played drag queen superstar Belladella Bosom with the line: “I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, it’s my own game”.
- Patricia Morgan as told to Paul Hoffman. The Man-maid Doll. Lyle Stuart, 1973.
- Gilles Larrain. Idols. Links, 1973. A book of photographs of New Yorkers. Alexis Del Lago was on the cover.
- Michael Salem. How to Impersonate a Woman; A Handbook for the Male Transvestite.: M. Salem Enterprises, 1973.
- Carolyn Heilbrun. Towards a Recognition of Androgyny. Knopf, 1973. Heilbrun was a professor at New York’s Columbia University. The book is only a tepid proposal to avoid gender extremes. Camille Paglia, then a graduate student reviewed it: “Heilbrun’s book is so poorly researched that that it may disgrace the subject in the eyes of serious scholars”.
- Vaughn Bodé. Schizophrenia. Last Gasp Eco Funnies 1973. Bodé’s Last work. It included a confessional running below a collection of Cheech Wizard strips. He describes himself as “auto-sexual, heterosexual homosexual, mano-sexual, sado-sexual, trans-sexual, uni-sexual, omni-sexual..”.
- TV Series The Corner Bar. Episode “Mixed Doubles” featured Jackie Curtis.
- TV series An American Family, #1.2 featured Jackie Curtis.
"You can say that you know that you are a woman, therefore you want to be one. But no woman I have ever asked has been able to tell me what that means, and I doubt that transsexuals will be the first to define it."
“Most of the patients continue to be emotionally and socially much the same as they were in the pre-operative phase”.
“Drag queens, tranvestites came to my place. I had a market and I served them. The only people I didn’t let in were whores. I’ve been harassed by the SLA and the police. Once a cop told me they kept the pressure on me because the ‘establishment’ didn’t like drag queens. My lawyer has been fighting all the way. I wanted to stand by my customers. They’ve got a right to be that way.”The Gilded Grape announced a Miss Gilded Grape Contest. The most sensational contestant was Judy Bowen who spoke for ten minutes about her operations. However her operations seemed to count against her. Drag Magazine commented that rules against surgery should be spelt out clearly in advance. The winner was Eddie, a bartender at the Grape, in drag for the first time.
Ajita Wilson had started transition. After surgery she appeared in adult films, and went on to become a film star in Europe.
- Robert Bogdan (ed). On Being Different: The Autobiography of Jane Fry. John Wiley & Sons, 1974. Not really an autobiography, rather an edited condensation from 100 hours of interviews in Bogden’s office. Place and person names are replaced by pseudonyms. Fry is 27 and still pre-op at the end of the book.
- Roberto C. Granato. “Surgical approach to male transsexualism”. Urology. 1974 Jun; 3(6):792-6. PMID: 4836347
- Ethel Person & Lionel Ovessey. “The transsexual syndrome in males I: primary transsexualism”. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 28, 1974: 4-20.
- Ethel Person & Lionel Ovessey. “The transsexual syndrome in males II: secondary transsexualism”. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 28, 1974: 174-193.