LGBT community need to stop stonewalling Stonewall

There are bigger things to care about than a two-and-a-half minute movie trailer


Last week, queer people and “right-on” types rallied together to condemn the trailer for Stonewall, a new film about the beginning of the gay rights movement, as the worst thing to happen to LGBT rights since Hitler.

The film depicts the story of The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York which in 1969 was the scene of a riot. Anyone after more detail can check out Wikipedia. To be massively over-simplistic: it’s the queer Selma, without Oprah.

The inciting moment of this riot came when somebody threw a brick, and this act has become hugely symbolic for many LGBT people. So, you can imagine their outrage when the trailer shows the brick being thrown by a white cis man.

Not how it actually happened

To understand why this is so controversial, you need to realise the queer community spends its time too busy either having sex or worrying about which one of us is the most marginalised for us to have anything to make a movie about except what happened in the past. As a result, everyone was quite excited for this film. Now though, they want to boycott it, claiming the film is engaging in “trans erasure”, the removal of trans people from history and cinema.

Based on the trailer though, there seems to be a quite prominent gender-fluid character in the film. I say “seems’ because, like everyone else on the internet, I haven’t seen the movie. Queers have concluded the film will be awful because that’s what we’re used to. Whitewashing (removing persons of colour) and trans erasure are what our community expects, so we assume this film will be more of the same.

This is wrong though, and it’s time the LGBT community and our so-called allies grow up. We either want a film made or we don’t. It will be a piss poor film anyway, but let’s wait until it’s out before we start to tear down the bloody movie frame by frame.

The filmmakers have denied the claims and have defended the movie, as you’d expect, but that hasn’t stopped 20,000 people signing a petition to boycott the film. Thousands of people have bothered to channel their outrage into Google Chrome’s autofill but where were these people when real issues needed confronting? Let’s take a very simple case: the gay blood ban. Do you know about it? Probably not, because there aren’t many Facebook statuses or BBC Newsbeat articles about it.

If this movie trailer is really getting people angry, they should get off their arse and do something. Issues like whitewashing and trans erasure are scary and need addressing, so use your Liberal Arts degree from Oxbridge to make movies which tackle these problems rather than slinking off to KPMG. Or maybe pick a cause which actually makes a difference to people’s lives, like the blood ban? Sitting around bickering over nonsense and movie trailers won’t get us anywhere.