9. The New Republic: Finding Stonewall
I have a lot of hesitations around Pride—mostly because of how it has been commodified into a white capitalist holiday. (I also don’t generally like parades, or going to parties or clubs, which are often associated with Pride.) And as much as people like to reference Marsha P. Johnson, an activist and prominent figure of the Stonewall riots, the remembrance and celebration can still feel gatekept from its founders and “dominated by white gay men, selling an idea of desire—a young muscular white man, smiling and dancing without a care in the world.”
Alexander Chee wades through the sentiments expressed above and the complexities of queerness: “There is no license to be queer, as my friends and I used to say, no exam to pass. That is both a weakness and a strength of this identity, and it has always been this way.”
Apart from Chee’s personal narrative and its historical contextualization, I love this article so much is because it is, in fact, a review of two books: The Stonewall Reader, edited by Jason Baumann, which “aims to correct a narrative that has so often excluded LGBTQ people of color,” and James Polchin’s Indecent Advances that looks at “the treatment of gay men in true crime and crime fiction [and] reexamines the violence that people at the Stonewall Inn had faced every day, and the rage crackling up underneath.”
If you want to know more, you know where to start.