Mike Signorile pointed us to the story of Storme DeLarverie:
If you don’t know who Storme DeLarverie is, you should read this article in The New York Times about the Stonewall veteran, now 89 and suffering from dementia. Her life and story are something we must not forget as we celebrate Gay Pride and LGBT history this month across the country, over 40 years since Stonewall:
Ms. DeLarverie fought the police in 1969 at the historic riot at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village that kicked off the gay rights movement. The first gay pride parade in 1970 was not a parade at all but a protest marking the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
Some writers believe Ms. DeLarverie may have been the cross-dressing lesbian whose clubbing by the police was the catalyst for the riots (the woman has never been identified). While others are adamant that Ms. DeLarverie was not that woman, no one disputes that she was there, and no one doubts that the woman who had been fighting back all her life fought back in the summer of 1969.
The NY Times article is titled, “A Stonewall Veteran, 89, misses the Parade.” And, it includes this paragraph:
“The young gays and lesbians today have never heard of her,” Ms. Cannistraci said, “and most of our activists are young. They’re in their 20s and early 30s. The community that’s familiar with her is dwindling.”
Storme is LGBT history. We tend to know the names of the people who blocked our rights, but not the names of the pioneers who fought for our rights.
Surely there is more we can do to honor Storme DeLarverie, starting with knowing that she refused to be treated as a second class citizen, stood up to authority and paved the way for all of us.