Earlier this week, a call to boycott Roland Emmerich’s “Stonewall” gained considerable ground over social media. The call comes at the suggestion that the film whitewashes of queer history — taking a story that in large part belongs to black and brown transwomyn and making it about a pretty cisgender white boy. However, we were hesitant to support it since it also came without the petitioners having actually seen the film.
The petition’s mission statement:
WE ARE CALLING A BOYCOTT OF STONEWALL. Do not throw money at the capitalistic industry that fails to recognize true s/heros. Do not support a film that erases our history. Do not watch Stonewall.
Tell your own history! Use social media to recall what you know to be true of Stonewall. Film your own short films. Make videos, write poems, sing songs. CONTINUE TO TEACH TRUE HISTORY.
Why is this important?
History classes throughout our nation have built a reputation of instructing young generations that white, straight, cis folks are the saviors and founders of this land. Wrong. We were taught that light-skinned people are the goal; the goal to assimilate to. Wrong. We were also rarely taught about queer history, but when we were, it probably revolved around white cis gay men. Wrong.
This film is no different that the history classes that are serving a disservice to every potential viewer. From the previews alone, queer folks have gathered that the centralized character is a white cis gay man. (WHY?) From the previews alone, queer folks have gathered that not many people of color are even in the film. (WHY?) To make this short, we have also gathered that white folks are being credited in throwing the brick, starting the riots, starting the “gay liberation front” and also capturing the heart of a light-skinned transwomyn. (Of course we all fall in love with the white saviors. WRONG.)
Roland Emmerich and “Stonewall” screenwriter Jon Robin Baitz have responded to the boycott via Facebook.
“I understand that following the release of our trailer there have been initial concerns about how this character’s involvement is portrayed,” Emmerich said, “but when this film — which is truly a labor of love for me — finally comes to theaters, audiences will see that it deeply honors the real-life activists who were there — including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro — and all the brave people who sparked the civil rights movement which continues to this day. We are all the same in our struggle for acceptance.”
You can read both statements in full below, and let us know what you think of the situation in the comments.