Black Trans Activists and the 1969 Stonewall Riots
Use this discussion guide to explore the legacy of Stonewall with students and inquire why black trans people have not benefited equally from a movement they started.
Soros Equality Fellow and creator of Translash Media Imara Jones speaks to PBS NewsHour
Black Trans Activists and Contemporary Perspectives on Stonewall
June is Pride Month—a month to celebrate and recognize the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community. This month comes on the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of protests started by a Black transgender woman named Marsha P. Johnson. These 1969 riots are largely credited with sparking the contemporary LGBTQ+ rights movement. However, in the 51 years since, not everyone has benefited equally. Black trans people such as Marsha P. Johnson “have not benefited from the movement that they started,” according to Soros Equality Fellow and creator of Translash Media Imara Jones.
Watch the video below and answer the discussion questions. To read the transcript, click here.
In the video, Imara Jones talks about recent beatings or killings of Black trans people, such as Iyanna Dior, Nina Pop and Tony McDade. To what degree have you heard these stories in the news? Why do you think that is? If you have heard these stories, what medium did you hear them through (Cable news, social media, radio, etc.)? What significance does this medium have
Have students read this article in The Conversation about the way the Stonewall Riots were covered in the media at the time. Then answer the questions below.
Today, the Stonewall Riots are celebrated as the catalyst to the LGBTQ+ rights movement. At the time, however, the events at Stonewall were largely viewed less favorably. After the riots in 1969, many major newspapers exclusively interviewed police and painted a picture of “an almost unprovoked riot.” Read this article about news coverage of Stonewall in 1969 and answer the discussion questions.