The Stonewall Riots, Drag Queens, and Judy Garland

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Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story


About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

The purpose of homosexuality

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"

"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?

Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles

The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?

The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash

Book Reviews

Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois

Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

Revolution through Consciousness Change

From my understanding of the event (based on my working with Toby Marotta on the book The Politics of Homosexuality which included an elaborate account of Stonewall), what "empowered" the patrons at the Stonewall Inn was a general hippie/countercultural rejection of societal power structures (arising from the anti-war movement) AND, importantly, from a sense of numbers.


I think -- and I don't claim to be right, only to have an opinion -- what happened is that earlier that the day, Judy Garland casketFriday, June 27th, 1969, a great many men from the Village flocked to Judy Garland's funeral at a upper Eastside funeral parlor at Madison Ave and 81st. What impressed them -- and in the early hours of the next day, mobilized them to resist the police raid on the Stonewall Inn -- wasn't Garland's divahood (after all, it had been her downfall), but rather the number of other gay men they saw at the event. These were Garland's fans. There were crowds of homosexuals recognizing each other on the street in front of the funeral parlor.


Garland's funeral turned out to be a sort of proto-gayGarland funeral crowd pride event. And it demonstrated there was power in numbers -- that was something "in the air" in those days as one anti-war mobilization after another demonstrated how many people were "anti-establishment."


Stonewall InnThe Stonewall Inn was a sort of hippie bar. The "street queens" weren't politicos and they weren't "drag queens" in the sense of female impersonators or drag performers. (The bar was not particularly welcoming to true drag queens/female impersonators and, in fact, had a quota on the number the bouncer allowed in.) They were hippies in so-called "gender fuck drag." And they were likely high on pot or tripping on acid.

 Stonewall Inn Crowd

The Stonewall Inn, in fact, had been under attack by the fledging gay politicos of the time. About a year and a half earlier, Craig Rodwell (previous President of the Mattachine Society New York and founder of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop) had written an article for a MSNY newsletter called The Hymnal tracing a rash of Hepatitis A infections to the bar. It was believed by the proto-actvists with the Mattachine that the bar didn't wash glasses between uses. This lack of concern for the patrons' well-being was attributed to the bar's Mafia ownership.


the riotAs time has passed, the mythology of Stonewall has come to valorize drag queens as the champions of political and cultural revolution. That's probably missing the point that it was the anti-Establishment tenor of the times, hippie nonchalance and joie de vivre, gay men's sense of being outsiders, and, very importantly, the drugs -- and then the sense of numbers and power observed at Garland's funeral -- that gave the crowd around the Stonewall Inn the impulse to resist the police that night. And inadvertently to initiate the transformation of how gay people see themselves that is the gay rights movement!


This was liberation through consciousness change. And that is our queer contribution to the effort of human consciousness to understand how to transform itself and save the future.

Read about URSA and the Hustler Study

Read about The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

Veteran Gay Activist extraordinaire Jim Fouratt presented a statement about Stonewall and the street demonstrations that followed the original night of resistance to police at a June 23, 2015 meeting of the Landmarks Preservation Committee.

Here's the text:

Jim Fouratt

by Jim Fouratt

I am glad to hear that finally there is a discussion of landmarking locations in Greenwich Village that were a part of the beginning of the struggle for equality and equal treatment under the law of all same sex loving people. History was changed that Saturday night in June beginning at 10:30 PM in front of 51-53 Christopher St, when a police officer took a manish looking woman out of the Stonewall Inn and placed her in his police vehicle and went back inside. A small crowd had gathered. She managed to free herself to cheers and in that moment the modern Lesbian and Gay movement was born.

We who were actually there that first night and the three that followed know what really happened and why. I was present all four nights.

Stonewall was not a riot. It was a spontaneous rebellion against oppression ignited on Christopher St, in front of a Mafia bar. The Stonewall Inn to me is a symbol of oppression and exploitation by organized crime with the complicity of the New York City Police Department. Every bar in 1969 in the Village that served homosexuals or lesbians operated under this same relationship.

The Stonewall Rebellion ignited the repressed desire for freedom and visibility that is buried deep in every lesbian and gay man. A desire to integrate our erotic desire with physical expression and the integration of our full humanity and personhood in an expression of love.

I welcome the land marking of the building at of 51-53 Christopher St. and the street in front of it. What changed history was not what happened inside the bar but what happened outside on the street. No need to landmark a private business once a gay bar then a bagel shop, now again a bar, and who knows what private business in the future. It 's not the building that historically important, it's the location not the business.

Much of what happened that night has been distorted to read like a 60's political watershed. It was and it was not. It was gay, it was queer and that is a significant difference in how people behaved. Police and hospital records do not support calling it riot. It was a spontaneous rebellion that night and over the next three night which was quietly directed by a small group of gay men who, unlike most of lesbian and gay participants, had been involved in the anti-Vietnam war and draft movement and were experienced at street politics.

Please teach history not as myth but as reality. Landmark the street location where history was made not a bar that served and exploited us.
Jim Fouratt 2015
Jim Fouratt
227 Waverly Place
Greenwich Village NYC Ny MusicAwards

Stonewall Rebellion participant all four nights
Founding member of the first post-Stonewall political group The Gay Liberation Front
CoFounder Wipe Out Aids /Heal 1982
Founding Board Member of the New York City Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center
Founding Member ACT-UP
C-Founder Lesbian and Gay Male Circle

Here's a link about Jim Fouratt --

Jim Fouratt is second from right in this photo

About the movie Stonewall (2015)

Michael Bedwell has written a good article about controversies surrounding the 2015 movie directed by Robert Emmerich--though not a review of the movie, since he had not yet seen it.

His description of the crowd accords with what I learned from Toby Marotta (as I assisted him editing his magnus opus and brilliant political analysis of themes in the homosexual rights movement, The Politics of Homosexuality) and with what I have learned from Jim Fouratt. The instigator of the Stonewall Rebellion was a butch lesbian.

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2015 13:24:02 -0400

Subject: Re: Stonewall, the movie!

While I've yet to see the movie as it's not yet playing close enough to me, I expect I will still feel the same way after having seen it. That is, that the central problem is not the film but the psychopaths who have stampeded so many into hating it for reasons that have NOTHING to do with the actual facts of Stonewall but what they WANT people to believe. Thus, I doubt the objectivity of most reviews, and think they decided to dislike it unseen, and looked for reasons to justify that when they saw it. The "review" in "Vanity Fair" was a clusterfuck of such histrionic, misinformed dishonesty. For now, this is my take:

THE RIOT OF LIES OUTSIDE THE [MOVIE] STONEWALL. When deciding whether to see Roland Emmerich's new film, and how to evaluate it if you do, remember what Walt Whitman wrote: "the historian, if not a liar himself, is largely at the mercy of liars." So, too, filmmakers as the calls for Emmerich's crucifixion along the Hollywood Walk of Shame for creating what some would have us believe is the celluloid equivalent of AIDS keep mounting.

The rioters in 2015 claim that the movie "whitewashes" and "transwashes" what actually happened; that portraying a white (eeew) "cisgender" male from Indiana at the center of the protagonists in 1969 is an insult because all the actual protagonists were people of color and/or trans. But after hundreds of interviews, David Carter, whose 2004 book gay historian Eric Marcus describes as the most "definitive and comprehensive," concluded that, emphasis mine:

"My research for this history demonstrates that if we wish to name the group most responsible for the success of the riots, it is the young, homeless homosexuals, and, contrary to the usual characterizations of those on the rebellion’s front lines, MOST WERE CAUCASIAN; few were Latino; ALMOST NONE WERE TRANSVESTITES OR TRANSSEXUALS; most were effeminate; and A FAIR NUMBER CAME FROM MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES. It is remarkable—and no doubt inevitable given human psychology—that in the popular imagination THE NUMBER OF TRANSVESTITES AT THE RIOTS IS ALWAYS EXAGGERATED."

Stonewall veteran and "Philadelphia Gay News" publisher Mark Segal wrote: “If you want to know the facts rather than fiction, read David Carter's book." To be fair, Segal later panned the film after seeing it but primarily for reasons which centered upon his belief that it did not adequately portray GLF which is entirely different from the issues I address here, and from what Carter's book is about. Segal's references to Sylvia Rivera in his review are curious for reasons explained below.

Carter also concludes from his research that, IF there was one person most responsible for triggering the riot, it was either a sometime-hustler white male with a hot temper called Jackie Hormona or a never identified white "stone butch" lesbian who was being abused by the police.
CARTER: >>>There is no doubt that, furious for whatever reason, she put up a fight. [*One witness said], "She was giving them their money's worth," and remembers that there were three or four policemen on her. She fought them all the way from the Stonewall Inn's entrance to the back door of a waiting police car. Once inside the car, she slid back out and battled the police all the way to the Stonewall Inn's entrance.

An unknown woman who recorded the scene in a letter emphasized the lesbian's fury: "Everything went along fairly peacefully until . . . a dyke . . . lost her mind in the streets of the West Village—kicking, cursing, screaming, and fighting." But after she reached the Stonewall the police pulled her back to the police car and again placed her inside it. She got out again and tried to walk away. This time an officer picked her up and heaved her inside. [*He] estimates that the struggle between the police and the lesbian lasted between five and ten minutes. According to yet another account, at around this time a woman—possibly this same lesbian—urged the gay men watching her struggle to help her: "Why don't you guys do something!"

As the heroic fight by the lesbian who had twice escaped the car neared its end, the crowd erupted. The anonymous author of the letter wrote that the woman's fighting "set the whole crowd wild—berserk!" Both the [**"Village Voice"] reporters are agreed that it was the lesbian's struggle with the police that ignited the riot. [**]Truscott wrote: "lt was at that moment that the scene became explosive." [**]Smith's account pinpoints the policeman bodily throwing her inside the car on the third and final attempt to put her in the vehicle as the moment "the turning point came."<<<

As for Hormona, on the cover of Carter's book is the most famous of very few photos taken that night (attached). It appeared in the “New York Daily News” night owl edition, June 29, 1969, page 30, along with an article headlined: "3 Cops Hurt As Bar Raid Riles Crowd." The caption under the picture read: "Crowd attempts to impede police arrests outside the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Street," and the blond "cisgender" boy on the left among others doing that was Hormona. Whether intentional or not, the expression on the face of Emmerich's lead character in a film still is almost identical to Hormona's real life expression in the photo that night.

Emmerich is unequivocally guilty of two things. First, deep throating as so many have Puerto Rican "trans" icon Sylvia Rivera's Big Lie that she was there. Her own best friend, black transvestite Marsha P. Johnson (who everyone agrees was there, and Carter describes, "in the vanguard"), told people that Rivera was actually over 30 blocks away, passed out on heroin in Bryant Park. But Emmerich put a representation of Rivera in the film though the character is allegedly supposed to be a composite of Rivera and another Puerto Rican who was definitely there, Ray Castro. Problem: Castro wasn't trans by any definition, and had short hair. Yet the 2015 rioters have screeched the loudest that Rivera, the "Mother of Stonewall," isn't prominently enough featured in the film—someone who wasn't there AT ALL.

Second, apparently bowing to pressure from the crazies, Emmerich altered the composition of an iconic real life photo, which he said had inspired him, for his variation for the film's poster. The original is of members of New York's Gay Liberation Front, the first new group of any size to grow out of the riot(s). Emmerich’s version shows seven figures, two of them African-American, and possibly one woman, it's hard to tell.

As shown in the attached illustration, in the real photo there’s not a SINGLE black person in the some 20 people, some half of which are apparent lesbians. This is NOT to say that there were no African-Americans and Latinos involved in GLF. However in the context of the film, while I've yet to see it, it appears from this vantage point that if any group is washed out it's LESBIANS. I've learned that that long confrontation between the butch lesbian and the cops is dramatized in the film, although I don't know yet how much or how accurately. That no one appears to be talking about it is just further evidence of how everything but The Party Line is being drowned out.

I'll find that out when I see it, which I intend to even as I expect it not to be particularly good as "cinema." There are "good films" that are terrible history, such as last year's "The Imitation Game"; so terrible in that way, so misrepresentative of what Alan Turing was actually like in his final years—defiantly, proudly gay—that it canceled out the filmmakers' good intentions. I can't make that judgement yet in this case, so for now I still wish to reward Emmerich's good intentions.

And, most of all, I want to spit in the eye of those ruthless lunatics who have stampeded so many into accepting a priori their REWRITE of history, and demanding a pledge of allegiance to the trans flag—at least THEIR version of it for, of course, those transgender are no more of one mind than any other group.

I absolutely support transgender equality. But, sadly, the few with the loudest dishonest voices are controlling the discussion, correction, dogma now. Years ago some even began to insist on calling gay rights pioneer and longtime female impersonator Josť Sarria "trans" even though HE totally rejected that label. Apparently they control the patent on self-determination. I wouldn't be surprised if the next thing we're told is that Harry Hay and Harvey Milk were actually female-to-male trans people of color.

Michael Bedwell

Jackie Hormona

Stonewall - Jackie Hormona.jpg

Stonewall film

Jackie Hormona vs Stonewall film lead.jpg

stonewall posters

Stonewall poster vs original image.jpg

rainbow line

Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

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