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tv   Corona Spezial  Deutsche Welle  June 25, 2021 3:30am-4:01am CEST

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drinks weren't watered down as much as some other places. and the people were generally a young, very vicious crowd. there was kind of like a little vestibule that you'd walk through where you'd be scrutinized by a bouncer. and then beyond the bar there was it the dance area and had a, a ra, concrete floor that often had water on the floor. like when it rain, what it would pour into the bar. it was really pretty dank. it was a awful place. i mean, i had no sentimentality towards the place. the good thing about it was that you could dance there. why did that more explode that night? a lot of it had to do with who was going there. the street kids, people of color, gender queers, were accustomed to being harassed by the police, and accustomed to fighting back in the streets. these people were not going to take it. they had little to lose. a lot of them were not able to hide because of who
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they were. and they fought back very briefly. the i was the executive editor of the village voice, which is a weekly newspaper. similar in some ways to liberal feel covering the left and in politics and culture in new york city. and our office was right above the stone wall bar. so we all ran to the windows as soon as we, we heard this fuss and we knew that it was some kind of demonstration. what is it all right? now it's not intimate with every detail about what took place and i was stonewall is contesting. we don't really know what's pretty clear is that the police showed
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up sometime after 1 o'clock, the standard rate. and it was, they checked people's ideas. some people didn't have ideas. they did really brutal of sex checks on some of the trans people there. see what sex they were really work and people were pushed out of the bar and instead of dispersing they gathered, i was coming home like just before 1 o'clock in the morning. and suddenly there was a sort of a, something happening of the stonewall which i went to every now and then you could dance there, they would turn on the lights, you do the cups were coming. so you had to stop dancing and that sort of thing. but they, they allowed it and i was there and shared and square and solely that was all this activity and, and shelving and whatever. and there was one particular lesbian,
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they took this lesbian and put her in a cop car. and she crawls out the other side, they, they, they, they got her back and she crawled back out. and at that point, a lot of the drag queen started joining in and before you knew it, people were throwing lighter fluid on the front of the stone wall. one of the 1st things they did was start throwing coins at the cops and then some wall itself. and that symbolized the payoff that these bars normally had made of makes with the cops and they were challenging them. and the police felt managed by the 1st time they were afraid of us. instead of our being afraid of them, there were hundreds of people gathering in the square because of all the excitement . so i ran up and down the street with a number of my friends and we were calling to people, come out of their houses, come out, this is happening. this is a gay event. you've got to be here. the cops inside were panic called for
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reinforcements which arrived and once said, they're just on all out. st battle took shape the news with me. i went to sharon's where and by that time the cops had put up what they call riot lights. there was a huge intensity of lighting and you could see the broken glass, the cars with the windows smashed. and there were, oh,
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hundreds of people on the street. i mean just hundreds of people on the street. so it had this very theatrical element to it was what i would have a match. and the sense of these, the, the french revolution to be like there was smoke in the air. the, there were there were, there were drag queens with fishnet stockings that were that were that were torn at blood running down their legs. there were people trying to foreign chance. we didn't really have the words, but there was a sensation that nothing would ever be the same. again, we had finally stood up to the repression that we had suffered for years and years . this is not on the usual grid that you see in new york city. this was in the old village before the grid been introduced. so all these winding street small blocks and the street kids there and the patience of the stone wall
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knew them much better than the tactical police have been brought in. so when they would come after us, we would run around and go behind them, come up behind them and do the same thing, make fun of them to kick steps, and they turn around, then we go around the other way. so that was fun. what stonewall did with it gave permission to a lot of people to discover themselves. anger and frustration and pain had just been locked up so much inside us by society. and it exploded with stonewall. i know i felt like i could let go for the 1st the i returned pretty much every day, almost a week, and people in the square, lots and lots of people kept coming. i joined
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a group of people when we all joined hands. and we sang songs silly songs picked up our feet and pushed the cops back. everyone's favorite story is of the 50 queens who line up, put their hands on each other's shoulders and start kicking their heels. charging towards the please singing we are the village girls, we were heron girls. what kind of riot has that happened with the press really didn't know what to do with all the civil his papers did print stories about it, but they were pretty dismissive and had headlines like queen bees are stinging mad and the new york times referred to the stone wall, as a homosexual haunt
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a haunt being a place where disreputable people would, would go. so the new york times, which is very pro gay today, was a big problem in those days because of their refusal to give people the dignity that they merited. ah, in the news, what made stonewall this thing and unique was what happened? not there, but what happened after that? this actually was a moment that became a movement. what do we do next? and the gay liberation front sprung up. you know, it seems like almost nanoseconds after stonewall borrowing from black liberation
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from women's liberation, all the other liberation movements. now there was a gay group that called themselves gay liberation front. and in addition to the word liberation, the word front signifies the left were very leftist, most of us were socialist. a few of us were called doctrinaire communist, or even maoist. there was a certain degree of libertarianism in it. maybe it could be a libertarian socialist. it was about liberation. it was about emancipation. it was about freedom of about intersectionality. stonewall was in fact a candle in the night g l f became a menorah. raise your hand giving you something you want to bring up. one of the things that interestingly attracted me to the gala gratian front was
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how dysfunctional it was in some ways i liked it because my family was like so it said, oh, these are my people. here's my family. i was used to this and we sat around and we talked about what we wanted. one woman, i remember said she wanted one day to get married. and everyone last because we thought it was the most ridiculous thing we ever heard in their lives because it couldn't, you couldn't kiss. she couldn't hold hands. you couldn't go anywhere with a partner and be open and we thought this, but this woman someplace safe, you know, and this was the thing that g, l, f was so good about was the realization that a huge amount of politics takes place within the imagination. you have to be able to imagine liberation before you can have it. ah,
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we split up into working cells very similar to the communist party. the united states split up into cells. there was the red butterfly, which was a marxist cell. there was come out which put out the newspaper. so they had a newspaper and i saw the newspaper and i was just so impressed with that jesus, this is a gay newspaper that it says come out of liberation form of the gay community. i mean liberation, gay community i, you know, those ideas really are. they resonated with me. so i, i joined the, come out, sell almost immediately. i was in the come out sell. i was part of the aquarius
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cell, which was responsible for social activities. because part of the politics of g, l, f was also a politics in reaction to who owned our spaces, the mafia, the city, the police. so we saw having social spaces on a par with having political spaces. the dances were wonderful. there in this very, very large room with a couple of smaller rooms off to the side. and once you walked in you were not in a bar atmosphere, not in the defense of you know, cold bar atmosphere and people talk to you and came up to you. and i was just, ah, the.
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busy we made decisions as a group strictly through consensus. we did not do regular voting, that we did not have a majority of that one and a minority that last and this was sunday we're very proud of that. we were as a group, part of an alienated minority. we did not want to have alienated minorities within g l, f. and so if we had an issue every moment to get to speak to the issue, the meetings kind of gave new depth of meaning to the term anarchy. it was a leaderless group, but we always had a man and a woman sort of standing in the front. i'm not sure what they were doing. maybe they're waiting to dance. i don't know, but the conversations were wide ranging. how are we going to support the black
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panthers? how are we going to have discussions with the puerto rican liberation group? how are we going to interface with the women's movement in the sixty's? there was so much activism, so much rebellion, so many sources of inspiration for gay people. he's got themselves to be oppressed . and the model came from the general culture, the counterculture, the black rebellion and feminism, those 3 forces, the, the hippies, the black, panthers and women's movement in the 1960 s created a model in which these people found the home. the
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a lot of people, as we started forming our political organizations and realized we have to make an effect on the straight community. a lot of people said, well then we can't have drag queens because that'll be a negative image. that i had to repeat over and over again as i did in print, many times we need to respect our fellows. these people thought these people, one our freedom for us. we wouldn't be out in the street if they hadn't done what they did. i didn't. i can, i've been down and i
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never did, and you gave me what do you want? and we had the door ex revolution. they really liked the idea that they were drag queens and the drag itself was an offense to the mainstream. drag was an offense to regular america. so they were just a brief moment and these 1st months after some, all the gay liberation front or all these groups are working together, battling and out, but still doing important creative political work. but the tensions were very high for them because the level little ation was so high. everyone who was politicizing everyday life in such an intense way that it was very hard for men and women to work together. weiss and people of color to work together as
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a result of that by december 1969. the gay activists alliance had drawn away from us and they had story the separate organization. they would tar isn't the result and chaos. they came from all of these different people. and they wanted to be one node organization. they wanted to fight only for game ration. the news. i was one of the earliest for mothers of the radical lesbian group. the group that also emerged out of g l. s. but it's sort of a break away in some ways analogous to the gay activists alliance. but i think also with the sense of intersectionality that we carried from
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the we remember, stone will not because of the bar bar rates before stone will raise after we remember stone will because of the commemoration, because we said we will march on the other 3 and we will not let people forget this, and that's why people remember the stone wall. it doesn't hurts the name was something like stone wall. it would be terrible. so we marched every year for something called the pink pussy cat in that wouldn't be so much fun. the 1st march, i think, was really organized to symbolize the birth of this new wave of gay organizing after stonewall. it was to say something new has happened and stone war
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began at the it was this wonderful kind of festival we put on about gay liberation. the the march committee had prepared these wonderful little flyers saying this is a march to commemorate one year after stonewall. we are serious group. please do not waste your energy. heckling us do no good. i did join the 1st day march with this plan. and in 1970, i marched up the avenue to central park at every precinct along the way. the police came out on their horses and made a barrier across the street. so we just linked arms and pushed forward and just
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kept going. then they would part and again at the next precinct and again at the next precinct. very interesting. i was excited full of anticipation and thinking back now though i never would have admitted to myself at that moment. i was terrified. we had no idea what would happen, but we hit the streets and all whose fears absolutely disappeared. it was in fact, one of the most life affirming moments i ever had the really didn't matter whether people were there to support us or not. significant thing was we were there and as we marched from the village toward central park,
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it grew and grew in it required and true courage for people of the 1st marks actually proclaimed they were gay and proud. and yeah, you had 6 or 7000 people do it that 1st year in new york and a few 1000 more in 2 or 3 other cities. it was just oh, i would say if you guys were breathtaking in with kind of breathtaking there i was with, you know, all my brothers and sisters and we're out in the open and i was with kind of my own g l. s. family. the
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there was this sense of something happening, but it never happened before. you think that you are happier now that you realize exactly where your feelings lot. indeed, i'm just sorry that it took so long. i'm sorry that i spent so many years in the closet. people can do august carrying on and holding hands and kids in the park. why can't we do it? right. they know that and i am not talking about kissing and holding hands in the park. i mean like liberalism, i'm talking about some, some guy dropping his hand. all right. i mean, they're asking people in the park, man. all right, but that doesn't mean we have to do it that way we should have the right to do it. if they can do it, we should be able to do if we want we got up to the yards in the park and everybody was celebrating, everybody's having
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a good time. it really was a party up in central park after that march. and this felt very much like we had liberated a space in the heart of the city to hit. these may have done at 1st, but we did it there really outlaws and it was a wonderful feeling was of liberatory feeling. and i think the big turning point stonewall was looking out at that crown and say wow, we have power we don't have to be afraid anymore. and turned out we did have to be afraid some more. cyclic way going forward. yeah, i read at the stonewall we, we experienced a short window of sexual liberation like we we had never experience before. and then suddenly we were dying.
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one of the cycles that i saw was a crisis because when that came along, we were blamed for it. who, scapegoat, and for it, i think in many cases it was an excuse to bring back the homophobia. oh, you see, this is who these people really are. it's dangerous to be gay. it's also had a profound impact on the game movement because it led to a new wave of militancy where it truly was a matter of life and death. and the radical movements, especially act up included many people, but their core members were people who knew they were going to die. if they didn't get drugs into their bodies, if they didn't change the medical system, if they didn't change the way the government and the community tray to get people. yeah. all of that got remedy pretty
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much in the ninety's. and at the turn of the century, i think people started accepting us morgan as i say, i was really jazz up during the atlanta and ministration because we were even able to marry, we were able to serve and they on forces. everything seemed to be turning up roses . we went from 10000 people in june of 1970, to 6000000 people in new york alone. 50 years later, i mean what razor marker of our success in organizing the more it was. and there are so gratian in many countries around the world, the soon credible strange that i would not have believed would happen in my life.
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the the but is 70 countries around the world. homosexuality is illegal, still. gay men and lesbians have being stones. we cannot think that the way of life in some western countries in europe and the united states, canada, that this is the way that it is in the world. the, i think we need to be more vigilant than ever. all the progress we've made is very fragile. it can be taken away. that can be taken away in a heartbeat. i also think that it's different now because we will
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fight the the news. you have to fight for basted, right? once you've got that, you can't just pull it back as much as they might want to roll time back. they're not going to be able to with a huge me
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ah news . finally, he can take the trip again. ah, my normal 8 or 9 days is doing his 99 pilgrimage on the way of saint james during the corona virus pandemic with close to thousands of pillars. ah, now my normal has rediscovered why do the?
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