The documentary film, Stonewall Uprising, is currently showing in many places around the country. I think many elders, especially those of us with vivid memories of the 60s and early 70s, might very much enjoy it.
Why? Because filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner have framed the story of the gay riot in 1969 in Greenwich Village during which sexual outcasts fought police repression in a way that catches the spirit of those exciting times.
The Stonewall eruption was about the crazy-making dissonance between a youth culture that was exploding with exuberant sexual liberation (and some commitment to peace and racial justice) and the still repressed condition of gay, lesbian and transgendered people.
In enclaves around the country, young heterosexuals were breaking all the old rules, living together other without marriage, taking advantage of readily available contraception, scandalizing their parents. Not surprisingly, homosexual people of the same age wanted the same freedoms. The moment was ripe for rebellion and the fags, drag queens, trannies and other riffraff at the Stonewall Inn acted it out in a two day riot.
All of this is not the message we emphasize through our contemporary, and necessary, gay civil rights movement. These days, we usually seek respectability, not exuberant freedom. And we should be able to join the military and get married if we wish. But first we had to just BE in all our raunchy excitement! The film, Stonewall Uprising, tells that tale.
Full disclosure: Kate and David - straight folks, by the way - are (comparatively young) friends of mine. We've been hearing about the making of the film for a couple of years.
This movie carries me back into my young self. I wasn't in New York then, but I was living that cultural explosion. I wouldn't want to live in that time again; but it sure is fun to visit.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, D. Sugar: Sell the Condo! The Grandchildren are Coming!