You know things are pretty bad when one of the founders of the modern LGBTQXYZ rights movement is saying that the Stonewall riots didn’t make much difference.
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a noted trans elder, queer rights pioneer and O.G. Stonewall rioter, along with other transwomen Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, has been through the ringer and back — and she has HAD it.
“If Stonewall would have made a difference, things would be better today,” she recently told Huffington Post in a revealing interview about her experiences as a trans woman.
The resilient Miss Major, who has not only been incarcerated but has also directly encountered discrimination at the hands of straight people, cis-people, and even queer people, singled out gay people as perpetrators of the same kind of bigotry that is holding us all back.
“I think the pressing thing today is for the gay community to accept transgender people for who they are and stop trying to approve or disapprove of us, or criticize and ridicule us, and treat us like they have been treated for years simply because they can,” she said.
While it may be unfair to imply that all queer people across the country are being treated well (think: the thousands in red states without the resources to move somewhere more accepting), Major does have a point in saying that queer people need to be more compassionate. With some behavioral tweaks in the queer community, there might even be fewer horrific accounts about trans people being mistreated in prison — such as Major’s own personal accounts.
“Some of these prisons are so far off the grid that they can kill you, take you out to a field, bury your ass, and no one even knows that you’re there,” she said.
But the interview still ended up on a hopeful tone, with Major’s ultimately compassionate view of a better future:
“I would want a society and a place to live and be comfortable whereby you didn’t have to look over your shoulder, where you could walk down a dark street and not worry that the boogeyman does exist, real or imagined,” she said. “I would want the acceptance that people, especially in this country do to their forefathers and shit, I would want all that stuff to be true and inclusive of everybody, not the chosen few. That things were spread equally so that all of us could survive, not you’re going to survive just because you’re white and 25, but everybody. Someone 5-foot-1, short, fat, a mess, confused, but happy with their existence. Why can’t somebody just tell them, ‘That’s wonderful. Come over here and let me help you. Do what you want to do, not what I think you should do.’ And I don’t know if that would be a queer future, but it would be a nice one.”