The Stonewall riots are recognized as a major turning point in LGBTQ activism, with people across the LGBTQ spectrum fighting for their survival against the brute force of the NYPD. In the 46 years since that moment, however, the mainstream gay rights movement has been accused of moving towards a white, middle-class normativity while the struggles of queer people of color go largely unrecognized.
Many of those issues are reflected in the criticism towards “Stonewall,” the upcoming Roland Emmerich-directed film whose trailer (which you can see below) premiered on Tuesday. The film depicts the fictional story of a young gay man (played by English actor Jeremy Irvine) who is caught up in the Stonewall riots. But despite the periodic appearance of characters of color in the trailer, the lead cast is made up primarily of white, cisgendered actors. Integral trans activists of color including Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are notably absent in the trailer and any film publicity as well. As Bustle cites with the following tweets, many are unhappy about the erasure of women, people of color, and transgender activists from this historical moment:
of course the Stonewall movie is white washed centered around white gays who contributed next to nothing to organize the riots.— Richéy Collazo (@RicheyCollazo) August 4, 2015
@CecilBaldwinIII stonewall riots were begun by trans women of color. i won’t be surprised if they film focuses solely around white gay men.— george lenze (@argylegargoyles) August 4, 2015
Check out the trailer for “Stonewall,” which arrives in theaters on September 25, below.