While the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Gay Liberation movement at Stonewall in New York, we take a closer look at the ‘I’m Not Defeated’ video and the poignant moments of LGBTQ+ activism that it references – dating from long before Stonewall and continuing right through to 2019. Pride is an opportunity to learn and understand not only the history of activism but also to investigate the state of rights for human beings around the world right now. We hope these clips give you some food for thought before you head out to party this weekend.
All clips appear in Fiorious’ video for ‘I’m Not Defeated’, written and produced by Fiorious & Bawrut, directed and edited by Rudy Catarinelli:
This one’s not included in Fiorious’ video, but gives some background on what really happened on June 28th at the Stonewall Inn in 1969:
The Stonewall You Know Is a Myth. And That’s O.K. | NYT Celebrating Pride
How We Got Gay
This documentary tells the powerful story of the struggle for gay rights in the United States, from the 40’s, 50’s, and the first gay rights protests in 1965, when the men who took part were required to wear ties and jackets and the women to wear skirts “in order to represent homosexuals as respectable and employable”. This film goes inside the secret lives gay people were forced to live, at a time when homosexuality was illegal throughout Canada and America and police harassment was a fact of life. The documentary explores life for gay people whose sexuality was seen as a mental illness, and to be openly gay was to live in utter exile from society.
Activist Edith Windsor Fights New Battle For LGBTQ Rights | NBC Out
The late great Edith Windsor, who died aged 88 in 2017, sued the federal government to recognise her same-sex marriage in 2013. She was the lead plaintiff in a US supreme court case that struck down DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996), giving gay and lesbian couples access to federal benefits and paving the way for the legalisation of same-sex marriage. DOMA had prevented same-sex couples from claiming the same federal benefits as heterosexual spouses, and was considered discrimination in the eyes of the gay rights community.
From The Guardian’s obituary to Edith Windsor, 13th 2017: “Her path to becoming a hero of the gay rights movement stretches back to 1962, when Windsor was introduced to her first wife-to-be in a Greenwich Village restaurant. They met while dancing. Thea Spyer and Windsor became a lifelong couple, and in 1967, Spyer proposed. “It was a love affair that just kept on and on and on,” Windsor recalled to the Guardian US in 2013. “It really was. Something like three weeks before Thea died she said: ‘Jesus we’re still in love, aren’t we.’”
Billie Jean King: The Battle of the Sexes NHD Documentary Senior Division
As well as setting up the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s Sports Foundation and successfully campaigning for equal Grand Slam payouts for her fellow female players, Billie Jean King changed the world of tennis and sport forever. But it wasn’t really about tennis; Billie’s activism was the catalyst for social change, forcing the viewing public to question their views on traditional gender roles. She was also the first female professional tennis player to come out, when a lawsuit filed by her female lover forced her to publicly dismiss the relationship as a fling and a mistake, for fear of losing her career. On keeping quiet about her sexuality, she told the Sunday Times in 2007: “I wanted to tell the truth but my parents were homophobic and I was in the closet. As well as that, I had people tell me that if I talked about what I was going through, it would be the end of the women's tour. I couldn't get a closet deep enough.”
Young and Gay: Jamaica’s Gully Queens
Exploring the storm drains of Jamaica’s capital, where openly gay and transgender people live under constant threat of abuse and violence, this short film from 2014 is a stark reminder that in some parts of the world, the LGBTQ+ community are still fighting for survival daily. With officials seemingly in denial of the danger that trans and gay people are facing on their streets, and out-dated anti-gay laws still in effect, a small but fierce minority stand proud on Kingston’s streets.
Raw: LGBT Activists, Police scuffle in Istanbul
In 2016, Istanbul’s governor had banned gay, lesbian and transgender individuals from holding two annual parades, citing security concerns. Those that gathered despite the ban were met by 300 policemen in riot gear, firing tear gas and rubber bullets in efforts to disperse them. The governor’s ban related to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s wish to gain favour with the country’s far-right voters, a political pattern that despite a growing and increasingly visible worldwide LGBTQ+ community, is becoming increasingly more prevalent in other continents around the world.
Ramzan Kadyrov: brutal tyrant, Instagram star
A subordinate of Vladimir Putin, Ramzan Kadyrov has been the leader of Chechnya since 2007. Reports in 2017 alleged that despite his bizarrely upbeat profile on Instagram (which has since been blocked) he was responsible for the rounding up, torturing and killing of homosexual Chechen people. In this film a victim describes brutal beatings, but a spokesperson for Ramzan claimed to the Independent that couldn’t be the case because “There are no homosexuals in Chechnya. You cannot detain and persecute those who do not exist”.
My Wonderful West Berlin Trailer
Berlin’s reputation as a forward-thinking vibrant and subversive place where subcultures flourish originally emerged within the walls surrounding West Berlin. The LGBTQ+ community is largely to thank for that, with its diversity, self-expression and unconstrained party culture. However, gays in West Berlin suffered greatly under an incongruous provision in German law – 'Paragraph 175' – that made homosexual acts between men a crime up until 1969. Then AIDs spread, wreaking havoc on a whole generation of instigators and history-markers. This film explores the LGBTQ+ roots of this fascinating city.
View the full list of references videos HERE.