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New Stonewall film clip focusses on black drag activist Marsha P Johnson

Nick Duffy September 9, 2015
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A newly-released clip released from the film based on the Stonewall riots seemingly responds to criticism – by focussing on drag activist Marsha P Johnson.

‘Stonewall’, the upcoming film based on the Stonewall riots, has come under fire amid claims of whitewashing and trans-erasure following the release of the first trailer for the film.

Thousands signed a petition against the film, claiming based solely on the first trailer that veterans of the riots like Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera have been ‘airbrushed’ out of the centre of the story in favour of a fictional gay man.

None of the critics had seen the film at the time the boycott was launched, and both director Roland Emmerich and star Jeremy Irvine insisted the final product was diverse and representative.

The latest clip seems to have been released to address the criticism – focussing on drag pioneer Marsha P Johnson, and a number of drag queens and trans people.

Marsha P Johnson, one of the queens often credited with sparking the riots at New York’s historic Stonewall Inn on  June 28, 1969, was an influential figure in both the gay liberation and drag movements.

Roland Emmerich said previously of the boycott: He said: “When I first learned about the Stonewall Riots through my work with the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, I was struck that the circumstances that lead to LGBT youth homelessness today are pretty much the same as they were 45 years ago.

“The courageous actions of everyone who fought against injustice in 1969 inspired me to tell a compelling, fictionalized drama of those days centering on homeless LGBT youth, specifically a young midwestern gay man who is kicked out of his home for his sexuality and comes to New York, befriending the people who are actively involved in the events leading up to the riots and the riots themselves.”

He continued: “I understand that following the release of our trailer there have been initial concerns about how this character’s involvement is portrayed, but when this film – which is truly a labour of love for me – finally comes to theaters, audiences will see that it deeply honours the real-life activists who were there — including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro — and all the brave people who sparked the civil rights movement which continues to this day.

“We are all the same in our struggle for acceptance.”

Related topics: drag, drag queen, Gay, LGBT, Marsha P Johnson, riots, Stonewall, stonewall riot, US

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