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Aug 19 2015
White-Out: Young Activists Treat Famous Stonewall Statues As Coloring Books Comments (0)

George Segal's 1992 work commemorating the Stonewall riots has been defaced; not by ISIL, though the comparison is there, but by two gender-nonconforming persons who wish to remain anonymous (BRAVE!) and who felt that because the statuary was white, it was whitewashing the history of Stonewall. This is, of course, tied into the fear that the upcoming Roland Emmerich movie Stonewall is exalting its white male lead at the expense of the people of color and trans people who have long been thought of as instrumental in the riots.

While I'm sympathetic to concerns about the movie (when I saw who tossed the brick, just based on my own perceptions as a white guy, I thought, “WTH?”), I have zero sympathy for this juvenile act of vandalism. These people, whoever they are, have so little respect for what came before them that in their minds, it is justifiable to deface a $90,000 work of art that may speak to other people if not to them. They should be arrested, and I find it indefensible that any sites would be cheering this on.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.09.58 AM

(One blogger wrote about it and identified the Stonewall Inn as “infamous”—no understanding of history or of English, let alone messaging!)

To be honest, I've never been particularly enamored of those statues, but if I strongly felt, as they have every right to feel, that the statues were outdated and did not accurately depict what happened at Stonewall, I would consider writing about it and lobbying for money to get them replaced. They've been up 23 years, maybe it's time for them to be retired to a museum.

But you know what it's not time for? It's not time to deface them. The idiots—one white, one Latin—also managed to make the results resemble blackface. That's progress!

Hopefully, the statues are not permanently damaged. If their stunt was superficial, that would make it far less offensive. As it stands, I can't imagine this will do one thing toward opening any minds, and that is a shame because I've been disgusted by some of the proudly anti-trans and racist crap in my feed whenever any issue of race/gender/Stonewall the movie is brought up. We're better than that, but we're also better than this.