Tag: lgbt history

Whitewashing and Cisplaining…the movie

I began my transition in 1992.  Part of what came with that was the meed for a hair stylist.  I found mine at the Pink House in Conway, Arkansas.  It was owned by John Schenck and Robert Lloyd,  Their story is here at Freedom to Marry.

 photo Marsha_P_Johnson-650x500_zpsbnwbrgag.jpgJohn used to tell me stories from the old days.  He was well positioned to do so since he worked as a bar back (i.e. bartending assistant) at the Stonewall back in the day.  He told me about the night of June 28, 1969, when the police raided (not such a common occurrence at the Stonewall since there were payoffs) and especially began to hassle a Puerto Rican drag queen John only knew as José.

On that night there was a private party going on at the Stonewall.  Regular patron Marsha P. (Pay it No Mind) Johnson was turning 25.  Guests included other drag queens and some “girls who were serious” (in John’s terminology; he means “transgender women”)  Some of the transwomen also did drag in order to make a buck…like Ms. Johnson.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2012

It was the autumn of 1998, late November.  The previous month Matthew Shepard was found, barely alive and in a coma, having been tortured and tied to a fence near Laramie, Wyoming.  The person who found the body thought at first it was a scarecrow.

Hester had just returned from entertainment engagements in Europe.  She was a statuesque (over 6 feet tall and around 225 pounds) drag performer.  She is said to have had an overwhelming stage presence.  She was also reported to be very kind and well-liked by everyone in the community.

She was always nice to everyone.  She was very, very, very liked by the whole community, so what happened to her was like a real shock.

–Charito Suarez

Around 6:15pm on November 28 Rita Hester’s neighbors heard loud banging coming from inside her Allston, MA apartment.  One neighbor later reported that someone inside had yelled for help.  Police were called and arrived around 6:30pm.  They found Rita’s lifeless body in the apartment.  It had multiple stab wounds.