Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village

When poor weather caused a layover in Newark, I made the best of it by taking a train to Greenwhich Village.  There I came upon Stonewall Inn, the famed site of the start of the 1969 Stonewall Riots.  The Stonewall Riots are associated mostly with the Gay Activism of the 60's that paralleled the Civil Rights movements of the day. What I found interesting about Stonewall when I first read of this confrontation between the New York City Police and the patrons of Stonewall Inn was that in fact the altercation was between 'men in frocks' , "drag queens', "transvestites', "cross dressers' and police. This spectacle of the armed  "men in blue" losing the fight to the "boys in pink tootoos" must have been something to behold.

At the time as today all women are 'cross dressing' and 'tranvestic' in America whereas men in 'skirts' even 'kilt wearing' Scots are still subject to discrimination and abuse. Jesus with his long hair and robes would no doubt face discrimination by the New York Police Department then for 'appearances'. as he previously ran afowl of the police of his day for "substance" , insisting that the true God was 'loving' not "punishing".

The police discrimination and abuse of the 60's was not about 'sexual orientation' but rather about 'conformity', especially to dress code.  The vast majority of 'cross dressing' men are indeed heterosexual.  The book "Pink Swastika" records the Nazi acceptance in the SS of homosexual men and pedophiles but condemnation and persecution of the effeminate gay males.  The book "Transgender Warriors" records the history of cross dressing in social activism as portrayed best by the "Molly Maquires" of agrarian reform group who commonly disquised themselves as women.

At Stonewall Inn a Dolly Parton look alike was doing a splendid job of entertaining.  The audience was mixed and joined in on the chorus lines.  As bars go it was rather upscale and conservative, not at all like the mafia owned speakeasy of an earlier era.  I'd just been to Disney World in Orlando where I'd bought a Harley Davidson t shirt and now bought a Stonewall Inn tshirt in keeping with being a tourist.  I'd spoken in Orlando with another aging psychiatrist, one who I'd met first as 'he' before 'she' became 'she' with a sex change.  Our conversations invariably seem most about RV's and favourite trailer courts, as this is our latest shared interest.  I have no idea about her sex life any more than she has any idea about mine.  We are friends.  The fact is I don't know much about my friends sex lives and don't particularly care to.  I think it's a terribly perverse and sick society that had such an inordinate amount of interest in whatever went on between consenting adults in the 'bedrooms of the nations' , to borrow a phrase from former Canadian PM Troudeau. 

I am thankful today that there is no more tacky street wrestling between the 'men in blue' and the 'boys in pink tootoos' no matter how titillating this might have been for some on both sides.  That must have been a truly obscene spectacle.  Having that night in Times Square met, Brandon Stanton, the photographer for "Humans of New York" I realize today's 'spectacles' are a whole different kind than the days of frock wearing Benny Hill and Monty Python.  Cross dressing Scottish comedian Eddie Izzard is truly mainstream. One imagines that with the Mars probe "Curiosity" doing its thing, it's a good thing judges, once very fond of their pretty wigs,  can today admit a world in which male fashion might one day catch up to the Olympic  front running cross dressing females in a beyond "uni sex" celebration of the diversity of appearance.  Developmentally, adolescence is the time of greatest 'conformity'.  The 'global' world today has more matters of 'substance' to address.

Today I was very impressed by  the New York Police Department's presence in the streets of New York.    I, for one, am thankful for them making New York safe for tourists like me.  Times Square was amazing with the hoards of people and the sense of a perpetual party in the city 'that never sleeps'.   The New York Police Department Command Centre there was a welcome sight today. 

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