On the Boycott of Stonewall Film

[Please see our update below.]

Quist, a LGBTQ history education organization, supports the youth-led boycott of the upcoming movie Stonewall. Please sign on here with others concerned about the whitewashing of our history that the trailer below shows.


However, we also recognize many people will want to see if the film is like the trailer or other reasons. If you are not going to boycott the movie, we call on you to make a matching donation for the amount of your movie ticket to an organization that honors transgender women of color like the Stonewall movie does not appear to do. We suggest donating locally or to one of the following:

Go beyond feeling upset (to put it lightly) that our foremothers have been erased in this Hollywood version of what happened those nights in June 1969. Make August 2015 and beyond a time when they are so supported they can no longer be ignored. Make a donation in the amount of $8.12 (the average movie ticket price in North American) to one of these or another trans-positive organization to offset the profit others will make off of this pinkwashing. Whether you offset your own ticket or a stranger’s, #DonateATicket. Surely we can all share $8.12.

Just as importantly – perhaps even more – to us at Quist is to educate yourself. Queer people need to teach each our history. We rarely learn it at school or from our families of origin. If you don’t know about the Stonewall Rebellion/Riots or its context, go read multiple sources about it. If we only learn from mainstream sources like this new movie, you’re barely scratching the surface of our incredible diversity of stories from all continents, all identities, all fields.

If you only know about Stonewall, go learn about the other centuries of our past. We used these online resources in creating our free mobile app about LGBT history and we hope you find all of the websites, apps, social media pages, etc. empowering.

Update to respond to those who are commenting online (including our Huffington Post piece on the same topic) that it is too early to call for a boycott without seeing the movie: Quist is a LGBTQ  youth-serving organization and LGBTQ youth called for this boycott. We saw a vein of unity around this call on social media and we support a youth-led movement and therefore support what youth call for. We also want to clarify that the boycott petition is not by GSA Network, but is instead hosted on a website they have for creating petitions.

We were worried about gay erasure in The Imitation Game based on pre-release interviews and trailer. After we saw it we thought the homosexuality of Alan Turing was handled beautifully and respectfully. The director and lead actor of Stonewall issued statements yesterday that say the movie does actually feature Marsha P. Johnson and a diverse cast. They say to see the movie instead of judging it on the trailer, as others in the LGBTQ community have also commented. We absolutely continue to take our lead from what our youth call for – which is still a boycott – and our addition to the conversation is about #DonateATicket. We call on anyone – seeing the movie or not, as we originally said – to donate the amount of a movie ticket to one of the organizations we suggested. We’ll also note that none of these organizations asked for us to fundraise for them. The point is to honor trans women of color of today, whether they are celebrated in the film or erased from it. We maintain that the trailer alone is offensive and harmful, regardless of what the movie in its entirety shows.

9 comments on “On the Boycott of Stonewall Film”

  1. Brent Wilson Reply

    This is disappointing and revisionist—there are many people alive who remember this time, and you do a disservice to them by “whitewashing” it

  2. Brandon Reply

    I haven’t seen it but I’m sure it’s bad. Really? We simply don’t know whether this film is “revisionist” or “whitewashed” or any of the other accusations leveled against it. All we know is what we’ve inferred from the trailer, and some of those conclusions seem a bit of a stretch to me.
    Judge the film, not the two minutes some marketing exec thought might be appealing to the widest audience.
    I’m sickened by the amount of online vitriol I’ve seen members of the LGBT+ community level against one another in the past day. How are we supposed to be a community if we can’t treat each other civilly? We’ve made assumptions, manufactured outrage, taken sides, and started lobbing epithets at each other without a full understanding of the film! WTF??? The screenwriter is gay. Based on his past work, I’m relatively certain he’s equipped to appropriately handle the issues in this film. Perhaps details have been changed. Perhaps they’ve tried to find ways to bring the story to the widest audience. Perhaps it’s been done in a way that’s not true to the spirit of the events. But we don’t know for sure, so this outrage is based on willful ignorance…and that makes no sense whatsoever! I can’t say for certain whether or not I’ll approve of the treatment, but I’m certainly not going to be a part of the uninformed reactionary online mob mentality. Moreover, successful or not, your “boycott” certainly isn’t going to encourage studios to invest in LGBT+ themed films. Have you considered the possibility that this sort knee-jerk reactionary behavior will alienate allies? Remember the 2012 Chik-fil-A boycott? We looked like spoiled children while their sales went through the roof. Once this movie is released, maybe we’ll have something to gripe about. But right now, the hysteria over this film is nothing more than a childish temper tantrum.

  3. Edward Reply

    Straight media and so called “straight allies” (white saviors?) have been vocal about damning the movie. I wonder why? The criticism it gets is based on conjecture. If you looked around a bit for the publicity photos, you would find that Marsha P. Johnson is a major character. Even so, I think that a story from the perspective of the street kids would make for a refreshing angle. Raising awareness about such issues was the primary reason why the movie was made. Marsha was a legend and many people were ble to speak on her behalf. But nobody has so far spoken for the kids, who often ended up getting killed and probably decimated by the AIDS crisis. They need a voice too.

  4. SanFran Reply

    I am sorry, but if you want to serve youth, you don’t do it by embracing ignorance. All of this noise and drama…is over a film that none of the commentators have seen.

    Secondly, I am disappointed that Sarah is putting herself out there as a spokeswoman. She is clearly, or apparently, or possible, or I will assume, white/female/cisgender/lesbian/NotYouth. She is not an appropriate spokesperson for the wider LGBT movement; but she is using her backpack of privilege to assign herself this role.

    • Sarah Prager Reply

      Hi, Sarah here. I just wanted to clarify that I in no way intended to attempt to be a spokesperson for the entire LGBT movement and would never claim that. If you’d like to discuss these issues further, my inbox is always open at info@quistapp.com.

  5. Brain Helstrom Reply

    Johnson is often credited with being the first to fight back after police raided the Greenwich Village bar. An online petition, signed so far by over 13,000 signatories, attacks the director and calls for the public to boycott the film.

  6. GayHistorian Reply

    Whitewashing is a serious charge, and completely irresponsible for you to make without seeing the film; the great divide in the community shows there is no ‘vein of unity’; finally of course you are engaging in lesbian erasure by ignoring their seminal role at the riot.

    this site seems more concerned with clickbait than facts, so lol using it to educate yourself.

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