BOOKS, INTERVIEWS, AND ARTICLES
Stonewall - Martin Duberman
The Gay Militants: How Gay Liberation Began in America, 1969-1971 - Donn Teal
“Sylvia Rivera: A Woman Before Her Time” - Liz Highleyman (from Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation)
“Marsha P. Johnson: New York City Legand” - Tommi Avicolli Mecca (from Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation)
“Queens in Exile, The Forgotten Ones” - Sylvia Rivera (from GenderQueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary)
“Rapping With a Street Transvestite Revolutionary: An Interview with Marcia Johnson” (from Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation)
‘I’m glad I was in the Stonewall riot’: Leslie Feinberg interviews Sylvia Rivera
Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries - Leslie Feinberg
“A Woman for Her Time” - Riki Wilchins (from The Village Voice)
Sylvia Rivera: 1951-2002 - Michael Bronski (from Z Magazine)
Sylvia Rivera soundportraits interview (from New York Times Magazine)
Sylvia Rivera soundportraits update from July 4, 2001
“Sylvia and Sylvia’s Children: a Battle for a Queer Public” - Benjamin Shepard (from That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation)
Sylvia Rivera’s talk at LGMNY, June 2001
“Sylvia Rivera: Fighting in Her Heels: Stonewall, Civil Rights, and Liberation” - Layli Phillips and Shomari Olugbala (from The Human Tradition in the Civil Rights Movement)
“History or Myth? Writing Stonewall” - Benjamin Shepard
Transgender Warriors: making history from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman - Leslie Feinberg
“Sylvia Rivera: She was more than Stonewall” - jerimarie liesegang
“Amanda Milan and the rebirth of the Street Trans Action Revolutionaries” - Benjamin Shepard (in From Act Up to the WTO)
“Transvestites: your half sisters and half brothers of the Revolution” - Sylvia Rivera (from Come Out! Magazine 1971)
“Sylvia Goes to College: ‘Gay Is Proud’ at NYU” - Arthur Bell (from the Village Voice, October 15, 1970)
“Street Transvestites for Gay Power” (October 1971)
Sylvia Rivera speaking at the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade after being mocked and repressed by lesbian feminists and gay men
Changing House (a short documentary on Transy House)
Marsha P. Johnson photo collection (by Randy Wicker)
Sylvia Rivera photo collection (by Randy Wicker)
It’s taboo to admit that you’re lonely. You can make jokes about it, of course. You can tell people that you spend most of your time with Netflix or that you haven’t left the house today and you might not even go outside tomorrow. Ha ha, funny. But rarely do you ever tell people about the true depths of your loneliness, about how you feel more and more alienated from your friends each passing day and you’re not sure how to fix it. It seems like everyone is just better at living than you are.
A part of you knew this was going to happen. Growing up, you just had this feeling that you wouldn’t transition well to adult life, that you’d fall right through the cracks. And look at you now. La di da, it’s happening.
Your mother, your father, your grandparents: they all look at you like you’re some prized jewel and they tell you over and over again just how lucky you are to be young and have your whole life ahead of you. “Getting old ain’t for sissies,” your father tells you wearily.
You wish they’d stop saying these things to you because all it does is fill you with guilt and panic. All it does is remind you of how much you’re not taking advantage of your youth.
You want to kiss all kinds of different people, you want to wake up in a stranger’s bed maybe once or twice just to see if it feels good to feel nothing, you want to have a group of friends that feels like a tribe, a bonafide family. You want to go from one place to the next constantly and have your weekends feel like one long epic day. You want to dance to stupid music in your stupid room and have a nice job that doesn’t get in the way of living your life too much. You want to be less scared, less anxious, and more willing. Because if you’re closed off now, you can only imagine what you’ll be like later.
Every day you vow to change some aspect of your life and every day you fail. At this point, you’re starting to question your own power as a human being. As of right now, your fears have you beat. They’re the ones that are holding your twenties hostage.
Stop thinking that everyone is having more sex than you, that everyone has more friends than you, that everyone out is having more fun than you. Not because it’s not true (it might be!) but because that kind of thinking leaves you frozen. You’ve already spent enough time feeling like you’re stuck, like you’re watching your life fall through you like a fast dissolve and you’re unable to hold on to anything.
I don’t know if you ever get better. I don’t know if a person can just wake up one day and decide to be an active participant in their life. I’d like to think so. I’d like to think that people get better each and every day but that’s not really true. People get worse and it’s their stories that end up getting forgotten because we can’t stand an unhappy ending. The sick have to get better. Our normalcy depends upon it.
You have to value yourself. You have to want great things for your life. This sort of shit doesn’t happen overnight but it can and will happen if you want it.
Do you want it bad enough? Does the fear of being filled with regret in your thirties trump your fear of living today?
We shall see.
Loneliness is the human condition.
I know this because our bodies are never prepared
I reach over to you and static sparks between us
like a match, a quick pang that leaves a resonance
in the finger tips.
We still jump when people tap us on the shoulder.
Still shudder when lover’s comb their fingers through our hair
and recoil from violent hands that threaten to impact us.
We can never plan how certain touches
How fresh shells of snake skin feel under foot.
How beautiful it must be to understand Braille
as a native language, small bumps translating to a
mountain under finger tips.
I never planned for this, to decipher myself into isolation.
It is difficult to conjure the nerve to touch your face
when there were so many nights
with only my heart beat for company.
Claude Monet » Water Lilies