From Stonewall Veterans to Millennial Beachgoers, These Queers Talk Pride, Legacy, and Lost History

“Faggots are always interesting to people.”

Joel Goodman/ZUMA

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It’s June! And for many of us, that can only mean one thing: Pride month.

June marks the official start of LGBTQ pride celebrations and commemorations in cities around the world. But this year is especially meaningful; 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the uprising-turned-riot named after Stonewall, the small New York City bar where the modern LGBTQ rights movement all began. From gay marriage to the House Equality Act, Stonewall holds steady as the foundation upon which LGBTQ rights protections continue to be built.

To celebrate, the NYC Mother Jones podcast team pranced around the city to talk to some of the people who played a major role in queer history, visit a landmark beach, and hear from the next generation of LGBTQ activists. Our first stop was Jacob Riis Beach, one of the most important queer spaces in New York City, where we talked about just that, queer spaces, with people who understand their importance.

Then, we headed into the heart of Manhattan and caught up with two Stonewall veterans who were there that night when things got wild. Meeting up with trans activist Miss Vicky and Martin Boyce, we get a rare and vivid picture of what happened when the police raided the bar, and how it sparked a movement. “Faggots are always interesting to people,” says Boyce.

Queer people and their stories existed long before Stonewall, and few films have told those stories better than Before Stonewall, which was first released in 1984 and is being re-released this month by First Run Features. Director Greta Schiller shared some of the fascinating back stories of the film that chronicles the rich history of queer existence with vibrant archive footage. Contextualizing the social and political life of queer people culminating in that explosion of frustration and liberation on that fateful night in 1969, Schiller dives into how the film holds up 25 years later.

Spoiler: it holds up really well!

Check all of this out and more on the newest episode of the Mother Jones Podcast—and happy Pride!

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This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

payment methods

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