I like to think of saints in terms of the lessons they can offer us in our lives today, and in this there is another lesson we can take from the Stonewall martyrs: the importance of standing up against injustice. For them, it was the harassment of the police they were standing up to and resisting, against all expectations. For us, it is the harassment and unequal treatment meted out by the institutional church.
This is how Kitt introduces her post:
LGBT people fought back against police harassment 41 years ago today (June 28) at New York City’s Stonewall Inn, launching the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender liberation movement.
The Stonewall Rebellion (aka Stonewall Riots) became known as the first time that LGBT people rebelled against government persecution of homosexuality. It is commemorated around the world during June as LGBT Pride Month.
The queer people who fought back at Stonewall are not saints in the usual sense. But they are honored here as “saints of Stonewall” because they had the guts to battle an unjust system. They do not represent religious faith — they stand for faith in ourselves as LGBT people. They performed the miracle of transforming self-hatred into pride. These “saints” began a process in which self-hating individuals were galvanized into a cohesive community. Their saintly courage inspired a justice movement that is still growing stronger after four decades.
Before Stonewall, police regularly raided gay bars, where customers submitted willingly to arrest. The Stonewall Inn catered to the poorest and most marginalized queer people: drag queens, transgenders, hustlers and homeless youth.
She concludes with a prayer for all saints:
I think of the saints of Stonewall as I pray this standard prayer for all saints:
God, May we who aspire to have part in their joy
be filled with the Spirit that blessed their lives. Amen.
(Read the full post at “GLBT saints: The Saints of Stonewall“)
- The Story of Our Queer Saints & Martyrs (and others) (queering-the-church.blogspot.com)
- Sergius & Bacchus, 7th October: Patron Saints of Same Sex Lovers? (queering-the-church.com)
- Stonewall 2010: The Gays Rally Outside Famed Gay Bar Protesting Bathroom Gay Bashing (queerty.com)
- Ray Castro, key player in Stonewall Riots and gay rights pioneer, dead at 68 (nydailynews.com)