Fred Sargeant participated in each of the nights of the 1969 Stonewall riots and was one of the four co-founders of the first Gay Pride march in New York City in 1970.
Someone tagged me into a post recently about a Pink News article regarding Mark Segal's visit to the UK. I don't link to Pink News pieces because Pink News.
Apparently, Mark's making the rounds in the UK of anyone who'll pay attention to him and giving them whatever they want to hear, even if it's shaded or flat-out fiction. I have this image of Mark, in his old age, accosting any stranger on the street to tell his story. It's not uncommon today to find people who have spent a lifetime self-promoting their involvement at the Stonewall riots and their aftermath to anyone who'll listen. Oddly, his insights never made the cut for the histories about Stonewall and the movement by Carter, Cervini, Duberman, Katz, Marcus or Marotta. It was disappointing to read the untrue statements from someone who professes to be a journalist.
Outrageously, Segal starts his myth fest off by saying that the Stonewall "was the only place that was safe" for gay men in New York. Quite the opposite was true. The Stonewall was the center of a blackmail operation focused on men with "families and jobs" whose scheme was being investigated then by NYPD and the FBI.
In his fractured retelling of the riots, Segal tellingly credits solely the "lowest" of taking on the police. According to Segal, people with "families and jobs" fled the scene; the gay liberation movement was the creation of The Gay Liberation Front, this despite the fact that the people he mentions as being central to the creation of GLF were members of the Mattachine Action Committee at the time of the riots. According to him, GLF was made up of two groups, "faeries and lesbian separatists." Utter nonsense. For every faerie or lesbian separatist that he doesn't name, I can name a student homophile* activist, an adult street youth counselor, or longtime homophile radical who all accomplished more during that period than GLF ever did during its barely yearlong existence. Within six months of Stonewall and GLF's emergence, most left to work with more productive, enduring organizations like Gay Activists Alliance, in large part because of GLF's male-centric focus. Segal's assertion that transgender figures played a substantive role was even then disputed by longtime activist, Craig Rodwell who said that there were "maybe a dozen drag queens" present among the hundreds of predominately gay male youth. Craig was one of the harshest critics of the Stonewall's abuse of the gay community.
Historian David Carter tells us near the end of his seminal history of the riots that "if we wish to name the group most responsible for the riots, it is the young, homeless homosexuals, and, contrary to the usual characterizations of those on the rebellion's front lines, most were Caucasian; few were Latino; almost none were transvestites or transsexuals; most were effeminate; and a fair number came from middle-class families." I would add that we were not led by drug-addled criminals.
Rest at the link - discusses a transgender youth stopped but let go by policeman.