Feature writing

Stonewall 50

Nico Tortorella: ‘The Stonewall Riots Are a Huge Bookmark in Our Queer History. We Stood Up and Claimed Space’

Website:
The Daily Beast

Date:
June 18, 2019

The actor tells Tim Teeman: ‘By no means are we at a tipping point. 2018 was the deadliest year for trans women in this country to date. There is so much more work to be done.’

When/how did you first hear about the Stonewall Riots, and what did you make of them?

I was made aware of the Stonewall Riots when I met my very first fairy god-gay. He made sure I was well versed in queer history and theory as to know the legacy I was stepping into to.

Growing up in a privileged, sheltered bubble, I was taught to not see all the injustice of the world. I couldn’t believe it was only 50 years ago that our politics were this oppressive, and it was only in recognizing our past that I was able to see how much more work needs to be done.

More than anything, I realized that this rebellion, this uprising, was led predominantly by the most marginalized of our community, trans and gender non-conforming people of color.

What is the riots’ significance for you?

The Stonewall Riots are a huge bookmark in our queer history. We stood up and claimed space, claimed LGBTQ rights, claimed human rights.

How far have we LGBT people come since 1969?

We are at the precipice of big changes towards love and inclusivity in major ways, we have come a long way. But by no means are we at a tipping point. 2018 was the deadliest year for trans women in this country to date. There is so much more work to be done. I can’t stress this enough: There is so much more work to be done.

What would you like to see, LGBT-wise, in the next 50 years?

Beyond tolerance, beyond acceptance, beyond understanding, beyond freedom. I want liberation for every human on this planet. I want us to actually focus on how we feel rather than who we are. I want us to be able to recognize the singularity, the divine frequency of love that unites us all.