Feature writing

Stonewall 50

Thomas Roberts on Stonewall 50: ‘I Want LGBTQ Kids to Know It’s OK. It’s OK to Be Different, and OK to Be Gay’

Website:
The Daily Beast

Date:
June 23, 2019

The journalist tells Tim Teeman: ‘We need to show up wherever people are marginalized and oppressed. We need to show up when we aren’t personally the sole beneficiaries.’

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

I learned of the Stonewall Riots in 2006-2007. It was shortly after coming out publicly. I was utterly impressed at the bravery protesters showed. They put it all on the line for us.

What is their significance for you?

Without Stonewall where would we be today? It was the spark.

How far have we LGBT people come since 1969?

Since 1969 we’ve come out of the shadows of shame and intolerance. In 50 years the LGBTQ community is a force to be reckon with, but we still have battles ahead. And it’s not solely on LGBTQ rights. We need to show up wherever people are marginalized and oppressed. We need to show up when we aren’t personally the sole beneficiaries.

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

I’d love to see an LGBTQ President. And I believe in my lifetime we just might. But in the meantime I want LGBTQ kids to know it’s OK. It’s OK to be different. It’s OK to be gay. The world is a big and wonderful place… eventually we all find our peace. However, it doesn’t come without ups and downs. There will be high highs and low lows. Keep going. It will all be OK.