Feature writing

Stonewall 50

Rightor Doyle: Young People Should Have a Relationship to LGBT History, to Those Who Suffered, Died and Fought

Website:
The Daily Beast

Date:
June 28, 2019

Doyle says: ‘I think we have come a considerable way, off the backs and shoulders of those Stonewall demonstrators who didn’t get due credit at the time. Hopefully they are now.’

How and when did you first hear about the Stonewall Riots, and what did you make of them?

Probably when I moved to New York City, and I created a larger gay community around me. My gay history was severely lacking. I learned about it from friends and eventually read about it.

A huge part of my education came from theater scene people. They had lived through it all. I went to the Stonewall bar all the time. Outside it is very iconic and inside it’s a bar where people were dancing and then getting drunk enough not to know they were in a bar.

How far have LGBT people come in 50 years?

I think we have come a considerable way, off the backs and shoulders of those Stonewall demonstrators who didn’t get due credit at the time. Hopefully they are now.

What significance do the riots hold for you now?

LGBT history is so important, and especially for a community of people who attach themselves to such a strong identity by speaking its name out loud. I hope that, moving forward, younger people who didn’t grow up in those times inform themselves about it.

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

(Laughs drily) Kill all the straight people, I guess. I would love to have more LGBT people in office, like Mayor Pete. I don’t think I have any real set of goals for the community at large, apart from strangely having some identification with its past and sort of knowing where we’ve come from in order to get to where we are, and will be in the future.

Maybe I am making some assumptions here, but younger gay folk don’t understand or see how far we have come so quickly. I hope young people find a way to have a relationship to our history, to just how many people suffered, died, and fought for this brand new gayness.