Since 1969, the word Stonewall has been synonymous with gay resistance to oppression. Yet remarkably, the full story of the Stonewall riots has never been told. Now historian Duberman profiles six early activists, whose lives intersected during the turbulent event that was to become the defining moment of the burgeoning liberation movement.
A police raid on the Stonewall, an unlicensed Greenwich Village gay bar, set off a series of riots in the summer of 1969 that mark the birth of the modern gay and lesbian political movement. Duberman (Paul Robeson ) re-examines this event through the vibrant, intertwined portraits of six people -- two lesbians, three gay men, one transvestite -- whose lives converged at the Stonewall Rebellion and in the militant movement it spawned. Politically, his six subjects run the gamut from ex-priest Jim Fouratt -- a leftist and Yippie cohort of Abbie Hoffman -- to Foster Gunnison, who devoted his energies to moderate gay causes and later became a conservative. Yvonne Flowers, a black feminist, overcame her suspicion that the gay movement was not open to people of color, while transvestite Sylvia Rivers faced hostility from lesbians. Duberman, himself gay, exposes schisms in gay liberation that pitted gay men against lesbians, male chauvinists against feminists, whites against blacks.