Thanks to #Jonas, I was snowed in for the weekend and got a chance to catch up on a few movies. While it wasn't the first choice on my list, I did eventually click on Stonewall partly because I was curious about how they would pay tribute to history in light of the #SCOTUS Marriage Equality decision last June. That landmark decision made us all equal, and I was anxious to see how the movie would treat our journey towards that equality.
I have to be honest and say that the movie was a bit hard to get through, for many of the reasons that have already been noted in many reviews. I won't go there.
And I'm not sure how historically accurate the storyline unfolded, but that's not the point either. I'm not sure and I'm not sure that it matters.
No matter the quality of the film or the pinpoint details of the plot, I found the movie to be historically relevant to me as a person, and I suspect to many others.
Whether the characters were real or unreal, they certainly showcased the struggle, discrimination, and fear that gay people pretty much universally faced at that time in our history. It was awful.
What struck me more than anything, to be honest, was that all of this happened in my lifetime. I was just a little kid in 1969, but I can't help but think that this reality is partly to blame for me coming out so late in life myself. And it took me awhile, to say the least.
It wasn't safe. And if you didn't live in New York City, or an equally progressive place, it was even more unsafe.
This movie made me look into my own reality...there's no way that I would have been able to come out in that environment. Not in my environment when I was young anyway.
It was only until I had grown the courage to face myself by myself that I started to realize what my life should be about. It was only until I had the courage to take the consequences that might come from coming out that I was able to consider the possibility. It was only when I had amassed enough success in my life that I could risk putting it all on the line.
And these folks put it all on the line, just like anyone who "comes out" at work, at home, and in our respective community. Even today, although thankfully there are support systems in place to help anyone and everyone.
This movie made me realize our own reality. And for that I not only thank the makers of Stonewall, but also truly thank the real people that they honored at the real Stonewall. I'd like to thank the real people responsible for our reality today.
We still have a long way to go, but looking back at history reminds us just how far we've come. Just in our own lifetime.