www.ambiente.us    DECEMBER | DICIEMBRE 2010

Storme Delaverie |Reflection on the past, while looking at
the future |Why Bullying Should NOT be Tolerated
by Eddie Sierra

Sometimes life has its own way of directing things or circumstances into a
different route. Giving new meaning and innovative purpose for something one
never thought would lead that path. During a recent trip to New York City, while
exploring the themes to a story I had hoped that would catch the attention of
some of my generation’s friends and those after me as well.  
A theme that may sound far and distant but is ever more closer that we believe
ourselves to be – the idea was to come up with a series of columns that would
allow me to revisit the past – our GLBT past, with hopes that we could learn from
those that came before us, who fought a firm and fearless battle to secure the
liberties and privileges that many GLBT communities in the U.S. enjoy today.
My idea was to honor those brave men and women who are now known as the
Stonewall Veterans who had no choice but to stand up to the bullying – but not
just any bullies any bully from their classroom. These bullies were supposed to
protect them, since they collected salaries paid

Civil Right




Gay & Lesbian Alliance
Against Defamation
from their tax dollars and were to stand in guard and defend them from harm,
although instead what these police officers decided to do was precisely the opposite
from what police or government should do – Bully their own citizenry.   The
Stonewallvet.org recounts the June 1969 encounter as - when the New York City
police and other “authorities” raided The Stonewall Inn, a Mafia-owned dance bar on
Christopher Street in New York's Greenwich Village.  What began simply for the Gay
patrons by the local police department as a routine “fag-bar” raid, later involving other
law enforcement agencies, quickly escalated into five, in consecutive nights and early
morning hours when Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals,  Transgendered and their
supporters and friends decided to literally fight back.  As an assembled group we
finally, bravely and harmoniously sang out loud and clear “Stop!” Politically we’ve got
to get off the coach and fight for those things. An historical turning point said Storme
Delaverie (the young gay and lesbians of today have never heard of her) whom
Ambiente had the privilege and honor to sit down and talk to about what needs to be
done to continue the fight against bullies – whomever they are, since they come in
different shape and sizes and different form from generation to generation.
Storme was the cross dressing lesbian attacked by the police, the spark for the riot.
However, all agree she was there fighting along with everyone else when they had
enough of police mistreatment. The Stonewall Rebellion of June 1969 began police
and Alcoholic Beverage Control Board agents entered a gay bar--The Stonewall Inn,
on Christopher Street, in New York City. Allegedly there to look for violations of the
alcohol control laws, they made the usual homophobic comments and then, after
checking identification, threw the patrons out of the bar, one by one. Instead of quietly
slipping away into the night, as we had done for years, hustlers, drag queens,
students and other patrons held their ground and fought back. Someone uprooted a
parking meter and used it to barricade the door. The agents and police were trapped
inside; they wrecked the place and called in reinforcements. Their vehicles raced to
the scene with lights glaring and sirens blaring. The crowd grew. Someone set a fire.
More people came.
For three days, people protested. And
for the first time, after innumerable
years of oppression, the chant, Gay
Power, rang out. However, that
powerful chant should not have to
wither away with age, as Storme who
turns 91 this month recounted. What
we need is a more solidified and
unified GLBT communities to
continue on the path of equality and
maintain the flames of heroism
sparked by the Stone Wall rioters.

re-enact past experiences in order to
bring new beginnings, and again light
the fire that sometimes goes away as
the wind tempers down and
memories fade away in the air.  - On
Works Cited


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