Comedy Central series Drunk History recently released an episode about the Stonewall Riots, one of the defining moments in the LGBT movement in the United States. The segment, commentated by the great Crissle West, is hilarious and informative, but what we’re really loving about it is that it actually used transgender actresses to tell transgender women’s stories (unlike some media).
Alexandra Grey and Trace Lysette star as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera respectively, two of the primary transgender women who led the fight against police in 1969. The riots transpired in the Stonewall Bar after Johnson threw a shot glass in protest of the constant police raids.
As West puts it, “That is what got the whole gay rights movement in America started… It’s the shot glass heard ’round the world.”
For those of you remember the trainwreck that was the 2015 film Stonewall, you’ll be happy to know that Drunk History hit the nail on the head with this reenactment. The film was extremely controversial for focusing on a fictional story about gay white men, putting real activists and non-cis-gender protestors like Johnson and Rivera in the background. It did not go over well with critics, viewers, members of the LGBT community, you name it, and it still only scores a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (We made a compilation of all the best bad reviews back in 2015, here).
Although more and more film and television makers are telling transgender people’s stories, hiring cis-gender actors to play trans characters, like in Stonewall, is all too common.
So if you needed any more reason to watch Drunk History, add “morally conscious” to its list of attributes.
You can watch the Stonewall Riots segment below.
Screenshot via Comedy Central
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