Happy Birthday Storme’ DeLarverie

Posted: December 15, 2019 in *Celebration*, for your reflection, LOVE, PRIDE, Queer Thoughts, Thank You, We Love Queers

 

On 24 December 1920, biracial lesbian and gay rights icon Stormé DeLarverie was born in New Orleans. Her mother was African American and her father was a white man.  She is credited by many as sparking the Stonewall riots, as according to some eyewitnesses and her own account she was the “New York butch” who was arrested and attacked by police. Bleeding from a head wound, she began to fight back and called to the crowd “Why don’t you guys do something?” The famous words that we have heard that were spoken about the Stonewall Rebellion came from Storme’ when she said, “The cop hit me so I hit him back!” Years of oppression began to fall away with that action, those words. When she was thrown into a police van the crowd erupted and the Stonewall rebellion began. As well is working as an MC, bouncer and bodyguard, she carried a gun and patrolled the streets of the Village, protecting other lesbians from street harassment or assault, and also raised money for survivors of domestic violence.

She is remembered as a gay civil rights icon and entertainer, who performed and hosted at the Apollo Theater and Radio City Music Hall. She worked for much of her life as an MC, singer, bouncer, bodyguard and volunteer street patrol worker, the “guardian of lesbians in the Village.” From 1955 to 1969 DeLarverie toured the black theater circuit as the MC (and only drag king) of the Jewel Box Revue, North America’s first racially integrated drag revue. The revue regularly played the Apollo Theater in Harlem, as well as to mixed-race audiences.

She worked at the Cubby Hole and Fat Cat’s, two popular lesbian bars in the West Village. Storme was often working the door at both clubs as a bouncer.

About Stonewall Stormie’ had this to say: “It was a rebellion, it was an uprising, it was a civil rights disobedience — it wasn’t no damn riot”, she declared at a public and videographed SVA-sponsored “Stonewall Symposium”, referring to the historic 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. Stormé was a part of the uprising on the very first night, Friday, June 27th. “The cops were parading patrons out of the front door of The Stonewall at about two o’ clock in the morning. I saw this one boy being taken out by three cops, only one in uniform. Three to one! I told my pals, ‘I know him! That’s Williamson, my friend Sonia Jane’s friend.’ Williamson briefly broke loose but they grabbed the back of his jacket and pulled him right down on the cement street. One of them did a drop kick on him. Another cop senselessly hit him from the back. Right after that, a cop said to me: ‘Move faggot’, thinking that I was a Gay guy. I said, ‘I will not! And, don’t you dare touch me.” With that, the cop shoved me and I instinctively punched him right in his face. He bled! He was then dropping to the ground — not me!”

Storme’ DeLarverie died in her sleep at 93 on May 24, 2014.

Now that the climate in amerikkka is once again turning against our people we must remember our people who stood up, who never apologized for who they were and who when they had to fought back.

So in honor of this great freedom fighter this Lesbian, Trans liberation warrior let’s have a little fun. We can be sure that Storme’ would love this tribute and it comes from our full heart to you. We can just see her clicking her fingers along to the song. Happy Birthday Storme’ and a big THANK YOU!!!

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