Professor Stein's New Book Offers Many Layers to the Stonewall Story

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
BAY AREA REPORTER -- As the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion approaches, long considered the birth of the modern gay rights movement, people may think that they know what transpired and why it was so important. However, Marc Stein, professor of History at San Francisco State University, is convinced there is not one paradigm, but many conflicting experiences with multiple interpretations that color our understanding of this LGBTQ origin story. Attempting to reclaim the Stonewall story for queer people on their own terms, Stein, a gay man, has collected 200 documents (many not easy to access) drawing from both primary and secondary sources that include mainstream, alternative and LGBTQ media, covering the period 1965 to 1973, in his new book, “The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History” (NYU Press). “There were multiple inspirations. I continue to be inspired by LGBT activism in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the decades before I came out and became an activist myself in the 1980s,” Stein says. “I wanted to encourage others to be similarly inspired, without losing sight of the importance of constructive criticism. I also knew that the 50th anniversary celebrations would create teachable moments — opportunities to revisit the Stonewall era and reconsider the developments that preceded and followed the riots.”