Stonewall The Movie

By David-Elijah Nahmod, November 2015 Web Exclusive.

Known for such mega-budget blockbusters as Independence Day (1996) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004), director Roland Emmerich’s filmography has grossed over one billion dollars in the United States, making the openly gay auteur one of the top-20 highest grossing directors in history.

Stonewall director Roland Emmerich. Photo courtesy of

And along the way, Emmerich hasn’t shied away from speaking out against homophobia and racism in the movie business. And, in 2006, he gave $150,000 to The Legacy Project in support of gay and lesbian film preservation.

The Sept. 25 release of his new film, Stonewall, marked a departure from Emmerich’s usual summer blockbuster routine to take a heartfelt look into his community's past.

Stonewall is a fictionalized retelling of the legendary Stonewall Riots. On a hot June night in 1969, a collection of gay white men, lesbians, street hustlers, drag queens and transgender New Yorkers banded together to fight police oppression of patrons of a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, launching the nationwide LGBT equality movement.

In the weeks following the release of the distributor’s (Roadside Attractions) release of a two-minute trailer, certain factions in the LGBT community condemned the film, saying that it "whitewashes" queer history and erases the important role that transgender people of color played in the riots.

At issue, is the casting of Jeremy Irvine, a white cisgender actor, as Danny Winters, the film's fictional lead as well as the omission of trans people of color, an integral part of the historic riots. As a result, more than 25,000 people have signed a petition calling for a boycott of Stonewall.

Photo courtesy of

"I was baffled," Emmerich said, discussing the film’s protests via phone interview. "But maybe it’s a good thing because people will hear about the film. I'm over it."

The main focus of the film, Emmerich said, were the homeless LGBT youth who lived on the streets around the Stonewall Inn.

"I wanted to give a voice to the unsung heroes," Emmerich said. "The film is about a group of homeless kids, the unsung heroes of Stonewall that no one talks about, but they were definitely there."

Emmerich added that 40 percent of homeless kids are LGBT.

"There's a real correlation between then and today," he said. "The problem won't go away."

Additionally, the filmmaker maintains that he did great deal of research prior to making Stonewall, so the finished film could be as close to the truth as possible.

According to Emmerich, the film features several portrayals of trans people of color, including Jonny Beauchamp’s Oscar-worthy performance as Ray, aka Ramona, an embittered but kindhearted cross-dressing hustler who is most likely trans. Then there’s the juicy supporting role for actor Otoja Abit who portrays Marsha P. Johnson, an African American trans woman who participated in the riots. In a particularly memorable scene, Marsha socks the big burly neighborhood bully (Ron Perlman) across the jaw.

Photo courtesy of

"Marsha P. Johnson was a unique character," he said. "She had to be in the film. She was the only trans woman who was friendly to the street kids, according to research."

For example, when Danny arrives in New York after being thrown out of his Midwest home for being gay, it’s Marsha and the street kids who embrace him.

"It's the kids of color who teach the white kid about survival and friendship," Emmerich said. "We made the movie out of love. We don't want to offend or whitewash anything. It's out version of the story – it's a combination of how we got our rights and a coming of age story."

As the story progresses, viewers will see that Danny's whiteness, and his ability to "pass" for straight, enables him to get a job and go back to school. These options are not available to the queens on the street, an inconvenient truth that Emmerich does not shy away from. Ultimately, however, he added that he hopes audiences will be uplifted by Stonewall.

"We didn't want to do a story about the kid being destroyed," he said. "We gave the film a positive feel. It's celebratory."

For more information, visit

Keep readingShow less
WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less