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Activists Paint Stonewall Statues Brown to Resist Whitewashing of History

"Those statues are bronze (brown) underneath the layer of white paint — the symbolism behind that is infuriating."

Anonymous activists just painted over the white Stonewall statues in Christopher Park with brown paint, and fitted them out with dresses and wigs. In an interview with Autostraddle, they said they did it in honor of Miss Major, a figurehead and icon in the trans community, and someone who helped lead much of the resistance.

They also wanted to have the memorial better reflect all the trans women of color who participated in (and led!) much of the action that night. It’s no secret that trans women of color have been facing erasure for quite some time now, having their accomplishments and achievements blotted out in favor of having white faces at the fore.

When asked specifically about why they did this, they had this to share:

We painted them because Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major, Storme DeLarverie and all the other Black and Brown people who led the movement deserve credit for their courage and strength. What we did was rectification, not vandalism. Those statues are bronze (brown) underneath the layer of white paint — the symbolism behind that is infuriating. I know that some people are going to be angry, but I’m not concerned with preserving bullshit art. I’m angry about the whitewashing of LGBTQ history.

It’s likely that as we speak, the statues are being cleaned off to be repainted white again. That symbolism doesn’t escape the activists (or anyone, really).

To the people who’ll end up repainting the sculptures: brown and black lacquer exists. Think about what it means to repaint the statues white, and then stop.

Head on over to Autostraddle to check out the full interview.

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