Battles won, battles left to fight


I am amazed at what I’ve learned over the past few weeks about an event in which I took part — the Stonewall riots — and I’m having fun galloping around the country for interviews, photo shoots and speaking gigs. 

Thus far, my favorite result of it all has been The New York Times article and accompanying photo. I sat (or posed) for photographer Jason Varney for almost three hours, and all the while Jason, my husband, yelled, “Top model!” to our amusement.

Somehow Varney captured my personality like I’ve never seen before, and the article by Louis Lucero II was a delight. Allow me a spoiler alert: The last line has me telling the current generation of activists to “go out and get arrested.” 

One of my arrests came 46 years ago, when I disrupted “The Today Show” in an attempt to end LGBT invisibility on TV. And that seems to have worked out well. 

After I was wrestled from the studio, a reporter named Barbara Walters interviewed me about the disruption. She then went on camera to report on it. In 1973, that alone was a big deal. Then they took me out in handcuffs.   

Last week, I was invited by NBC OUT to speak to network employees at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and in historic studio 8H — now the home of “Saturday Night Live.” Of course I started the panel by stating the obvious: ‘Forty-six years ago, you took me out of this building in handcuffs, and now I’m an honored guest. We’ve come a long way.”

A side note: They actually allowed me to roam the building unescorted, and I did my own backstage-at-SNL video. Who should appear but the show’s producer, Lorne Michaels? I thanked him for the use of his stage and promised not to disrupt his other productions; across the hall, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Myers were recording their shows for that night. 

While he seemed confused, I realized that we no longer have to fight to be visible on TV — and I felt a sense of accomplishment for being part of that battle. 

But even though that battle has been won, there are more battles to come.

This community is now ready to fight them.