Students were stimulated and involved in the discussion panel Thursday, about the Stonewall film and its offensive inaccuracies. They filled the lecture hall to hear panelists hear the historic truth about the Stonewall Riots.
A guest panel of three spoke on the inaccuracies and their disappointment of the 2015 film Stonewall, inspired by the events of the 1969 riot. The panel included equality activist and author, Zoe Ann Nicholson, veteran and FC student, Lan Ramirez, and Cal State Fullerton professor Jennifer Thompson.
The discussion was then opened to the audience to ask any questions regarding the panel or the speakers and student, Lauren Smith-Petitt asked a number of questions regarding the film and the difficulties transgender people have to endure during their transition.
When asked if why she came to the panel, she stated that she was gay and had heard about that film. She also said that she was glad she came to hear the guest speakers because 10 years ago, as a student at FC, the campus never had anything of this manner at that time. She said she was “stoked” that the panel was being held.
Another student, Nick Ceja added that he was glad that he came to the panel and tries to attend as much as possible. He had seen a documentary on the riots and was intrigued. He really enjoyed the involvement of the students during the discussion and appreciates the diversity of the panel.
Though each speaker had their own personal stories and knowledge regarding the film and the riots, they all came to the conclusion that the movie was a glamorized and a grossly inaccurate “Hollywood” adaptation of the revolutionary riot.
The panel began with a viewing of the trailer and was then put under analysis by the three speakers.
Ramirez was in the Marine Corps during the time “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” transition and opened the discussion about the film. He said not only was the film based on a character who was male and white, but also fictional. He was depicted as the hero of the film though he was not truly involved in the actual riots.
Nicholson has been involved in social justice activism for 45 years, and also commented on the fictional character’s misplacement in the film. In reality, the character was from the midwest, and in the film, claims to be straight.
In addition to her comments on the film, Nicholson added some words of encouragement and information on a number of activists who have yet to be recognized properly.
“I may never know, but someone in this room needs someone here today to tell them to be brave. It is so much more fun to be brave. […] I am here to tell you, you can step off the curb of convention and survive. You will find the courage to intervene when something bad has happened. […] Reach out your hand to someone who thinks that for this moment, they cannot breathe, which is what happens when fear takes over. […] I am in love with equality and you are too. It’s just that simple because there is just nowhere else to be.”
The third panelist, Thompson, came out to her faculty and students just last year. She discussed how there were a number of major characters missing in the film who actually led the riot. She also stated that it was a group of trans people who led the Stonewall uprising and not one of them was depicted in the film or had a major role.
The panel was hosted by political science professor, Jodi Balma, who is hosting another discussion called “Ban the Box” in Room 515 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.
For more information regarding this discussion, email JBalma@fullcoll.edu.