About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

5 Colum. J. Gender & L. 33 (1995-1996)
Faeries, Marimachas, Queens, and Lezzies: The Construction of Homosexuality before the 1969 Stonewall Riots

handle is hein.journals/coljgl5 and id is 39 raw text is: FAERIES, MARIMACHAS,t QUEENS,
Elvia R. A rriola*
The Stonewall Riots erupted on a hot night in June 1969 in New York
City, when an unlikely group of revolutionaries, a few Black and Puerto
Rican drag queens and butch lesbians, turned a routine bar raid into a street
fight with the local police. The latter had just taken a payoff from the
unlicensed bar owners and arrested the most obvious looking
homosexuals.' A motley crew of effeminate queers resisted what would
otherwise have been a routine raid on a bar that catered to gay people.2
The conflict attracted an angry crowd of onlookers and supporters who
fought into the night with coins, beer bottles, and sticks, and whose
struggle ultimately came to symbolize the overthrow of decades of official
harassment, repression, and degradation. A simple street fight on June
27th, 1969, changed history and breathed life into the then dormant and
internally conflicted homophile movement.'
In recent years, gays and lesbians have staked out their deserved place
in the annals of American legal, social, and political history4 with a
t The term marimachas is Mexican slang for lesbians. The gay male counterpart
is maric6n which is a play on the term Maria, a typical woman's name throughout
Mexico and Latin America. Macho is a term that is used to describe hypermasculine
behavior. Thus the term marimacha suggests woman with masculine tendencies.
* Assistant Professor of Law, The University of Texas at Austin; J.D. University
of California at Berkeley (1983); M.A. History, New York University (1991); B.A.
California State University, Los Angeles; former Assistant Attorney General, New York
State Department of Law Civil Rights Bureau (1984-89).
For a general description of the events, see John d'Emilio, Sexual Politics,
Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States,
1940-1970 231-33 (1983) [hereinafter Sexual Politics]; Paul Berman, Democracy and
Homosexuality, New Republic, Dec. 20, 1993 at 23-24. See also infra part III.A.3.
for discussion on the practice of gayola (accepting bribes from gay bar owners in
return for lax enforcement of vice or health and safety laws).
2 Sheerly out of convenience, I will at times intentionally collapse several terms
used to identify the diverse membership of the non-majoritarian sexual population into
either gay, queer, or gay people.
3 See Sexual Politics, supra note 1, at 233.
4 See, e.g., Lesbians, Gay Men and the Law (William B. Rubinstein ed., 1993)

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most