This week's comment was left on guest blogger Zack Rosen's post "If Frank Kameny Was a Pop Star." While Rosen highlights Kameny's positive additions to the gay rights movement, Arceneaux argues that Kameny's assimilationist tactics ended up costing the LGBT community more than it gained - especially the transgender portion. If you can stand the heated back-and-forth, the thread is well worth the read.
You fail to understand the history. The Stonewall Inn was the only gay bar in all NYC which would admit genderqueer gays and lesbians; all of the other ones were for "straight-acting" gay men only. The Mattachine Society movement which Frank Kameny played a major role in starting, was closely tied to this segregationist movement within the gay community and built its tactics entirely around promoting "homophilia" within the existing power structure. They played no role in the Stonewall Riots; indeed, their immediate reaction was to side with the police and condemn the rioters in tremendously transphobic ways.
To quote an eyewitness of the actual events, "A prominent Stonewall myth holds that the riots were an uprising by the gay community against decades of oppression. This would be true if the "gay community" consisted of Stonewall patrons. The bar's regulars, though, were mostly teenagers from Queens, Long Island and New Jersey, with a few young drag queens and homeless youths who squatted in abandoned tenements on the Lower East Side. I was there on the Saturday and Sunday nights when the Village's established gay community, having heard about the incidents of Friday night, rushed back from vacation rentals on Fire Island and elsewhere. Although several older activists participated in the riots, most stood on the edges and watched.
The established gay community he's talking about are Kameny's lot, the upper-class gay white men whose cowardice paralyzed LGBTI activism for decades, who insisted that the ONLY way to secure gay rights was to pander to the prejudices of the majority until they accepted straight-acting gays as "normal".