EMMY Award-winning Screaming Queens tells the little-known story of the first known act of collective, violent resistance to the social oppression of queer people in the United States - a 1966 riot in San Francisco's impoverished Tenderloin neighborhood, three years before the famous gay riot at New York's Stonewall Inn.
Screaming Queens introduces viewers to street queens, cops and activist civil rights ministers who recall the riot and paint a vivid portrait of the wild transgender scene in 1960s San Francisco. Integrating the riot's story into the broader fabric of American life, the documentary connects the event to urban renewal, anti-war activism, civil rights and sexual liberation. With enticing archival footage and period music, this unknown story is dramatically brought back to life.
Screaming Queens is a production of Victor Silverman and Susan Stryker produced in association with ITVS and KQED, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Northern California EMMY(r) for Outstanding Achievement, Historical/Cultural Program.
"If there was one film I'd want to show to my students to inspire them both to do and to make history, Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria is it (and it clocks just under an hour!). Transgender historian and activist Susan Stryker dives into the archives and emerges with a story about the first collective militant queer resistance to police harassment, not at the Stonewall Bar in New York in 1969, but at Gene Compton's Cafeteria in the heart of San Francisco's Tenderloin district. It's a story that is at the foundation of everything from glam rock to lesbian separatism, gay struggles based on civil rights activism to squatters and housing rights agitation (and therefore right for classes in everything from cinema to political theory). It's also a story of unlikely heroes and heroines, putting passion and power at the center of an emergent queer historiography." -Amy Villarejo, Associate Professor in Film, Director of the Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program, Cornell University.
"Screaming Queens should be a mandatory part of every inclusive classroom curriculum. Stryker and Silverman's masterful documentary uncovers a little known, yet incredibly powerful part of LGBTQ history. This film is a story about hope, possibility, and justice that makes history come alive for students and scholars alike. The voices from our distant past will inspire viewers to uncover and reclaim their own histories and narrate other stories that have yet to be told." - Kristopher Wells, Associate Editor, Journal of LGBT Youth, University of Alberta.
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