Monday, 8 April 2019

Sylvia Rivera "Y'all Better Quiet Down" ( 1973)



Video link https://youtu.be/0sfm2DkKSOM




Digitalised recording of trans rights activist Sylvia Rivera's speech at New York City's Christopher Street Liberation Day Rally in 1973.

(Transcription follows:)
Sylvia Rivera: I may be—

Crowd: [booing]

Sylvia Rivera: Y'all better quiet down. I’ve been trying to get up here all day for your gay brothers and your gay sisters in jail that write me every motherfucking week and ask for your help and you all don’t do a goddamn thing for them.

Have you ever been beaten up and raped and jailed? Now think about it. They’ve been beaten up and raped after they’ve had to spend much of their money in jail to get their hormones, and try to get their sex changes. The women have tried to fight for their sex changes or to become women. On the women’s liberation and they write ‘STAR,’ not to the women’s groups, they do not write women, they do not write men, they write ‘STAR’ because we're trying to do something for them.

I have been to jail. I have been raped. And beaten. Many times! By men, heterosexual men that do not belong in the homosexual shelter. But, do you do anything for me? No. You tell me to go and hide my tail between my legs. I will not put up with this shit. I have been beaten. I have had my nose broken. I have been thrown in jail. I have lost my job. I have lost my apartment for gay liberation and you all treat me this way? What the fuck's wrong with you all? Think about that!

I do not believe in a revolution, but you all do. I believe in the gay power. I believe in us getting our rights, or else I would not be out there fighting for our rights. That’s all I wanted to say to you people. If you all want to know about the people in jail and do not forget Bambi L'amour, and Dora Mark, Kenny Metzner, and other gay people in jail, come and see the people at Star House on Twelfth Street on 640 East Twelfth Street between B and C apartment 14.

The people are trying to do something for all of us, and not men and women that belong to a white middle class white club. And that’s what you all belong to!

REVOLUTION NOW! Gimme a ‘G’! Gimme an ‘A’! Gimme a ‘Y’! Gimme a ‘P’! Gimme an ‘O’! Gimme a ‘W’! Gimme an ‘E! Gimme an ‘R’! [crying] Gay power! Louder! GAY POWER!


EDIT: on 03/06/2019 a group selling recordings of the speech issued take down notices on my upload and many others, apparently in an attempt to scrub it from the internet leaving them the only game in town. This is sadly a very common occurrence given how copyright law works. And its quite insulting that a speech made in defiance of people trying to silence her has now been silenced in the name of profit seeking.

Fortunately the transcript remains available. I also managed to find an audio recording of the speech.




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