Rivera, Sylvia: "Y'all Better Quiet Down," Christopher St. Liberation Day 1973

Sylvia Rivera, Fourth Annual Christopher Street Liberation Day Rally, Washington Park, NYC, 24 June 1973.

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 in jail? Now think about it. They’ve been beaten up and raped after they had to spend much of their money in jail to get theirself home, and try to get their sex changed.

The women have tried to fight for their sex changes or to become women of the Women’s Liberation and they write STAR.1 Not the women’s group. 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 who 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, no longer, 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 is 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 what I wanted to say to you people. If you all want to know about the people that are 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! Gay Power! Louder! GAY POWER!

Source of speech

Rivera, Sylvia. “Y’all Better Quiet Down.” Original Authorized Video by LoveTapesCollective, 1973 Gay Pride Rally NYC. L020A. Vimeo https://vimeo.com/234353103

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