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

"Y'all Better Quiet Down": Sylvia Rivera, 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 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 [inaudible], 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! Gim me an ‘R’! [crying] Gay power! Louder! GAY POWER!

Source of speech

Rivera, Sylvia. “Y’all Better Quiet Down.” Christopher Street Liberation Day Rally, 23 May 2003, New York City, NY. Speech. Peekaboo We See You: Whiteness. https://issuu.com/shadesofnoir/docs/peekaboo_we_see_you_whiteness/s/151964.

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