Who would’ve thought that Comedy Central’s Drunk History would feature a more accurate dramatization of the Stonewall Riots than a movie called Stonewall? But it happened. Tuesday night’s episode of the hilarious series featured the story of the riots that sparked the LGBT civil rights revolution in New York City; director Roland Emmerich should take notes.
Emmerich came under fire even before Stonewall debuted in theaters since the trailers seemed to portray a white, masculine gay man (played by a straight actor, no less) as the one person to spark the riots. Despite what the filmmaker has said regarding who exactly started the riots, the vast majority of experts link the real fighters to the homeless queer youth on the streets, with trans woman Marsha P. Johnson at the forefront.
While Emmerich attempted to defend his film a number of times, our suspicions were proven true when Stonewall hit theaters. If you haven’t seen it, there’s an actual scene where the white man grabs the brick from a homeless youth of color and throws it himself, literally taking a people’s culture and history out of their own hands. Drunk History, however, put the spotlight on Johnson, as played by trans actor Alexandra Grey.
Watch a clip from the episode below:
In addition to being a more accurate representation of what transpired, the episode also featured trans actors playing trans roles, which has been a point of controversy in Hollywood. Jeffrey Tambor, who won multiple Emmys for Amazon’s Transparent, said during his latest acceptance speech that he’d be happy if he was “the last cisgender man to play a female transgender on TV” and called for casting directors to give trans actors a chance.
Grey, who also features in Transparent, told Out magazine of the Drunk History episode, “There’s all this controversy about casting cisgender actors in trans roles, so it’s nice that [Comedy Central] wanted to be authentic and give that role to a trans person.”