Thursday, June 18, 2009 Publishes New Obtained Stonewall Riot Police Reports: Names Woman Arrestee and Three Men Arrestees

Recently obtained New York City Police Department reports reveal new, important details about what the police called an “Unusual Occurrence” at the Stonewall Inn -- the rebellion provoked by a police raid on the gay bar that took place 40 years ago this month.

The newly revealed documents, created early on the morning of the rebellion’s start, June 28, 1969, provide an immediate, palpable sense of the event that has come to symbolize the beginning of the modern movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights and liberation.

Reproduced in facsimile with transcriptions, nine pages of the NYPD records are published for the first time on at: Stonewall Riot Police Reports, June 28, 1969

Highlights include:

*Officer Charles Broughton of the 1st Division arrested Raymond Castro, Marilyn Fowler and Vincent DePaul, charging them with acting together to “shove and kick the officer.”  This is the first time that Fowler and DePaul have been named and documented as riot participants. Fowler’s name is extremely significant, since no other woman’s arrest has been so far been documented, and numbers of witnesses attributed the riot’s intensifying to the arrest and resistance of an unnamed butch lesbian. (Castro is named as a participant in David Carter’s Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. also includes: Raymond Castro Interviewed by Jonathan Ned Katz: June 16, 2009.)

*Police officer Charles Holmes of the 6th Precinct was treated at nearby Saint Vincent’s Hospital after being bitten on the right wrist by a Stonewall rioter. Biting has not earlier been documented as a Stonewall resistance tactic.

*Officer Andrew Scheu of the 6th Precinct charged Wolfgang Podolski with resisting arrest and with striking an “officer with [a] rolled newspaper causing him to fall to ground fracturing his wrist.” This is the first documented reference to Podolski, a waiter or writer (the report is unclear), as a riot participant. A rolled up newspaper has not earlier been documented as a resistance weapon.

*Officer Gail Lynch, of the 5th Precinct, charged that Thomas Staton interfered with an officer making an arrest “by throwing assorted objects [and] while with others did become very loud and refused to comply.” Staton has not earlier been named and documented as a riot participant.  Lynch has not earlier been named as one of the women police officers at the scene. The newly obtained records for the first time provide the full names of several other officers involved in the riot.

*An unfortunate Volkswagen owner complained to officer Robert Hansen of the 6th Precinct that her car, parked near the riot scene, had been “stomped” on during the disturbance and sustained damage to the roof, hood, and rear.

*The reports also document the charge by Officer Gilbert Weisman of the 6th Precinct that David Van Ronk, “Actor” (he was actually a well-known folksinger) “Did assault the officer about the face with an unknown object.”  The heterosexual Van Ronk was arrested, handcuffed, taken into the Stonewall, and later taken away in a patrol wagon. He eventually pleaded guilty to “harassment,” a violation, and was later sued by Weisman for assault, and paid the officer a fine.

Seven pages of these NYPD records were obtained in May 2009 by Jonathan Ned Katz, Director of, in consultation with historian David Carter, and two additional pages were obtained in 1988 by the late Michael Scherker, under the New York State Freedom of Information Law. In the documents obtained by Katz, for the first time the names of those arrested are not blacked out, providing the public and historians with important new evidence about the rebellion’s participants. None of the nine NYPD reports made available on have earlier been published.

Katz asks that anyone with any knowledge of the persons arrested or charged, or any knowledge of the police officers named, contact him at:

Any information about arrestees Vincent DePaul, Marilyn Fowler, Wolfgang Podolski, and Thomas Staton would be “greatly appreciated,” says Katz, and any data on Marilyn Fowler is of “special interest.”

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall resistance, is also republishing novelist and essayist Edmund White’s eyewitness letter about the riots, written to friends a few days after the rebellion, and playwright Martin Sherman’s recollection of the resistance. These documents have not before been available on line. See: Edmund White: Letter to Ann and Alfred Corn, July 8, 1969 and Martin Sherman: "A Hot Night in June," November 1994. is the freely accessible, community-created website on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and, yes, heterosexual history. It is produced by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center under a grant from the Arcus Foundation and donations from individuals. is unique in encouraging members of the LGBTQ and heterosexual communities to help write the histories of those communities. “Fight Against Forgetting” is one of the website’s mottos. Major LGBTQ scholars also contribute to the site. OutHistory is also holding a Since Stonewall Local Histories Contest in which users are encouraged to create an exhibit about the history of LGBTQ their town, village, county, city or state over the past 40 years.

Events commemorating the Stonewall 40th are listed on at: Stonewall 40th Anniversary, June 1969-June 2009. Among these, Stonewall Was a Riot! a fundraiser for, will be held at the Stonewall Inn on Monday, June 22, 8-10 pm, and will feature performers riffing on life since 1969. Space is limited and reservations may be made by emailing A donation of $20 is requested.


Jonathan Ned Katz


Lauren Gutterman


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The source of my addiction

Very sad news today in Publishers Lunch

Owner of Ann Arbor bookstore Shaman Drum Karl Pohrt will close the store at the end of June. "I feel like I've had this charmed life to sell books in Ann Arbor for nearly 30 years," he tells the Ann Arbor News (which will also close soon.) "That's a good run."

The store's site says, "On the advice of my accountant and my business manager, I am closing Shaman Drum Bookshop June 30. Despite a first rate staff, a fiercely loyal core of customers, a very decent landlord and my own commitment to the community of arts and letters in Ann Arbor, it is clear to me that the bookshop is not a sustainable business."

I spent many afternoons in Shaman Drum bookstore reading books, holding books, thinking about books, and buying books. In some ways, it is the source of my addiction. I’m very sad to learn that it is closing. How will other young dykes find poetry by Marilyn Hacker in Ann Arbor?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Sisters by Grace Paley - from the Poetry Daily Newsletter


My friends are dying

well we're old     it's natural

one day we passed the experience of "older"

which began in late middle age

and came suddenly upon "old" then

all the little killing bugs and

baby tumors that had struggled

for years against the body's

brave immunities found their

level playing fields and


but this is not what I meant to

tell you     I wanted to say that

my friends were dying but have now

become absent     the word dead is correct

but inappropriate

I have not taken their names out of

conversation   gossip   political argument

my telephone book or card index in

whatever alphabetical or contextual

organizer     I can stop any evening of

the lonesome week at Claiborne   Bercovivi

Vernarelli   Deming and rest a moment

on their seriousness as artists   workers

their excitement as political actors in the

streets of our cities or in their workplaces

the vigiling   fasting   praying in or out

of jail   their lighthearted ness which floated

above the year's despair

their courageous sometimes hilarious

disobediences before the state's official

servants     their fidelity to the idea that

it is possible with only a little extra anguish

to live in this world     at absolute [minimum?]

loving brainy sexual energetic redeemed

Grace Paley
Gulf Coast

Summer/Fall 2008

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sinister Wisdom - Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions

Special Theme Issue Lesbian Poetry – When? And Now!

Deadline: March 1, 2010

Lesbian Poetry – When? And Now!
Poetry has long been important to lesbians, lesbian publishing, and lesbian identity. The Daughters of Bilitis took the name of the organization from the lesboerotic poems of Pierre Louys, Songs of Bilitis. From the Sappho fragments to the words of Gertrude Stein, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Renee Vivien, Michael Field (two women writing with a pseudonym), Adah Isaacs Menken, Emily Dickinson, Angelina Weld Grimké, Muriel Rukeyser, May Sarton and hundreds of other mid- and late- twentieth century poets, what it means to be lesbian is often expressed and understood through poetry.

This issue of Sinister Wisdom seeks poems by thirty to forty contemporary lesbian poets, each paired with a poem by a lesbian poet of yore. Think about what work inspires your work and submit creative, eclectic, interesting, and unusual pairings for consideration.

Some notes about submission:

  • •Each pair should include a poem by the contemporary poet and a “poet of yore.”

  • •The submitter should provide a bio of both poets include in the submission.

  • •Poets are encouraged to submit up to three pairs of poems for consideration.

  • •Pairings of poems and visual art work are also welcome.

  • •Other creative responses to the theme are welcome.

  • •Permission to print both poems must be secured by the submitter. Please discuss copyright and permission with the guest editor well in advance of deadline.

Deadline: March 1, 2010.

For manuscript submission guidelines, please visit the Sinister Wisdom website here:

Submit manuscripts to Julie R. Enszer, 6910 Wells Parkway, University Park, MD 20782 with SASE for response or email

Questions, queries, comments? Please email Julie R. Enszer at