Incite/Insight: Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria
The Incite/Insight Film Series is a project of The Anthropology And Social Change Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Shaping San Francisco, and The New Nothing Cinema.
Screaming Queens tells the forgotten story of the first collective act of militant resistance by queer people in the United States at San Francisco’s Compton’s Cafeteria in 1966, three years before the famous gay riot at New York’s Stonewall Inn. At that time, transgender people faced serious employment discrimination, police harassment, and other difficulties. From their compelling firsthand perspective, the program’s subjects describe the challenging circumstances and the misconduct of officials that drove them to take militant action in the streets. In her story within the story, Stryker reveals how the Compton’s Cafeteria riot was a dramatic turning point in a decades-long process of transgender community formation and political mobilization in San Francisco, a process that involved dramatic changes in medical practices, urban politics, neighborhood geography, and public consciousness.