There are many stories that have never been written and the history and legacy of subaltern communities and the marginalized communities are usually oppressed and erased. To add to that, we also belong to a culture that heavily depended on oral history. Today we have observed and documented what suits us.

The rest is discarded or not spoken about. While the erasure of identities has been the tool of the oppressor, it is also true that those who hold power within the marginalized overshadow others by their privilege and dominance. Most often this erasure is to silence the dissenting voices or the people who are not in a position of power.

To set the stage for the discussion we will be screening the most waited short film Happy Birthday, Marsha! (HBM).

“MARSHA P. JOHNSON was a black trans woman. She was an activist, part of a group called Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, and a kind of political theorist. She was associated with the anti-policing Stonewall riots.

She was a performance artist in a downtown theater troupe called the Hot Peaches. She was a fixture and icon in the downtown scene and the queer, trans, and gender nonconforming landscape of New York City up until 1992 when she was found dead in the Hudson River.” – ARTFORUM

It’s been almost 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising yet the leading role that street queens, trans women of color and gender non-conforming people played during the riots has never received the recognition it deserves.

“Tourmaline Gossett and Sasha Wortzel’s short film Happy Birthday, Marsha! (2018) is a moving celebration and evocation of trans activist and artist Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson, set on the eve of the Stonewall riots in 1969. Gossett and Wortzel bring archival intimacies and a deep sense of care to the project of representing Johnson’s life and legacy, resulting in a remarkable fifteen-minute film that ranges in feeling from soaring uplift to deep loss. Created through extensive community collaboration, the film features lush cinematography by Arthur Jafa, an expressive score by Geo Wyeth, and star turn performances by Mya Taylor as Johnson and by queer New York City stalwarts Jay Toole, Jimmy Camicia, and Egypt LaBeija, among many others.” – ARTFORUM

Thirai is a film screening event produced by Queer Chennai Chronicles. Through Thirai, QCC tries to enable conversation on topics that are important and relevant for our today’s queer movement.

The Screening is scheduled for Sunday 19th Aug, 5:30 PM onwards at Backyard, a space for Expression, Storytelling, and Co-ideation on 3rd Main Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar Chennai, India