Monthly Archives: May 2014

Stonewall Pioneer Passes

Jewel Box today acknowledges with respect and gratitude the life and work of Storme DeLarverie, a pioneering biracial, lesbian drag king, activist, and Stonewall veteran.  She died in her sleep early Saturday morning, May 24, 2014.

Storme was born in 1920 in New Orleans.  Her father was a wealthy white man, and her mother was an African-American woman who worked for his family.  The work Storme is best known for is as the emcee of the Jewel Box Revue, a traveling gay drag show that was the first integrated drag show in the U.S.  Jewel Box Revue traveled in the 40s through 60s, often playing before interracial audiences as well as gay and straight ones.

Her activist credentials, however, rest on her role in the Stonewall Riots.  She is said to be the cross-dressing lesbian whose clubbing by the police was the catalyst for the riots.  What is undisputed is that she fought back, not a surprising act for a person who regularly carried a straight-edge razor in her sock for self-protection.Storme DeLarverie bysambassett1

A good profile of her is available at

May she rest in well-earned peace and honor.

Video and Song Tells LGBT Elders’ Stories

lgbt musicLooking for something short, powerful, and thoughtful to quickly illustrate some of the issues facing LGBT elders?  Check out “Too Old to Remember,” the video of a song commissioned by a British social charity.

The dirge-like song, performed by the All Aloud LGBT Choir of Sheffield, England, and accompanied by pictures of LGBT elders, asks people, “Won’t you share these stories with us when we’re too old to remember?” and then tells both happy and sad stories of LGBT elders.  One stanza, for instance, says:

I was shy and just a bachelor

And I’m ashamed to say,

I got myself a lesbian friend,

As cover in those days.

I tried to keep my head down,

I made jokes was anti-gay,

And I still can’t trust authority,

I fear it every day.”

Another stanza talks about a lesbian with dementia whose caregivers dressed her femininely and “made her into someone else.”

Check it out at