One of the most remarkable accomplishments of the strike that took place at Boeing in 2000 wasn’t getting more than 15,000 white-collar workers to walk off the job, it was getting a bunch of engineers to agree on one thing, jokes Stan Sorscher, a former Boeing employee and retired labor representative for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).
“If you asked engineers ‘What’s the boiling point of water?’, I’m not sure you’d get 97% of them to agree,” he says. “They’d say, ‘Well, wait, what else did you do? Are there any impurities in the water?’”
The 1980s were a terrible time to be in the oil business in Oklahoma. After the energy crises of the 1970s, when petroleum was scarce, there was now a surplus, and the price per barrel plummeted. This was very bad news for many Oklahomans, including George Schupp and Jim Walker. Orders to their custom manufacturing company in Tulsa, where most of their customers worked in energy, dried up.
Then Jim made the life-changing decision to follow up on a classified ad for a used car. That car was owned by Lanny Potts, who also worked in the oil business but…
Riots broke out at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. They set in motion a chain of events that laid the groundwork for lasting institutional change in the city. It was a story that was almost lost until historian Susan Stryker rediscovered it decades later.
“We just got tired of it,” riot survivor Amanda St. Jaymes told Stryker in her documentary, Screaming Queens. “We got tired of being harassed. We got tired of being made to go into the men’s room when we were dressed like women. We wanted our rights.”
Susan Stryker is an academic, historian, and writer in San Francisco. She is an associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and director of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona.
Among the accolades Stryker has collected over the years is an Emmy for her 2005 documentary Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, which chronicled the tensions between San Francisco Police and the patrons of the Compton’s Cafeteria restaurant. Largely forgotten, Stryker uncovered the story while combing through archives.
My contribution to the trans movement was to start disseminating its history. It’s not that it wasn’t…