This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. As June is Pride Month, we thought it’d be the perfect time to offer a refresher on one of the most important series of events in LGBTQ history.
Here are 6 things you need to know about Stonewall
+ Pre-Stonewall, there were very few gay rights groups in the US. If you can stomach the thought of it, try to imagine a version of the United States of America where it was rare if people publicly identified as LGBTQ.
+ In fact, at this time, the police were harassing LGBTQ people all over the country. As The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights explains, because of New York City’s laws prohibiting homosexuality in public, the atmosphere was pretty hostile. Gay clubs and establishments that welcomed members of the LGBTQ community were regularly raided.
+ So what is Stonewall? The name comes from the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village.
+ On June 28, 1969, patrons at the Stonewall Inn grew weary of the police raids and decided to take a stand. According to eyewitness reports, a riot soon broke out; once news got out, people came from all over the city to join the protestors.
(The Stonewall Inn in New York City)
+ After the riots quieted down, people in the city began to have serious discussions about LGBTQ rights. This led to the creation of many activist groups, including the Gay Liberation Front. Although the organization didn’t last long, it was notably the first of its kind to use the word gay in its name.
+ Just two years after the Stonewall riots, gay rights groups could be found in almost every major city in the US.
Want to learn more? Here’s one rioters take on the Stonewall riots on the events.
Even though we’re not where we could be in terms of equal rights, it’s always important to look back and see how much progress we’ve made.
NOTE: If you’re in New York City, you can take a walking tour in Greenwich Village to see “Stonewall 45: Windows Into LGBT History.”
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