As Pride month begins, and current times unfold- I feel as a queer person, it is important for myself, and all of us to remember what instigated so much of the freedom we have today. Freedom that still has a long way to go- but has come so far, and where this freedom really began to run. The Stonewall Riots began in the early hours of June 28th, 1969, between police and gay rights activists outside the Stonewall Inn, which was a gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. As those riots progressed, an international gay rights movement was born. In 1969, homosexual relations were an illegal act in NYC. Gay bars were places of refuge for the LGBTQ+ folk who tried to escape public harassment- but these bars were often subject to police harassment regularly. Stonewall Inn was one of the more well-known places for these gatherings- and on June 28th, 1969, Nine policemen entered the Inn, arresting employees for selling alcohol with no license, roughing up many of the patrons, cleared the bar, and arrested anyone not wearing “at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing”, due to a New York criminal statute. This was the 3rd raid on gay bars in a short period.
But that time, people outside of the bar didn’t retreat, or scatter. They began to yell at police as they tried to shove the bar patrons into a police van. Soon they began throwing bottles and debris. The police were used to more passive behaviour, even from larger gay groups, and so the policemen barricaded themselves inside the bar, and called for reinforcements while some 400 people rioted. The barricade was breached repeatedly, the bar was set on fire- reinforcements arrived in time to extinguish the flames, and eventually dispersed the crowd.
These riots continued over the next 5 days- the beginning of which was head mainly by trans women of colour.
Marsha P. Johnson.
More, now than ever- we need to remember where a lot of our freedoms began.
In this month of pride, remember- no lives matter until black lives do. ✊🏻 Black lives matter. I stand with you. - 15 minutes ago