It’s still Pride month and one of the most important and fundamental movements for the LBGTQ community.
Stonewall Inn is a Gay bar on Christopher St in New York, New York. On June 28th, 1969, Police raided the bar as it was illegal to be gay and serve gay patrons. At the time, Illinois was the only state where it was legal to be gay and run a gay bar. Raids had been happening all over the United States but on this particular night, the LGBT community fought back.
On the Tuesday before, June 24th, 1969, the Police had raided the Stonewall inn arresting the employees and confiscated the alcohol, as they didn’t have a proper liquor license.
The NYPD planned a second raid for that Friday night June 27 into the early morning of June 28th. On that second raid, 8 undercover officers entered the bar targeting Drag Queens and Cross Dressers for masquerading as the opposite gender, which at the time was a crime. 3 cop cars with officers and a paddy wagon arrived as back up as more patrons and onlookers began gathering. Riots began when a woman who was dressed up masculine was roughed up by police after telling them that the handcuffs were too tight. People came to her defense and began throwing bottles and stones at police and slashed the policemen tires.
Some of the police and the paddy wagon got away to head to the nearest precinct which was the 6th. The rest retreated into the stonewall inn, barricading it. The rioters rammed the doors with parking meters and creating impromptu firebombs throwing it at stonewall to get to the police.
The Tactical team arrived on sight to push the rioters out but the people ran around the block to get the team from behind. It finally calmed down around 4 am.
Stonewall Inn reopened later that night again, except without alcohol. The community gathered in support saying “we will overcome.” Police again arrived including the Tactical team, which had more members at this point. This time the police beat and tear gassed the crowd. This continued early into the next morning when the crowd left.
Over the next few nights, the gay community and activists continued to gather and spread information. Less confrontations happened with the police, except for a small isolated incidents. By July 2nd, 1969 the Village Voice’s published a defamatory article in response to the riots. The community then gathered around the paper’s office, with more riots. The New York Times also published defamatory articles but kept them deep within others paper so the rioters wouldn’t notice and attack them. The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GSA) came out of these events.
The following year on June 28th, 1970 a group of gay activists organized a march from Christopher ST, following 6th Avenue up to Central Park. It initially began with a hundred or so people but soon had thousands marching along side spanning 15 blocks long. This was the first Gay Pride Parade. That same year, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago hosted their own Gay Pride Parade, after having been inspired by what happened in New York. Other states and countries followed suit over time, well into present day.
Unfortunately for this year, 2020, there will be no Gay Pride due to COVID, there will be many continuing to celebrate.