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  • Karen McPhail

50th Anniversary of Stonewall

It all began a little after 3 a.m., on June 28th, 1969 when police raided the Stonewall Inn.

This was a turning point in history as the New York LGBT community had grown weary of the police targeting gay clubs, and subsequently forcing many to close.


For five nights in June of 1969, many courageous individuals rose up at the Stonewall Inn to demand LGBT equality. The exact number of participants is unknown, however some project hundreds of thousands participated as many have publicly shared their stories and some are members of the Stonewall Veterans' Association (SVA). These include: Virginia Apuzzo, Martin Boyce, Raymond Castro, Danny Garvin, William Henderson, Jerry Hoose, Marsha P. Johnson, Carl J. Keller, Jr., Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, Dick Leitsch, Leigh McManus, Daria Modon, John O'Brien, Electra O'Mara, Yvonne Ritter, Sylvia Rivera, Craig Rodwell, Fred Sargeant, Martha Shelley, Howard Smith, Lucian Truscott, Terri Van Dyke, Dave West, and Doric Wilson, to name just a few.


These initial demonstrations in New York were the beginning of and the driving force for the formation of the Gay Liberation Front as well as other gay, lesbian, and bisexual civil rights organizations. It is regarded by many, as it should be, as history’s first major protest on behalf of equal rights for LGBT individuals!


On June 24, 2016, the Stonewall Inn was officially recognized as a National Historic Landmark by President Barack Obama due to its association with events represent the struggle for civil rights in America. Historically, The Stonewall Inn is the first LGBT National Historic Landmark.


Nearly 50 years after the Stonewall Rebellion the work of these LGBT pioneers continues as this has become an annual civil rights demonstration. On the first anniversary of Stonewall, June 1970, the very first gay pride march was held in Manhattan and the momentum has continued! Since that time, millions of LGBT demonstrations, pride marches, parades, festivals, picnics, parties, and symposia have taken place and June has been declared LGBT Pride Month to honor the 1969 Stonewall uprising.


For the first time, WorldPride is coming to the United States, it's no surprise that New York is hosting and it is sold out!!


Over the years, its purpose has changed a bit and even broadened to include recognition of the fight against AIDS and to remember those we have lost their lives to illness, violence, discrimination, and neglect. Preserving and remembering moments in LGBT history is important and needs to be done even more so involving LGBT older adults. On the 50th anniversary tell others your story, make your voice heard by joining millions in the continued fight for the rights of LGBT individuals of every age, race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity! Participate in LGBT Pride celebrations, host an events, and continue these initiatives throughout the year by visiting: https://stonewallforever.org


Sources:

https://www.biography.com/news/stonewall-riots-history-leaders

https://stonewallforever.org

https://www.iloveny.com/event/2019-worldpride/43679/

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-stonewall-riot



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