75 50 YEARS SINCE THE STONEWALL UPRISING
On 28 June 1969, people were fed up. That summer night, homosexual, bisexual and transgender citizens were drinking and socialising at the Stonewall Inn, a shabby, lively tavern on Christopher Street. Suddenly, New York police officers raided the bar, as they often did, demanding identification and proof that male and female patrons were wearing gender- appropriate clothing. Those in violation would be jailed.
But in New York — as in other cities across America, and around the world — queers had reached their limit of systematic discrimination, criminalisation, and police harassment. At Stonewall that night, they finally fought back. They fought for six days and nights in fiery riots that ignited the global LGBT+ civil rights movement.
A year later, the Stonewall uprising was marked with protest marches in several US cities, employing the original 1966 “P. R. I. D. E.” acronym ( Personal Rights In Defense and Education). Modern LGBT+ Pride marches, while more celebratory, carry on the legacy of that fateful night when fairies, dykes, trans folks, queens, and sex workers began battling for their civil rights.
Today, the Stonewall National Monument is America’s first national park focused on LGBT+ history. It was created in 2016 when President Barack Obama designated 7.7 acres along Christopher and adjacent streets part of the monument.
Meanwhile, the Stonewall Inn lives on as a go- to Manhattan bar and performance venue where patrons can raise their glasses high in honour of LGBT+ community heritage and enduring fortitude.