THE STONEWALL INN

GA Voice - - Front Page -

The 1950s and 60s were, in many ways, a dark time for our coun­try. The Civil Rights move­ment was fully un­der­way, and the in­fa­mous McCarthy hear­ings held Amer­ica in an in­vis­i­ble prison of para­noia, shame, and se­crecy. Most Amer­i­cans know of these hear­ings as a witch hunt for com­mu­nists, but these hear­ings in­cluded any­one and any­thing that could be deemed “un-Amer­i­can.” Among the sus­pected com­mu­nists and an­ar­chists, ho­mo­sex­u­als were noted and tracked by the FBI and

June 8, 2018

State Depart­ment. Sen­a­tor Clyde R. Hoey, a Demo­crat from North Carolina, stated that, “It is gen­er­ally be­lieved that those who en­gage in overt acts of per­ver­sion lack the emo­tional sta­bil­ity of nor­mal per­sons,” and that [gov­ern­ment agen­cies], “are in com­plete agree­ment that sex per­verts in gov­ern­ment con­sti­tute se­cu­rity risks.” In the wake of the Or­lando Pulse mas­sacre in 2016, many spoke out that gay bars are still one of the only places that the LGBTQ com­mu­nity can gather without fear of judg­ment. In 1969, how­ever, po­lice raids were com­mon­place us­ing laws against gay peo­ple. Anti-sodomy laws and gen­dered­cloth­ing laws, among oth­ers, leg­is­lated against what was deemed in­de­cency. The Stonewall Inn was founded in 1966 by the Gen­ovese crime fam­ily. Though the bar did not have proper li­cen­sure, po­lice were paid to stay away and for in­for­mants to no­tify the own­ers in the event of a planned raid. The morn­ing of June 28th, that warn­ing did not come. Po­lice raided the bar and pro­ceeded to ar­rest all pa­trons. In these raids, po­lice would line up those in­side, check for proper iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, and ar­rest those who did not have ID or were cross­dress­ing. Drag queens and women not wear­ing at least three pieces of “fem­i­nine” cloth­ing were the first hauled off to jail. That night, so many pa­trons were wait­ing out­side to be trans­ported to jail, that a large crowd of roughly 150 peo­ple formed. Ten­sions flared fi­nally break­ing out into full-blown vi­o­lence. The crowd quickly grew to an es­ti­mated 600 peo­ple and the po­lice were out­num­bered. For ap­prox­i­mately four hours, the riot con­tin­ued. In the end, 13 peo­ple were ar­rested and four po­lice of­fi­cers were in­jured. The next night, hun­dreds of gay peo­ple, tourists, and, res­i­dents of Christo­pher Street gath­ered at the Stonewall Inn. Ri­ots again broke out be­tween 2am and 4am.

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