During the early hours of June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village. What happened after that was the start of something huge. As police removed employees and patrons at the club that early morning, 6 days of protests and violent clashes between the protesters and law enforcement followed.
Though the Stonewall Riots weren’t technically the start to the gay rights movement, it was the force that led to the formation of many gay rights organizations and LGBTQ+ political activism.
MARSHA P. JOHNSON
One of the key figures at the Stonewall Riots was Marsha P. Johnson, an activist, self-identified drag queen, and performer. Oh, the P. in their name, it stood for “Pay It No Mind” when asked about their gender or when answering individuals who made negative comments about their appearance or life choices.
THE FIRST PRIDE PARADE
These riots that Marsha P. Johnson was instrumental in leading, served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement, not only in the United States, but around the world. A year later on June 28, 1970, thousands of individuals took to the streets marching from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park and this was essentially the first gay pride parade. The official chant for what was known as the “Christopher Street Liberation Day” was “Say it loud, gay is proud.”
In June, we celebrate pride to honor these riots that took place and while we have made great strides, even today, many are not able to live out loud their authentic selves for various reasons. Nearly 52 years after the Stonewall Riots that catalyzed the change by fueling the gay rights movement, we still see violence towards LGBTQ+ humans.
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