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The Stonewall Uprising - Inspiring Change

In the 1960s, hostility towards those who did not conform to broadly-accepted norms was rampant.  This was evident in the treatment to those who lived openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) person.

Perhaps surprising today, these sentiments were especially harsh in New York City. Laws provided you could be arrested for wearing less than three articles of clothing that -- according to convention - matched your sex. It was illegal to serve alcoholic beverages to homosexuals. Married men and women needed to live their homosexual lives in secret. Blackmail was not uncommon. 

Fueled by this social context, on June 28, NYC police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. After police, acting without respect for human dignity, roughly forced employees and patrons out of the bar, the community took action. What followed was the Stonewall Uprising - protests in the community that served to both draw attention to these injustices and launched the gay rights movement. 

Two leading participants in the Stonewall Uprising were Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, both transgender women of color. A memorial to this brave pair is being built in Greenwich Village, the first monument to transgender activists in the world. This memorial is part of a national park dedicated to the memory of the Stonewall Uprising. 

The first Pride march took place in New York City on June 28, 1970 on the one-year anniversary of that horrible scene in Greenwich Village. 

Now over 50 years later, protests occur across the country, and the world, on this date to celebrate Gay Pride and the rights and respect all people should experience. 

Stonwall 1 pic     Stonewall 2 pic