June 28 marked the 53rd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Now an iconic landmark, the Stonewall Inn was the site of a massive push for LGBTQ+ rights in the US.
In 1969, the Greenwich Village club played a large part in the underground gay scene when, at the time, homosexual activity was strictly prohibited. Raids on gay clubs were common as a result of authorities catching wind of their existence.
On June 28, 1969, officers raided the establishment and arrested 13 people, including employees and people violating the state’s gender-appropriate clothing statute.
Annoyed with police harassment and discrimination, angry bargoers and neighborhood residents remained at the Stonewall Inn where a full-blown riot involving hundreds of people unfolded. A mob would remain for five more days. The uprising was known as the turning point in the gay liberation movement.
Stonewall’s lasting legacy
No doubt about it, the uprising has made a lasting effect on LGBTQ+ history.
A year after the riots thousands of people took to the streets of Manhattan from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park in what was widely known as America’s first gay pride parade. The parade’s official chant was: “Say it loud, gay is proud.”
In 2016, President Barack Obama declared the site of the riots—Stonewall Inn a national monument in recognition of the area’s contribution to gay rights.
This year, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul and Senator Chuck Schumer broke ground on what will become the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center.
The center will be a place to honor and preserve the history of the fight for LGBTQ rights.
Additionally, the establishment will be known as the first-ever LGBTQ+ visitor center in the U.S. national parks system.
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