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Saturday, June 02, 2007

PRELUDE


It started in 1969 in New York City on the evening of June 27th.


The Stonewall Inn, a very popular gay hangout in the Greenwich Village section of the city, was packed with its usual crowd.

What was somewhat unusual about the night was that New York City Alcohol and Beverage Control Board agents, along with a group of NYPD officers, raided the bar to enforce a seldom-used law.

This action was not uncommon, as raids on gay establishments were carried out around the city with virtually no resistance. Patrons were escorted out of their gathering places, sometimes by force, occasionally beaten, and quite regularly arrested for no just reason. And in fact, the raid on this night was the second on that very establishment in less than seven days.

But there was one thing very different about this night.


Lesbian and gay men decided spontaneously and for the very first time to fight the police harassment. The crowd, both inside and outside of the bar, erupted with violent resistance as the officers began to pick and choose which customers would be hauled off to jail. More and more law enforcement officers were summoned, and the patrons became even more united in increased outrage.

Word of this event spread like wildfire, and larger throngs gathered on the following nights to denounce and protest the mistreatment. These rallies became known as the "Stonewall Rebellion" and the "March on Stonewall," and were the genesis of the modern gay and lesbian freedom movement. They were directed against the violence and widespread discrimination against the community. Out of these demonstrations was born the gay community's quest for equality, liberation, and basic civil rights.

Prior to that summer there was little public expression of the lives and experiences of gays and lesbians. The Stonewall Riots marked the beginning of the gay liberation movement that has transformed the oppression of gays and lesbians into calls for pride and action. In the past twenty-five years we have all been witness to an astonishing flowering of gay culture that has changed this country and beyond, forever.


Featuring the Art of Joe Phillips

6 comments:

RIC said...

Congratulations, dear Don, for this great post!
I cannot imagine how things would be today for us all in the western part of the world if it weren't for those people and those events.
(I've to that place while I was in NYC! A kind of pilgrimage...)

Have a great Sunday! :-)

BostonPobble said...

Amazing what can happen when a small group of people stand up and say "no more." And TTG for them and their courage!

ConnieJane said...

Great post! LOVE the art! Thanks for sharing.

nancy =) said...

there are only 2 things that keep me consistently happy these days: 1 is shopping at target and the other is this blog...awesome post, keep em coming...

love u =)

~ n
xoxox

Nancy said...

Great post...United we stand / divided we fall. no matter what the cause...it works if we all stick togather.
Some people just feel they have or were born with the power of entitlement...

thanks for the pep talk

D-Man said...

Thank you for the reminder, my friend. Let's not forget why 'pride' celebrations are in June...