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The 50th Anniversary of The Stone Wall Uprising


ken barber
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During the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the New York City Police raided the Stonewall Inn. By itself this raid was not at all unusual. Members of the LGBT Community in New York and almost everywhere where used to these raids. The difference with this raid is the bar patrons and community members that had quickly gathered around had had enough. There is a lot of speculation as to who and what was initially thrown at the police. Some say a brick, some say a bottle and some say a high heel shoe. I personally love the High heel shoe story. But what happened at the moment was a match setting off a powder keg The LGBT  community was done being second class citizens. 50 years later and we celebrate that moment of defiance. There is still a long way to go in the fight for equal rights for our whole community but this year we pause and look back at how far we have come. 

 

For more information here are some links 

 

wikipedia

"it all began at Stonewall and other Fairy tales"

History.com

How the Stonewall Riots Sparked a Movement | History - YouTube

Stonewall riots anniversary: How the New York media covered the gay ...

www.today.com "stonewall riots witnesses mark 50 years since historic rebellion"

 

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In the summer of ’69 I was between my junior and senior year in high school and working in a tourist town. Young, dumb, and full of … hormones, I had better things to do than watch the news (except the moon landing), so if the riots were reported at all in my conservative area, I missed it.

I can tell you about what it was like living there at that time as a gay boy. It was a time of great fear for me. I was always gay and had crushes on other boys from the time I was six. At the same time, I learned what the word Queer meant. I was never a brave boy and when other boys tossed out that taunt at each other I knew that I had better keep my head down. My older brother used to tell me about going to the nearby city with his football teammates to roll queers. They lurked in the parking lot of the only little gay bar and waited to catch a man walking alone. Then they would beat and rob him. There was never any consequence for them.

Homosexuality wasn’t talked about except with scorn and hatred. Mostly the local news never reported anything about us, except for when someone was arrested for sex. Then the papers would print their names and addresses for everyone to see. I stayed in the closet all through college and suffered all of the angst and discomfort of having to date girls in order to keep up the pretense of being straight. I hated it.

Finally, I picked up an Advocate newspaper and saw that I wasn’t one of hundreds of gays. I was part of millions of other boys like me, so I moved to Atlanta and got into all sorts of wonderful trouble. I spent the following decades trying to continue the work that the Stonewall folk started. I am so grateful for their bravery that opened the door for me. I think I would have committed suicide if I had been forced to live like that for much longer.

The thing is, I never got over that childhood of intense fear and loneliness. Parts of that little boy still hides in me today.

 

 

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Parker,

Thank you for sharing. The fear all of us older LGBTQIA+ people experienced will live with us forever. I still look over my shoulder frequently waiting for someone to say or do something. That fear has only lessened slightly for the younger generations and in some areas of the world is even worse now.

 

Thank you again. we must always remember our past and never stop fighting for our future

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