NEW YORK (PIX11) – With the start of LGBTQ Pride Month, it’s important to remember the roots of the activism where it all began.
LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, which served as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
Pride Month is recognized in countries all around the world. Parades, marches and a variety of events are held in June to celebrate LGBTQ people and culture. The NYC Pride March, the marquee event in New York City set for June 26, is considered the largest Pride parade in the United States.
In addition to the celebrations, Pride Month is also a time to honor the legacy of LGBTQ rights activism. Pride Month wouldn’t exist without the modern LGBTQ rights movement. The Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan was a major turning point.
The Stonewall Uprising, also known as the Stonewall riots, resulted from the frustration LGBTQ people felt about the harassment and discrimination they faced from the police and the law.
New York City’s sodomy laws in the 1960s made it illegal for LGBTQ people to be open about their lives. Gay bars in the city often experienced raids from police who would harass and arrest people engaging in illegal behavior.
The Stonewall riots began in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn – a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village – in the early morning of June 28, 1969. Police officers surprised the bar’s patrons by coming in to make arrests. But the raid didn’t go as planned for police.
Instead of dispersing after police shut down the bar, Stonewall Inn patrons and neighborhood residents congregated outside. The crowd grew angry in response to police actions and the situation escalated as protesters started yelling chants and throwing objects at officers.
Police called in backup and attempted to clear the crowd from outside the bar, but it eventually sparked rioting in the streets lasting into the morning. Riots and demonstrations continued in Greenwich Village over the next several days until July 3.
Aftermath of the Stonewall riots
The Stonewall Uprising led to the creation of multiple gay activist groups in the United States and inspired movements around the world in the fight for LGBTQ equality.
Viewed as a momentous event in the fight for gay liberation, the Stonewall riots have been commemorated with an annual march since 1970.
The Stonewall Inn was designated as a national monument by President Barack Obama in 2016 to honor the LGBTQ equality movement.