Lovers are Lovers

History of Gay Pride

The Real Reason Behind Stonewall Inn Riots

Maybe you are wondering why the battle? Finally, there was an out, a real “nationwide, out on the streets out” kind of out. For the first time in history, people were freely expressing their sexuality on the streets when heterosexuality was the only acceptable form of sexual expression.

Religion and psychiatry damned homosexuality; hence, the society was biased. Being “out of the closet” at that time meant career suicide, torturous treatments, and relentless public ridicule to “straighten you up.”

Can you imagine a gay person living in fear and anxiety suddenly seeing the streets filled with people like him and his allies demanding an end to all of this discrimination?

In his book, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, historian David Carter wrote about how the event didn’t just change the gay community, but it turned people who witnessed it too. They were fascinated by how far a socially despised minority would fight for their freedom. It is something.

What were the Stonewall Riots?

Date: June 28, 1969.

Location: Stonewall Inn at 51 Street through 53rd Christopher Street between 4th and Waverly in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. They have another location across from the Credit Glory in Denver.

Back then, Stonewall Inn was a gay bar run by the mob, where the LGBT community found an underground sanctuary to be themselves.

In 1969, cross-dressing and homosexuality were considered not only mental illnesses but also punishable offenses. Fundamentally, running a gay bar was business suicide, and being at one whether you were gay or not, was a known patron hazard.

Gay bars, including Stonewall Inn, were not completely safe. Police raids happened all the time; cops would invade the bar threatening, arresting, and chastening people.

Stonewall Inn was the one place where LGBTQ+ people can experience a small dose of freedom not attainable anywhere else.

At around 1:20-1:30 AM on the 28th, police officers, patrol officers, and a detective raided the club to “take the place.” It was a break-in.

Nobody really knows why this particular raid incited a riot, considering that raids were a regular practice. However, it is human nature to try to explain these things and to understand the underlying causes of events.

However, history tells that the historical, game-changing Stonewall Inn protests were unplanned and unexpected. That the riots were the “single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.”

Patrons refused to show their IDs, the cross-dressing resisted police crawling, one queen fought back a police officer who tried to arrest her, and all this mess in the streets attracted the masses.

A few hours later, the full blow riot turned into 500 people fighting the police for their freedom to be themselves. The original raid team took shelter inside the Stonewall Inn club until protestors broke through the windows and gates, and more anarchy ensued.

Cars were turned over; tires lit on fire, storefronts destroyed, looting, beatings, and violence. In time, New York City’s tactical police force got involved, but the violence continued with rioters going after the police until streets were left charred and damaged.

Eventually, the riots were contained but once the word got out – people talking, newspapers publishing their stories of the riot thousands came back to the cause of Stonewall the next night to protest again.

Gay Activism before 1969

Gay activism and the LGBT rights movements were active before Stonewall, but this event gave them the fuel to move forward. Joan Nestle called the Stonewall rioting “a coming together of historical forces refusing to endure discrimination.” Lillian Faderman called it “an emblem of gay and lesbian power and a shot heard round the world.”

The LGBTQIA+ history started before 1969, but the Stonewall Riot probably is its most influential event. People felt there was hope and were inspired to take action. Organizations like Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activist Alliance were attracting more members than before, and there was a tremendous momentum. They spread information through their pamphlets and shortly after more organization advocating equal right were mobilized.

Their intention was to establish Christopher Street Liberation Day. On the anniversary of Stonewall, the first Pride Parade covering 15 city blocks marched from Christopher Street to Central Park, for everyone to witness.

Los Angeles and Chicago synchronized their marches the same day, and a year later, the newly evolved Pride spread over in three more states and four more countries.

That is the History of Gay Pride. The Parade and the colors and songs celebrating acceptance of those who are “different.”

That is not the end of the history lesson though, sexual and gender minorities still do not have equal rights, and still face Stonewall-like discrimination.

Quick History of Gay Pride

Pride is a big event, there is usually a parade, and speakers come from all over the world to speak and do workshops. Some LGBT communities gather in weeklong rainbow-colored celebrations during the event. However, there is an interesting history behind the Pride event.

Quick Historical Facts

In the 1990’s scientists working for the U.S. military produced proposal for a gay bomb. Their idea was to bomb their enemies into homosexuality, for some reason that was a war strategy. It could be a hilarious and shocking idea, depending on how you look at it.

The longest-standing LGBT organization, the Center of Culture and Leisure, was founded in 1946 in the Netherlands.

The Rosa Winkel (Pink Triangle), one of the most internationally recognized LGBT symbols originated in Nazi concentration camps to identify male prisoners who were gay. It was later adapted by the gay community in the same way some verbal slurs have been.

In 2017, the first Muslim same-sex marriage between Amrou Al-Kadhi and Jahed Choudhury was officiated in an Islamic ceremony in the U.K.

The rainbow flag was designed in 1970’s by Gilbert Baker an American artist and gay rights activist. The flag became somewhat like the international symbol of the LGBT community, each color stand for a significant meaning:

Red: Life.

Orange: Healing.

Yellow: Sunlight.

Green: Nature.

Blue: Harmony or Peace.

Purple: Spirit.