Happy Pride Month!

By Henrike Kattoll

The month of June com­mem­o­rates a turn­ing point in many coun­tries’ LGBTQ+ his­to­ry. In the U.S., the Stonewall Riots mark this turn­ing point.

The Stonewall Inn is a gay bar locat­ed in Green­wich Vil­lage. Before the riots, the police rou­tine­ly raid­ed the Mafia-run gay bars to harass or detain mem­bers of the LGBTQ+ com­mu­ni­ty. On the morn­ing of June 28, 1969, a sur­prise raid took place at the Stonewall Inn. The angry patrons and neigh­bor­hood res­i­dents, fed up with the con­stant police harass­ment and social dis­crim­i­na­tion, gath­ered out­side the bar and became increas­ing­ly agi­tat­ed about the police aggres­sive­ly man­han­dling peo­ple. Soon after­ward, the onlook­ers began to throw objects – pen­nies, bot­tles, and cob­ble stones – at the police. The full-blown riot con­tin­ued for five more days, involv­ing thou­sands of peo­ple clash­ing with law enforce­ment on Christo­pher Street and neigh­bor­ing roads. The fab­u­lous Mar­sha P. John­son, a Black drag queen, is cred­it­ed for throw­ing the first stone – although she’s nev­er con­firmed it.

Stonewall Riots served as a cat­a­lyst for gay rights move­ments, like the Gay Lib­er­a­tion Front (GLF), Human Rights Cam­paign, GLAAD, and PFLAG that con­tin­ue the efforts of the Mat­ta­chine Soci­ety and Daugh­ters of Bili­tis. On the one-year anniver­sary of the Stonewall Riots, the GLF organ­ised “Christo­pher Street Lib­er­a­tion Day” – the first gay pride parade in the U.S. Today, pride parades take place all over the world to bol­ster LGBTQ+ rights as well as pro­mote vis­i­bil­i­ty and equal­i­ty of that com­mu­ni­ty. Addi­tion­al­ly, the rain­bow flag is recog­nised across the world as a sym­bol of cel­e­bra­tion of the LGBTQ+ community.

Thus far, three pres­i­dents have offi­cial­ly declared a pride month: Bill Clin­ton, Barack, Oba­ma, and more recent­ly, Joe Biden. In 2016, the site of the riots – Stonewall Inn, Christo­pher Park, and the sur­round­ing streets and side­walks – was turned into a nation­al mon­u­ment by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

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