On June 28th, 1969, the police raided the place. They turned the lights on and ask everyone to show their ids. The police took all men dressed as women to a back room to verify their sex, since men in drag had to be arrested. By doing this, some policemen took advantage of some lesbians and touched them inappropriately. At some point men refused to show their ids and drag queens would not get into the patrol wagons. There was a huge crowd outside the inn who was singing and started humiliating the police members.
They burnt objects and threw them inside the inn, where many of the police men were. The multitude acted in outrageous ways and fought against the members of the police. The police had never been confronted by the gay community, they were not used to that, so they were running away and asking for help. Members of the LGBT community jumped on cars and protested for their rights and against the violation of them.
This event was the beginning of a new era for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It proved that sometimes in order to make a change, violence is needed.
The aftermath After the Stonewall Riots in 1969 many gay activists groups were born or grew up. Gays & lesbians established the organization called the Gay Liberation Front to help the people arrested, to collect money for striking workers and to link the battle for gay rights to socialism. The GLF became a worlwide organization and it spread to Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Australia, and New Zealand.
An example of this, John O’Brien, one of the GLF activists stated that Stonewall’s legacy is that
“it created a much more militant movement of people demanding their rights, not begging for rights and not accepting less than full human equality. And it was international in its impact. ” Furthermore, they were not only confronting the police offficers, for them, it was the way to defend and protect their freedom for expression. The word “Stonewall” has become the Gays Lesbian Bisexuals and Transgenders emblem because it reminds them of the struggle they had to go through to fight for their rights and to fight against oppression.
According to Pamela Skillings article “The Stonewall Riots. New York’s Stonewall is a Landmark in Gay History” , the following year after the struggle and the confrontation between the police and the LGBT community, a march was held by 5000 to 10000 men and women to commemorate the day that changed gays and lesbians lives around the world. The GLF does not exist anymore; however, Gay Pride is still present and stronger than ever along with the gay pride which is celebrated during the month of June each year in several countries and cities including the New York City’s Gay Pride Week.
The LGBT Community current situation: Nowadays, gay’s situation is still far away from being fully free to express their sexuality. However, there is a huge gap between after the Stonewall riots and their current situation as they were even classified as mentally illed people just because of their sexual preferences. Furthermore, according to Lionel Wright in his article “The Stonewall Riots – 1969 — A Turning Point in the Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Liberation” if two men or women were caught holding hands in public they were arrested.
Therefore, of course there are still much more rights to fight for, but after the Stonewall Riots gays and lesbians were able to hold hands in public, to kiss, to show affection for each other and even now, to get married in several countries. Conclusion To conclude, we have explained how the Stonewall Riots were the way that the LGBT Community found in order to defend their sexual preferences and their rights. In addition, we have also shown the consequences of that day and how
it improved gays and lesbians social situation until nowadays. This day shows us sometimes you got to stand up and say : Its enough! , that sometimes you have to fight back for yourself, for your rights, even when you are going against what people believe is right. This is what the LGBT Community dared to do, they decided to fight back, not to let the police officers take advantage of their position, they decided they had the same rights heterosexual people have and started the riot.
It is not about being violent or aggressive to other people; it is about defending your ideals and principles and about being courageous enough to go against other beliefs.