The Path to Pride: Stonewall Uprising

The Path to Pride: Stonewall Uprising
The Stonewall Inn signage in New York City, Photo Credit: Brian Logan Photography /

The wee hours at the bar—52 years ago today—turned into a revolution

Labanya Maitra
June 28 , 2021
04 Min Read

It was quite the time, the summer of ’69.

Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind, the age of flower power, it’s all very glamorous. But what also happened that June was something that reshaped the way we view people’s rights as individuals. And it all began at Stonewall Inn, a dingy little gay bar tucked away on Manhattan’s Christopher Street.

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Yesterday after taping an interview with @abcnews in front of @thestonewallinn I took in the moment to realize the gravity of the Supreme Court victory, the significance of where I was, and how much more we have to do. âÂÂÂÂÂœŠðŸ¾ . .Photo credit: @villagescotty . . .#transgender #nonbinary #genderqueer #qtpoc #queer #transgirls #transguy #lgbtqia #intersectionality #transmemes #genderstudies #transgenderism #transing #translash #transisbeautiful #ftm #hrt #girlslikeus #BlackTransLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter #GeorgeFloydProtests #protests2020 #PrideMonth #AimeeStephens #SupremeCourt #SCOTUS #TransLash #BlackTransLivesMatter #ACLU #stonewall #stonewallinn @translash @stonewallfoundation

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Stonewall Inn wasn’t much unlike the other gay bars in New York’s Greenwich Village. It was run by the mob, sold cheap liquor in expensive bottles, unlicensed, and was raided every few days by the police. That is until the night for June 27, 1969. It was the early hours of June 28, to be precise.

Back in the 1960s, homosexuality had been classified as a mental illness, and the liquor licensing authorities refused to hand out liquor licenses to bars that served gay patrons. It was here that the Mafia saw an opportunity, and greased the palms of the police to run their haunts.

The NYPD’s crackdown on these gay bars would usually happen in the early evening, where staff and patrons—especially members of the trans community who wouldn’t dress as per their assigned sex—would be arrested. But at Stonewall that night, something was different. It was after midnight, and the police had sent in officers in plain clothes to identify staff. As the police stormed in and club-goers filed out, they didn’t disperse like they normally would. Instead, the crowd gathered across the street, and started growing.

Spirits were high, as was the anger.

This was the first time the gay community came together to express their fury over the discrimination. Pocket change flew at the police first, followed by bottles and bits and pieces of trash. Eventually, it was entire trash cans, and the police had to barricade themselves inside the Stonewall Inn. Patrons, however, hadn’t had enough. Using an uprooted parking meter as a battering ram, they stormed into Stonewall and set it ablaze.

What followed was six days of riots and protests, better known as the Stonewall Uprising today.

New York City Pride Parade, 2018

Read: Pride Month Events You Can Join From Your Couch

A year later, activists commemorated this uprising with what was called the Christopher Street Liberation Day; it was the first gay pride march. What happened that night at Stonewall Inn paved the path of resistance for the entire LGBTQ+ community. June is now designated as Pride Month, and pride parades are held annually the world over.

The events of one night changed the lives of an entire community, forever.

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