Riots, not Parades

40 Years of Stonewall

The Stonewall Inn was a small bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, New York City. It was rumored to be owned by the Mafia, but to most people it was a quiet place where gay people in 1960s New York City could go to socialize and be out of the closet for a few brief hours. In 1960s New York City, it was illegal for bars to serve liquor to homosexuals or suspected homosexuals. The lawmakers in the state felt that homosexuals were a menace and by giving them liquor, trouble was just around the corner. Like the few other gay bars in the area at the time, the Stonewall Inn operated without a liquor license. Raids for serving liquor illegally were quite common, almost a nightly occurence. The police would enter a bar, force the patrons outside, arrest most or all of them, and fine the bar owners. Many times, the arrested men and women had their names published in the papers the next day, which meant they were in constant danger of losing jobs and homes.

But that June night in 1969 was different.

Around 3 AM, several policemen entered the bar and ordered the patrons outside. Many of the patrons, mostly white men, were docile and followed orders. Some of the other patrons, Hispanic and African Americans and drag queens, were roughed up by police as they were forced outside. When the growing crowd saw the police acting this way, they started tossing pennies and shouting at them. Soon, the crowd grew angrier and started throwing beer bottles and garbage cans. The police barricaded themselves inside the Stonewall Inn and called for backup. While inside, they began smashing the place to bits: mirrors, tables, cigarette machines, all destroyed (the police were never charged with vandalism). Backup police soon arrived in full riot gear. The confrontation with the crowd lasted into the morning hours, and flare-ups and small riots continued for the next few days.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pxBhn3y4MY
[Video found at Bleeding Queers]

Everyone was shocked that the homosexuals fought back. Most gay people at the time were so afraid of losing everything when outed that they stayed in the closet and out of the way of the police. But these riots proved to the police and to the world that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered men and women of New York City, and the world, would not give up without a fight.  The Stonewall Riots are regarded as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. Marches are held in many cities each year at the end of June to commemerate this historic event. The Stonewall Riots stand for oppressed people demanding to be treated as human beings, as the Constitution of the United States promises.

More at Wikipedia

  

9 thoughts on “Riots, not Parades”

  1. (the coin-throwing has some beauty in it’s own: bystanders were wondering about the commotion, ’til someone said: “They didn’t pay off the cops!”, to which someone else yelled: “Let’s pay them off!”)

  2. these riots proved to the police and to the world that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered men and women of New York City, and the world, would not give up without a fight. The Stonewall Riots are regarded as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. Marches are held in many cities each year at the end of June to commemerate this historic event. The Stonewall Riots stand for oppressed people demanding to be treated as human beings, as the Constitution of the United States promises

    Josh – I hope you’re quoting this from somewhere rather than writing it, because it is a typical example of the mis-representation of the stonewall riots by the modern gay movement – the modern gay movement which re-invents the past to serve its own narrow contemporary purposes.

    My first thought was that to be true to the history of the event itself the list should say “gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and boyloving”. Then I realised that actually the words lesbian, transgendered and even bisexual (probably even ‘gay’) are totally anachronistic … not only the words, but probably the concepts as well. When the word ‘gay’ was originally adopted it included all those other categories (including boylover) and many more: the need for a list (LGBT and as many more as you feel politically-correctly-obliged to add) just shows how much the ‘gay’ movement has become impoverished and dulled and divided.

    Read Destroyer – from the first to the current edition – to see how the contemporary narrow view of gay politics is self-persecuting, self-oppressive, dishonest about its own history, and the product of a ‘community’ in denial and at war within itself. For those who don’t know: destroyermag dot com.

    – The Rimmer

  3. Rimmer, you are absolutely right! The current “gay” world is an affront to the freedom we once had. If you don’t believe me read some of the freaks who come to write on Josh’s tiny chat site. Aside from Josh and only a handful of others, most of the people coming to this blog are quite repressive. Most only parrot what has become modern revisionist gay dogma. In most instances I would rather take my chances with the “straight” world today.

  4. “The current “gay” world is an affront to the freedom we once had.”

    Ah, yes, I remember the good ol’ days; Sodomy as a capital crime, execution and imprisonment, sodomy as a non-capital criminal offence, fines and defamation, sodomy as a de facto abomination, vigilante ‘justice’, Aushwitz, Matthew Shepard, Anita Bryant, no political clout, no job security, shunned by all religious leaders; good times, good times.

    You’re ‘imaginary golden-age’ fallacy is just barely worse than the well-poisoning/strawman/ad hominem trifecta that follows.

    I’m not sure what exactly you mean by ‘modern revisionist gay dogma’, but I can walk down the street in my town, I can go to class in a Catholic college, and I can walk into a bar and buy a drink (…except that I’m 20 and a teetotaler…) without being brutally murdered. I tend to call that progress. Not as far as we can and will go (as long as the phrase ‘gay panic defense’ exists, what we’re experiencing is a parody of justice), but progress.

  5. MrChives and fanofgrendel are our resident moral pricks and defenders of the status quo.
    It comes as no fucking surprise to me MrChives that you go to a Catholic college. I suspect you may even be the next Pope.
    You can kiss my ass MrChives.
    Fuck you and your moralist drivel.

  6. Stonewall was important because it marked the first time gay people realized that we did not need to ASK for our rights to be recognized, we needed to DEMAND that they be recognized. Mr. Jefferson wrote “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.”

    That seems to be the part of the quote that everybody remembers, but it is the words that follow that are even more important.
    “That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”

    Our rights are not granted to us by government, they are ours by birthright.

    I’m past the point where I care much about how the straight world thinks of me. I don’t much care whether they “accept” me or not. But I’ll be damned if I will accept anything less than full recognition of the rights that I was born with.

  7. If the Stonewall riots are just history for you, I highly recommend the 1995 British movie “Stonewall”. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114550/ It’s a regular movie, not a documentary, but it accurately depicts the incredible repression back then. It is also a really entertaining movie. It’s about a Southern gay boy, Mattie, that moves to New York City because, well, that’s all there was back then. You discover what gay society is like as he discovers it. (Yes, it’s true that the few gay bars that existed back then were controlled by the Mafia). When the riot finally happens at the end, you’ll be standing up and cheering with Mattie.

  8. That’s annoying…ahem—-anyone who doesn’t know what the Latin phrase ad hominem means, GO GET A DICTIONARY. Stop attacking me personally, and engage in a process of thought that yields some understanding of the ISSUES being discussed. That being said, I am -despite the fact that I attend a Catholic University- an atheist. Now, what I’m saying might be drivel, but where is it moralist? The only thing I’ve said is that we have made progress. I think its obvious that we have. I also conveyed the opinion that (this is important!) we’re not where we should be. I’m not arguing for the preservation of the status quo. I’m merely saying that the status quo is better than it once was. Because what it once was is what it STILL IS in some Middle Eastern countries, and If you think that’s better, If you feel as though that’s the golden age that we backwards democracies have lost, feel free to move there.

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