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The Stonewall Riots

Updated: Dec 26, 2021

The Stonewall Riots were protests in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. These riots are considered to be the uprising of LGBTQ+ rights in America.

In the 1960s members of the LGBTQ+ community were mistreated frequently, especially in New York. Gay bars were often subject to police harassment. The New York State Liquor Authority shut down facilities providing alcohol for individuals who were suspected of being LGBT members, arguing the gathering of homosexuals was "disorderly."

After many gay bars had shut down, one of the only; if not only bars left open was the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Inn became a target of a police raid on June 28, 1969. Nine policemen entered the club and arrested employees for selling alcohol without a license. They roughed up any of the bar's employers and arrested some for breaking New York's gender-appropriate clothing statute.

As a result, a riot began. The police, a couple of prisoners, and a writer of Village Voice barricaded the bar, which the mob tried to set fire to after they broke the barricade. The fire department managed to put out the fire, save those inside the bar, and disperse the crowd. Protests around the area continued for 5 days.

Although many other protests demanding rights for LGBTQ+ members had taken place, the Stonewall Riots are often believed as the most important because it was the first time lesbians, homosexuals, and transgender people saw beyond their differences and acted as a single party fighting for a shared cause. The Stonewall Riots also made way for more groups such as the Gay Liberation front.

Photo credit: Harvard Gazette



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