Friday, June 28, 2019

50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.  Stonewall is considered the birth of the Gay Rights Movement.  So here's what happened...

Back in the 1950s and 1960s things weren't good for gay people.  They aren't always great now but they were particularly bad back then.  Being gay was considered a mental illness, you could be fired from your job or evicted from your apartment just for being gay.  Due to morality laws it was illegal for gay people to meet up in public, it was even illegal to serve alcohol to a known homosexual.  If you were arrested for being gay, your name and photograph would often be in the paper the next morning which is how employers and landlords knew who to fire or evict.

The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York City.  On 28 June 1969, the police came and did a routine raid to arrest the patrons.  This time though the people fought back.  There were more protests over the next several days.  The Gay Rights Movement began.

On the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Riot, the first gay pride march took place in New York.  In 1970, marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.  In 1971, marches also were held in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin, and Stockholm.  1972 saw the first marches in Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C., Miami, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia.  Today, Pride parades are held worldwide.

In 2016, the bar was declared a national monument.  Just a few weeks ago the New York City Police Commissioner issued a formal apology for the actions of the police officers at Stonewall in 1969.

Here's a short video I found out on YouTube about the riots.


What's insane to me is that there are still U.S. states where it is still perfectly legal to fire someone or evict them for being gay.  Only 24 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam have state laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.  About 150 cities and counties have also enacted bans on discrimination.  Gay marriage is legal in the USA but in 26 states it would be absolutely legal to fire someone because he or she got married.

The Equality Act would make discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity illegal nationwide.  But it's had a tough time getting through Congress.  And the Trump Administration has rolled back many most of the few protections that were previously put in place by President Obama.

This year I've got three Pride events on my calendar.  Two weeks ago was EuroPride in Vienna, then in three weeks in Bratislava Pride and Prague Pride is in August.  I expect to be "prided" out by the end of the summer.

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