Queer Youth Media Literacy Project

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The Stonewall Riots

The 1960s were an important decade for gay rights activism in the US. It was the decade where underrepresented people, such as African Americans, women, and LGBTQ, came out in the street and raised their voices for social justice and equality. The Stonewall riots of 1969 were the defining moments of gay rights movements in the US. Among many, two most significant points should be noted about the riots. First, they are frequently cited as the first instance in the US that gay community fought back against a government-sponsored body who persecuted sexual minorities. Second, it inspired other gay rights activities and organizations not only in New York City, where the riots occurred, but only in other major cities across the nation, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, in the following years.

The Stonewall riots happened on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City when the police raided the patrons of the inn. The inn was owned by Mafia who had no liquor license. It was a place to hang out for social minorities, such as poor workers and gay groups. When the police raided the inn, these groups of social minorities were treated violently and unjustly. Some of the patrons who got out of the police raid started gathering outside of the inn and collecting the crowd and protesting against the police harassment towards LGBTQ individuals. The incident motivated the birth and growth of many other gay rights organizations, such as Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance. The riots

also raised the consciousness of LGBTQ people to see the importance of visibility; thus, to celebrate the outcry of the Stonewall riots and the power that the riots revealed, Gay Pride was organized. The first Gay Pride march took place on June 28, 1969, exactly one year after the riots, on Christopher Street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood where the riots took place. Gay Pride was spread out to other cities immediately and become one of the major events for LGBTQ communities.


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