Seeds: For many of us, the idea of homophobia is slowly but surely becoming an antiquated idea, a relic of a less inclusive society. I mean, Ellen DeGeneres has become a national treasure that we watch religiously everyday at 3:00 (that might just be me, but you get my point), Mitch and Cam are our favorite characters on Modern Family, and the secretary of the US army is an openly gay man. With the current visibility of the gay community, it can become hard to remember that it was only 13 years ago that the criminalization of gay sex was deemed unconstitutional, and only a year ago that same-sex marriage was legalized on a national level. However, while the more substantive successes of the gay rights’ movement have occurred within the last 20 years, the moment that set the stage for the entire revolution was all the way back in 1969.
Core: On the night of June 28, 1969, a gay bar in New York City named the Stonewall Inn was raided by police, sparking several days of protests and rioting. In the weeks leading up the Stonewall police raid and subsequent riots, the gay community in New York City grew increasingly leery of the NYPD, as gay bars across the city were targeted by the police. The raid of Stonewall Inn was simply the last straw in a long chain of events leading to inevitable fallout.
Skin: The Stonewall Riots are now seen as a watershed moment in the gay rights’ movement and the protesters involved are revered as brave activists by many. The riots helped wake America up to an entire population of people to which the American citizens had previously turned a blind eye.
Leaves: The historical prominence of the Stonewall Inn has recently been recognized by New York City’s Landmark Preservation Committee, making it the first historic landmark dedicated to the LBGTQ+ movement. Also, a movie was made about the famous bar last year. Furthermore, the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community continues to be seen, especially this month, as President Obama declared June national Pride Month.
Food For Thought: How much has homophobia lessened in the last 50 years? Do you think this kind of protest would have a similar effect today?