The Stonewall Inn was a large gay bar in Greenwich Village owned by a crime family during the 1960’s. It was cheap to get in, and it welcomed individuals from all across the LGBTQ spectrum, including drag queens and homeless gay youths. At the time, it was illegal for gay people to gather in spaces and have alcohol, but the owners paid off the police to ignore illegal activities at the bar. On June 28, 1969, however, the police raided the Stonewall Inn, arresting those who were bootlegging alcohol and those dressed in drag. Outside, the crowd of gay people grew bigger as the raid continued, and eventually this turned into a riot when a lesbian was hit in the head by a police officer and told the others to act against this injustice. Riots continued for five days. This event led to the creation of many gay rights organizations, including the Gay Liberation Front, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD (formerly Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and PFLAG (formerly Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). It catalyzed LGBT political action, and has since been designated as a national monument in recognition of the area’s contribution to gay rights.

Shared By: Robbie Angarone
Source: NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images
Image Alt Text: an altercation between gay individuals and the authorities