Celebrate World Pride in NYC! 50 Years of Stonewall!
2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the birth of Gay Rights activism, making New York City the home for World Pride. These days we know Gay Pride as a movement for equality for all who identify as LGTBQIA. It has brought us powerful progressive legislation and now the first openly gay Presidential candidate. But in late June 1969 it was the actions of a few brave people that galvanized a community, and little could they have imagined how far we would come!
The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village was central to the then underground gay scene. It would often be raided by police, and patrons would be subjected to humiliating and degrading searches. Those arrested were open to blackmail, and the ever-looming threat of raids and arrests made life extremely stressful for those who had to live very much in the closet. By the summer of 1969 many had had enough. The police showed up to the Stonewall Inn in the early hours one weekend, but this time, instead of complying, the customers fought back. Whilst the police where holding onto to some folk to transport them to the local station, others were told to leave. They refused and instead congregated outside. Within minutes around 150 people had gathered with word spreading fast. At first it was quiet and good humored but when the police kept trying to force a woman into a wagon and she asked the crowd for help, things took a turn. Pennies and bottles were thrown, and the police retaliated with force. Decades of pent up anger from second class treatment and worse then erupted into two full days of rioting.
The following year, in commemoration of those who stood up for their civil rights, the first Gay Pride March took place organized by the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee. It took up 15 city blocks, and the times slowly began to change. Over the subsequent years Pride organizations have been established all over the world. Rallies to celebrate, to motivate, to change and to elevate have taken place. Gay Rights groups have had homosexuality declassified as a mental disorder, have championed equal rights, gotten better healthcare and support especially for those with HIV/AIDS, ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and establish Civil Unions and Marriage for all. The Journey from 1969 to 2019 has been a long and difficult one and many didn’t make it, but people have never forgotten that night in June and those who said NO MORE.
The Heritage Pride Organization now runs the Pride events in NYC and has created a month’s worth of celebration and commemoration for #stonewall50 for everyone to enjoy. This will be the biggest gayest party the world has ever seen, and New York can’t wait!