Pride events are gearing up, and I have a lot to say about a few things that have been on my mind lately.
Even people entrenched in the LGBTQIA+ community may not know that the first Pride was celebrated to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which occurred in 1969.
The Stonewall Inn in New York City was a popular bar where the poorest and most marginalized people in the queer community congregated, including butch lesbians, drag queens and transgender individuals, effeminate gay men, homeless youth, and queer sex workers.
In the 1960s, homosexuality was still illegal and it was also required that an individual wore at least three items of clothing that matched their gender assigned to them at birth.
Police raids were common, but since the Stonewall was run by the mafia who profited off their clientele, they generally paid off the police.
In June of 1969, the two hundred-some patrons of the Stonewall Inn were raided by police. Their IDs were checked and recorded and some police took customers dressed as women to the bathroom to “verify their sex.” There was inappropriate handling of queer women by police. And they had collectively had enough.