Understand the Stonewall uprising, a turning point in LGBTQ activism


Did You Know?
The Stonewall Uprising The Stonewall uprising was a series of confrontations between police and gay rights activists beginning on June 28, 1969. While not the start of the gay rights movement, the uprising served as an important catalyst for future activism. At the time, discriminatory laws against the LGBTQ community existed in most urban areas, including New York City. Gay bars, like the Stonewall Inn, were places for members of the community to socialize free from harassment. However, these bars were also frequently subjected to police raids. In the early morning hours of Saturday, June 28, 1969, police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, the second time that week. Police cleared the bar, roughing up and arresting patrons, but, unlike before, the crowd did not disperse. Instead, they jeered at the police and began to throw bottles and debris. The officers barricaded themselves in the bar as the crowd began to fight back. Over the next five days, the riots outside the Stonewall Inn waxed and waned in what historians called a spontaneous protest against social and political discrimination. Stonewall served as a catalyst for political activism in fighting discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Although gay rights activist groups existed before the riots, Stonewall made way for more radical groups such as the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance. In 1999 the U.S. National Park Service placed the Stonewall Inn on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2016 President Barack Obama designated the site a national monument. While not the first or largest protest against LGBTQ discrimination, the Stonewall uprising marked a shift to activism that paved the way for nondiscriminatory practices in the future.