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Today: 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots

The Stonewall Inn, taken September 1969. The sign in the window reads: "We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village—Mattachine" Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, arguably the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States.

Gays and lesbians in the United States saw a very different world in the late 1960s. Most lived their lives in silence, and were not welcome in most facets of society. Bars were some of the few safe places for gay and lesbian people, even though many of these establishments were regularly raided by police. The Stonewall Riots took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, and were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations in which LGBT people fought back against the police harassment.

CBS News reported Thursday, The U.S. Mission to the United Nations sponsored a commemoration at the Roosevelt House in New York with the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, actor Zachary Quinto, LGBT activist Bill Bahlman, and Alyx Steadman of the Trevor Project, a national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for gay youths and youths questioning their sexuality.

“Nearly 80 countries now have laws that criminalize LGBT individuals; in seven of them – and it’ll be eight if Brunei continues along its path – consensual same-sex acts are punishable by death,” Power said.

Eric Sawyer, a Civil Society Partnership Advisor at UNAIDS and cofounder of Housing Works, Inc., a non-profit organization that houses homeless people with HIV, who attended the event in New York, told CBS News, “While it is pretty acceptable to be gay or lesbian or transgender in states like New York or California, there are still 29 states in the U.S. in which it is legal to fire someone simply because they are gay or lesbian. And in the U.S., in states like Texas, people are still being murdered, even in 2014, simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender; we have a long way to go.”

In commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a special walking exhibition was unveiled on Christopher Street, where the modern-day LGBT revolution first began. “Stonewall 45: Windows Into LGBT History,” on display through June 29, is a series of poster panels in 26 storefronts lining Christopher Street. The posters recount the story of Stonewall and the political, legal, and cultural barriers encountered by LGBT people in these times. The storefront posters incorporate historic visuals including photographs, newspaper clippings, flyers and newsletters.

See a selection of the powerful images on Advocate.com

 



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Posted by on Jun 28, 2014. Filed under Around the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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