Stonewall Riots

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Date: 28 Jun 1969 to 3 Jul 1969
Location: Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Stonewall_riots LGBT gay_liberation_movement
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The Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion) were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Patrons of the Stonewall Inn, other Village lesbian and gay bars, and neighborhood street people fought back when the police became violent.


LGBT activism before Stonewall

In the early 20th century, LGBT groups in the United States operated in secret, often out of parlors and night clubs, due to the social and legal stigma against same-sex love and "cross dressing."[1][2] After WWII, LGBT rights groups in the United States began to emerge, particularly on the West Coast, even as social and legal stigma did not stop.[3]

Early gay and lesbian rights groups such as the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis made up the "homophile" movement, which sought to prove that gay and lesbian people could be assimilated into society, favoring non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike.[4][5][6] While this stance was echoed in "transvestite" newsletters like Transvestia,[7] early trans rights activism was more spontaneous and usually a response to police violence,[8] such as the Cooper Do-Nuts protest of 1959[9] and the Compton Cafeteria riot of 1966.[10]

The last years of the 1960s were contentious, as many social and political movements were active, including the civil rights movement, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the anti-Vietnam War movement. These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.[3]

History of Stonewall Inn

Very few establishments welcomed gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia. [3][11][12] It catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: butch lesbians, effeminate young men, drag queens, male prostitutes, transgender people, and homeless youth.

While police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn on June 28. Tensions between New York City police and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening and again several nights later.

Effects of the Stonewall riots

Within weeks of the uprising, Village residents organized into activist groups to concentrate efforts on establishing places for LGBT people to be open without fear of being arrested.[13] After the Stonewall riots, LGBT people in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gay men and lesbians.[citation needed]

A year after the uprising, to mark the anniversary on June 28, 1970, the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. [14] The anniversary of the riots was also commemorated in Chicago and similar marches were organized in other cities.

The riots constitute one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement in the US and in other parts of the world[15][16][17][18][19] and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States. [20][21]

The Stonewall National Monument was established at the site in 2016.[22] LGBT Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots. "Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019" commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, with city officials estimating five million attendees in Manhattan,[23] and on June 6, 2019, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill rendered a formal apology on behalf of the New York Police Department for the actions of its officers at the Stonewall Inn in 1969.[24][25]

In 2020, the Stonewall Inn was in danger of shutting down due to increased costs of operations and lack of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[26] However, in July 2022 the Inn was still open at 53 Christopher Street.[27]


  1. "The Social and Cultural Elite and the Hidden 'Gay' Society." Out History.
  2. Pruitt, Sarah. "How Gay Culture Blossomed During the Roaring Twenties." 12 Jun, 2019, History.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Carter, David. Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, 1st Ed. 2004. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-34269-2.
  4. Adam, Barry. The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement. 1987, pgs 63–64. G. K. Hall & Co. ISBN 978-0-8057-9714-5.
  5. Marcus, Eric. Making Gay History. 2002, pgs 21-43. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-093391-3.
  6. Gallo, Marcia. Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement. 2006, pgs 1-11. Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-252-8.
  7. Hill, Robert. "'We Share a Sacred Secret:' Gender, Domesticity, and Containment in Transvestia's Histories and Letters from Crossdressers and Their Wives." 2011, Journal of Social History, vol 44, issue 3, pgs 667–687.
  8. Aultman, B Lee. "The Rise of Transgender Social Movements: Narrative Symbolism and History." 2021, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.
  9. Faderman, Lillian and Stuart Timmons. Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians. 2006, pgs 1-2. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02288-X.
  10. Carter, David. Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, 2nd ed. 2005, pg 109. Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-34269-1.
  11. Duberman, Martin. Stonewall. 1993, pg 183. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-525-93602-2.)
  12. "Stonewall Uprising: The Year That Changed America – Why Did the Mafia Own the Bar?". American Experience. PBS. April 2011.[1]
  13. Feinberg, Leslie. Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman. 1996, pg 131. Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-7941-3
  14. "Heritage | 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day Gay-In, San Francisco". SF Pride. June 28, 1970.[2]
  15. Julia Goicichea (August 16, 2017). "Why New York City Is a Major Destination for LGBT Travelers". The Culture Trip[3]
  16. "Brief History of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement in the U.S". University of Kentucky.[4]
  17. Nell Frizzell (June 28, 2013). "Feature: How the Stonewall riots started the LGBT rights movement". Pink News UK.[5]
  18. "Stonewall riots". Encyclopædia Britannica. [6]
  19. Feather, Stuart. "A brief history of the Gay Liberation Front, 1970-73" on 21 Nov, 2007.
  20. U.S. National Park Service (October 17, 2016). "Civil Rights at Stonewall National Monument". Department of the Interior[7]
  21. "Obama inaugural speech references Stonewall gay-rights riots". Archived from the original on May 30, 2013[8]
  22. Nakamura, David; Eilperin, Juliet (June 24, 2016). "With Stonewall, Obama designates first national monument to gay rights movement". Washington Post[9]
  23. About 5 million people attended WorldPride in NYC, mayor says By karma allen, Jul 2, 2019[10]
  24. Gold, Michael; Norman, Derek (June 6, 2019). "Stonewall Riot Apology: Police Actions Were 'Wrong,' Commissioner Admits". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331[11]
  25. "New York City Police Finally Apologize for Stonewall Raids". June 6, 2019.[12]
  26. ABC7 New York. "Legendary Stonewall Inn in danger of shutting down amid COVID-19."
  27. The Stonewall Inn. Accessed 31 July 2022. At that point the web page included dates for events in August 2022.

See also


This space was created on March 4, 2021, by Aleš Trtnik. Dave Kaufmann has managed this space since March 4, 2021.

A major revision of this space was completed on October 6, 2021, by U Swanson.

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