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Tue Jun 18, 2019, 04:12 PM

The Stonewall Riots

When it happened, it was totally unexpected. The New York City Police had done this sort of thing many times before: rousting gay bar patrons, fully knowing that in their shame and surprise they would not offer any resistance. But, in the early hours of 28 June 1969, the familiar script was torn up. When eight policemen arrived to raid the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village, they proceeded as usual: checking ID documents, arresting obvious ‘female impersonators’, and generally harassing the clientele.

However, the mood quickly took an unfamiliar turn. Instead of the usual compliance, people fought back inside the club. While this was going on, a crowd of forcibly ejected clubbers gathered outside: as it happened, the Stonewall Inn was on a block with a small public space, Christopher Park.

Something snapped. As the police began to load in transvestites and young hustlers – street prostitutes – into their vans, a fierce lesbian fought the arresting officers every step of the way. Inspired by her ferocity, the crowd moved from insult to action.

First it was bottles and loose change. Then it was bricks and paving stones, heaved at the police. Taken aback by the ferocity of a previously passive minority, the police ceded the streets and retreated back into the club. Once barricaded in, they were assaulted with parking meters, garbage cans and Molotov cocktails by an enraged crowd, which had swelled to several hundred people. “I was sick of being told I was sick,” one rioter remembered, while the general mood was “this has got to stop”.

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Behind the Aegis Jun 2019 OP
JudyM Jun 2019 #1

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Wed Jun 19, 2019, 11:59 AM

1. Good detailed historical background in that article.

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