June 28, 1969: I was a student in a more peaceful country, oblivious to the struggle of gay men and women, transgender people and all others fighting in the USA over persecution because of their sexual preferences.
In New York, patrons at the Stonewall, namely (and arguably) Stormé DeLarverie, began a standoff with the police which is now known as the Stonewall Riot (or standoff).
Befitting the unstoppable momentum of New Yorkers, (from Wikipedia): “After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago commemorating the anniversary of the riots.”
Now, this formerly mafioso (Genovese family) owned bar is a hive of entertainment activity: karaoke, bingo, “Big, Gay Happy Hour” (Mon-Fri, 2:30-7pm), dance parties, live singing drag queens, variety shows—the works, and a ‘mecca’ for activists of all stripes.
I’ve been to Stonewall to watch performers who are hard to find otherwise. It’s a mainstream magnet now, full of cultural importance.