On June 29th, 1969 a series of violent confrontations occurred between police and gay rights activists outside the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Inn was a bar in the Greenwich Village area of New York City, it was a place where anyone within the LGBTQ community could relax. Nine policemen went into the bar, they arrested the employees for selling alcohol without a license, roughed up many inside, cleared the bar, and—in accordance with a New York criminal statute that authorized the arrest of anyone not wearing at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing—took several people into custody. In the past people milling outside the bar would scatter, but this time it was different; They stayed. Nearly 400 people rioted, the bar was set on fire and the policemen had to barricade themselves inside the bar. This went on for nearly 5 days.
This sparked a real flame under the Gay Liberation Movement and it began to grow nationally. Each year, this being the 49th anniversary of the tragic events at the Stonewall Inn, people of all ages gather to commemorate the riots. The Stonewall Riots are considered to be one of the first major protests for the homosexual community. At first the last Sunday in June was marked as Gay Pride Day, but that began to shape shift into what is now known as the entire month of June being celebrated at LGBTQ Pride Month. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally. This drives millions around the world to parades, parties, and events in many major cities.
For those unable to attend an event, or PrideFest in Milwaukee, there are other things you can do to support and celebrate the LGBTQ community.
1. Educate Yourself! On the history of the movement, the importance of pronouns, and learn how to be an Ally.
2. Donate time or funds to local organizations. Here in Milwaukee http://pathfindersmke.org/ helps homeless LGBTQ youth and is a fantastic organization to take into consideration.
Most Importantly: Be Safe and Happy Pride Month!