The Student News Site of Gabrielino High School

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Commemorating the Stonewall Riots

By Kaiya Suehiro | Staff Writer

Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Riots and is nationally recognized throughout the month of June as a celebration of LGBTQ culture and community. The meaning of Pride constantly changes to address relevant issues. Even so, the celebration aspect has stayed the same, with the community coming together to recognize their identities and share their strengths.

The Stonewall Riots are remembered as the watershed moment in LGBTQ history. At the time, homosexuality was illegal in almost every state and was classified as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association.
Police would frequently harass LGBT people, and a State Liquor authority prevented gay bars from obtaining licenses. Due to this, these gay bars were usually run by mafias who took advantage of the fact that their customers had nowhere else to go. Stonewall Inn, on Christopher Street in New York City, was one of these bars.
On the morning of June 28, 1969, Police raided Stonewall Inn with a warrant. They arrested employees for selling liquor without a license and arrested patrons who lacked at least three items of “gender appropriate clothing.” People fought back when police started rough-handling customers. Transgender women of color, Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, were credited with rebelling first.
Coins, stones, and bottles were all hurled through the air during the riot. Police became trapped in the building and began to beat people as a three day riot ensued. Backup police arrived, and hundreds of people swarmed to Christopher Street in support of Stonewall Inn.
The first Pride event took place on June 28, 1970, one year after the Stonewall uprising. The Christopher Street Liberation Day March was mainly organized by Brenda Howard as a protest against persecution and a celebration of pride. It started out with around a thousand marchers and ended with approximately 5,000.
The march was organized again in June the following year and was established as an annual tradition.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton issued a proclamation that declared June as the National Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. President Barack Obama issued another proclamation in 2008 that changed it to LGBT Pride Month, and President Joe Biden added LGBTQ+ in 2021.
Pride Month raises awareness for relevant social issues, like in the 1980s when it rallied support for the AIDS crisis. In the 1990s, they protested the lack of media representation. This led to companies and businesses becoming involved in Pride Month, but some argue that performative “Rainbow Capitalism” exploits Pride by profiting from products marketed to LGBTQ without supporting the community.
The queer community continues to fight for better treatment. Pride marches in the early 2000s campaigned for the legalization of same-sex marriage, which is currently legal in only 30 countries. Today, approximately 70 countries still outlaw homosexuality and it is legally punishable by death in over ten of those countries.
Despite this, progress has been made since the Stonewall Riots. Homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses in 1973, and the anti-sodomy law was struck down in 2003. Same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States in 2015 and the World Health Organization stopped identifying “gender identity disorder” as a mental and behavioral disorder in 2019.
Pride today acknowledges this progress with parades, marches, rallies, and festivals. Crowds of people gather with pride flags and colorful clothing to celebrate. Events may include resources, food, music performances, booths and vendors. Current events have more of a pride element than before, but it is important to recognize the struggles and sacrifices made in the past.

Donate to The Tongva Times

Your donation will support the student journalists of Gabrielino High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tongva Times

Activate Search
Commemorating the Stonewall Riots