Stonewall 50 years on…
2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, the start of our liberation. Dykes on Bikes London proudly rode at the front of the London Pride parade to mark the event.
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 against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York. They are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
A number of gay, lesbian and trans people were arrested by the police, but the actual riot was started by a dyke…
A scuffle broke out when a woman in handcuffs was escorted from the door of the bar to the waiting police wagon several times. She escaped repeatedly and fought with four of the police, swearing and shouting, for about ten minutes. Described as “a typical New York butch” and “a dyke–stone butch”, she had been hit on the head by an officer with a baton for, as one witness claimed, complaining that her handcuffs were too tight. Bystanders recalled that the woman, whose identity remains unknown (Stormé DeLarverie has been identified by some, including herself, as the woman, but accounts vary), sparked the crowd to fight when she looked at bystanders and shouted, “Why don’t you guys do something?” After an officer picked her up and heaved her into the back of the wagon, the crowd became a mob and went “berserk”: “It was at that moment that the scene became explosive”.
Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots. The Stonewall National Monument, in Christopher Street directly outside the Stonewall Inn, was established at the site in 2016.
From 2017, the State of New York, began plans to host the largest international LGBT pride celebration in 2019, known as Stonewall 50 / WorldPride, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. In New York City, the Stonewall 50 / WorldPride events produced by Heritage of Pride enhanced through a partnership made with the I LOVE NY program’s LGBT division included a welcome center during the weeks surrounding the Stonewall 50 / WorldPride events open to all. Additional commemorative arts, cultural, and educational programing to mark the 50th anniversary of the rebellion at the Stonewall Inn took place throughout the city and the world; it is believed that 2019 was the largest international LGBTQ+ event held in history.