The Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, NYC, June 28th 1969.
A pivotal point in American history that, if you are one of my straight friends and readers, you probably never heard of. This blog is about our life with our daughter Sabrina, but I can't let this day go by without my thoughts. If you don't know what Stonewall is, briefly...
During the 50's and 60's things weren't the same as they were today. The Civil Rights Movement spoke for many minority groups, but not gays and lesbians. Being gay was a mark of shame at the least, and dangerous at the most. Gays were routinely beaten, arrested, fired, and ousted from society as a whole just for being who they are. Police would routinely round up gays at bars and clubs or on the street and charge them with lewd behavior or sexual deviancy. Raids were common; the police would arrest you just for being in there. Names were published in the paper, leading to ostracizing and loss of employment. The FBI and police kept lists of "known homosexuals" and the places they gathered. The Post Office kept records of homes receiving "gay friendly" material. The American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a sociopathic disorder. Even the US State Department included gays with Anarchists and Communists as un-American. Gays felt shameful about themselves and who they were. Until that night at Stonewall, which changed everything.
Judy Garland, a gay icon, had died that week and was being mourned by the gay community in New York gay bars like the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall was the only bar in the city where dancing was allowed, at least until the police showed up. They began rounding up the usual suspects. People were marched out into the streets. Slurs were thrown. Then a bottle. Before you knew it, more bottles. Drag Queens refused to get into the police vans. People began to mass in the streets watching, then joining in the protest. Suddenly people who carried around loads of guilt and self hatred finally had enough. No more. The riots continued for a few more nights. No more hiding in the shadows. Gays began expressing themselves in public. No more trying to fit in. No more faking it and not showing the real person. A year later, the very first Gay Pride Parade took place in front of the Stonewall on Christopher Street. Two years later, most major cities in the US had Gay Pride Organizations. The Rainbow Flag was invented and became our symbol. The world had changed.
But the best thing that came out of Stonewall happened 40 years later, when a little girl named Sabrina Marie was born and joined her two fathers to complete a family. Today I'm thinking of those Drag Queens who stood up and said no. Thanks ladies.