50 Years Since Stonewall, What’s Changed?
Fifty years on from the Stonewall uprising, that saw the LGBTQ+ community in New York stand against police brutality and inequality, following a series of targeted police raids on gay bars, this year marks the Pride jubilee.
While the riots that occurred on 28th June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn (the second police raid at the bar that week) did not mark the start of the struggle for gay rights, it is widely accredited as being a catalyst for the modern Pride movement.
The Stonewall uprising was led by transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who ‘will be commemorated with a monument in the city of New York’ for their tireless activism and advocation of equal rights. After the riots the pair went on to ‘co-found the organisation STAR, or Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens and trans women of colour’.
Johnson, Rivera and all those who fought against inequality during the Stonewall riots helped set in motion the modern Pride movement and the advancement of gay rights.
So, how much has changed in the last few decades?
The Stonewall uprisings take place in New York City.
Harvey Milk is inaugurated as the first openly gay commissioner in the United States. The same year, inspired by Milk, Gilbert Baker made the first rain down flag.
Trans Day of Remembrance is founded in the USA (later in the UK and worldwide) memorialising those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued violence against trans community.
Same-sex marriage becomes legal in England and Wales.
The Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, that all states are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Pride jubilee is celebrated internationally.
Fifty years on and it is clear that gay rights have advanced since the brutal raids that sparked the Stonewall uprising. However, the LGBTQ+ community are still facing everyday discrimination and attacks, even when simply getting a bus home from a night out.
It is appalling, on a global scale, that equality has been so sparsely achieved. The Homosexual Law Reform Society was founded in 1958 and only in 2014 did gay marriage become legal and that was only in England and Wales.
Please do whatever you can to appeal to your local representatives and support equal rights campaigns. Show up for the incredible Pride parades and marches because the 50th anniversary of Stonewall not only reminds us of the achievements and bravery involved in the fight for equal rights, but the fact that people are still being failed by their governments and there are still countries, in 2019, where being gay is punishable by death.
Below are links to help support and find out more about some incredible organisations continuing the fight for equality: