While tumbling through the internet rabbit hole to write up my last post, I came across this photograph:
The photo, rainbow border and all, was posted on the Student Life section of New York University’s website. The photo was taken by the late Fred McDarrah, who was a writer and also a longtime photographer for The Village Voice. Among his many assignments was the photographing of the Stonewall Riots, their immediate aftermath, and many LGBT-related marches and celebrations after that.
The date of this particular photo is significant: Sunday, July 27, 1969. Yes, 50 years ago yesterday. Many people may think that all there was of the Stonewall uprising was what happened in June of 1969, followed by a quiet period and the first organized pride march one year later in 1970. Even worse, many think that the LGBT+ rights movement was only the product of later (i.e. much more recent) generations.
But that line of thinking is incorrect, really. There was a more quieter LGBT movement before Stonewall. It’s just that those hot nights in late June 50 years ago were the propellant that took the movement further. And sure enough, Stonewall led to other protests and rallies in New York immediately afterward, including one exactly one month after the riots, in which a “Gay Power” march culminated in a rally at Washington Square Park.
Admittedly, I don’t know every single detail about the LGBT+ movement. I’m sure a great many not just outside but also within our community will say the same thing. But it’s a great feeling to learn about a small moment or a minor contributor that would help ensure the freedoms we enjoy and inspire the open lives we live today.
Here’s hoping you experience that same “gee whiz” feeling when you peruse though our community’s vast and proud history.