Our lost gay radicalism: The Stonewall riots of 40 years ago led to demands for liberation. Now we meekly hope for equality
The Guardian Friday 26 June 2009
The Stonewall riots of 40 years ago led to demands for liberation. Now we meekly hope for equality
This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York when, for the first time in history, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people fought back against decades of police harassment.
Previously, LGBT people worldwide had largely complied with arrest and criminalisation. But not in New York on the nights of 27 and 28 June 1969. What began as a routine police raid on a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, turned into sporadic street battles. In the aftermath of this history-making queer resistance, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was formed in New York and similar groups sprang up across the US and the world. The modern LGBT rights movement was born.