by Zoe Elyse
It is now June, which means Pride Month has begun. It seems like Pride month has turned into a celebration- focused around the big parades, glitter, and rainbows- but it’s important to remember the roots of this movement.
’The Stonewall Riot’ is a term everybody recognizes, but not many know the full story behind. I will be the first one to admit I didn’t know what Stonewall was until a few years ago, despite being a member of the LGBT+ community.
An old and well-known hotspot of the gay community, the Stonewall Inn, is located in New York City. In the 1960s, it was owned by the Mafia who would blackmail their wealthier customers (Carter 2004).
In 1969, plainclothes police entered the bar in search of evidence, but some sources claim they were there after refusing a bribe from the mafia (Carter 2004).
Quickly, it was seen that this would not be a standard raid. During a normal procedure, those dressed in women’s clothing were to be searched by female police, and those found to be cross-dressing would be arrested. But this time, many did not comply.
As patrons refused to cooperate, tensions steadily began to grow.
Maria Ritter, a transgender woman not yet out to her family, stated
“My biggest fear was that I would get arrested. My second biggest fear was that my picture would be in a newspaper or on a television report in my mother's dress! (Carter 2004)”