June 28th, 1969: The True and Unabashed History of the Stonewall Riots

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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19 Responses

  1. Jim Steele says:

    This is brilliant. Thank you for giving us a lesson in all of the components of this perfect storm that ignited the LGBT movement in America. It’s a great story that we should all be proud of and never take for granted.

  2. Early in the article you say “remember there were no transexuals at the time” This isn’t quite true. There have been transsexuals since, at least, 1921. Dora-R of Germany under the care of Magnus Hirschfeld, began surgical transition from 1921, ending in 1930 with a successful genital reassignment surgery. Most famously, there was also Christine Jorgensen in 1952. There were Transsexuals, just not many of them.

    • Will Kohler says:

      Thank you Seth. Updated : “Only a very few transvestites or drag queens, (gay men or straight men in full drag. Remember at this time there were very very transexuals in America. The only one being known at that time being Christine Jorgensen who underwent sex reassignment surgery in Europe in 1950) were allowed in by the bouncers. The crowd was mostly male but a few lesbians sometimes came to the bar. The age clientele ranged between the upper teens and the late thirties and, its location and the attraction of dancing made the Stonewall Inn “the gay bar in the city”.

  3. Chicago Bob says:

    This is such an important read. It is funny how the anger wells up inside me while reading this. More importantly, 47 years later and we still are fighting for equality. The hate towards gay people is still raging.

  4. Tobi says:

    “Bystanders recalled that the woman, whose identity remains unknown…”
    It was Stormé DeLarverie.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm%C3%A9_DeLarverie

  5. Demos says:

    I am not aware of a shred of evidence that “Miss Major” Griffin-Gracy was at Stonewall. Her presence there seems to be based on nothing more than her assertion that she was there. When asked about the events of that night, she has told a fantastical and self-serving tale which contradicts every other account fo the riot and which is refuted by evidence. In particular, she claims that she alone fought the police while the gay crowd (whom she refers to as “fags”) stood by passively and watched. She claims to have had her jaw broken in her lone fight and then to have been arrested. No other account of the riot is consistent with this tale. No one was hospitalized, as would have happened had there been a broken jaw injury. And in 2009, the NYPD released arrest records from the 6th precinct and Griffin-Gracy was nowhere to be found. Perhaps this is why Griffin-Gracy is not mentioned anywhere in David Carter’s exhaustive historical treatment of the event. BTW, this same person also claims to have become radicalized in the NY prison system when she supposedly met one of the Attica rioters. But the NY Department of Corrections has no record of her. There are people with personal and ideological agendas who seek to warp LGB history for their own ends. Please don’t help them.

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