One of the few remaining verified Stonewall riot participants Danny Garvin sadly passed away at the age of 65 in December of 2014.
Not long before his unfortunate death Danny Garvin along with fellow Stonewall veteran Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt were interviewed and described that fateful summer night in 1969.
Danny and Tommy have been noted as “the two most knowledgeable sources” on the historic riots by fellow LGBT historian David Carter.
Danny was there the night it opened (on his birthday in 1967) and became a regular customer of the Stonewall Inn,” David Carter said. “He met his first love thereby dancing with him, dated the main doorman (Blonde Frankie), and was roommates with one of the men who worked in the coat check. Danny’s knowledge of the club has contributed a lot to a better understanding of the Stonewall Inn. Fortunately, Danny also happened to walk up the street soon after the June 1969 raid began, and his detailed memories of that night significantly add to our knowledge about the Uprising,” Carter added.
Danny’s life story is all the more remarkable and historically relevant because his experiences mirrored those of his generation as if he were a gay Zelig,” Carter said. “Danny was in a gay hippie commune before Stonewall and he was roommates with gay activist Morty Manford after Stonewall. Morty Manford’s introduction of Danny Garvin and another gay friend to Manford’s parents precipitated Manford’s coming out to his parents. Morty’s mother Jeanne Manford later founded what became Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, now PFLAG. He hung out with Andy Warhol’s crowd, and he founded the recovery contingent of LGBT marchers in the LGBT Pride March each June.”
Gay men like Danny Garvin are our true heroes of the riots. They have received little or no recognition while others have been given the glory for Stonewall that they do not deserve. Without gay men like Danny Garvin and Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, we would not be where we are today.
You can listen to Danny Garvin and Tommy Lanigan Schmidt in their own words recount what happened that night over 50 years ago on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn.
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