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#OTD - June 29, 1969: The Second Night of the Stonewall Riots.

#OTD – June 29, 1969: The Second Night of the Stonewall Riots.

The riots continue…

“Hundreds of young men went on a rampage in Greenwich Village shortly after 3 A.M. yesterday after a force of plainclothes men raided a bar that the police said was well known for its homosexual clientele.”

New York Times – June 29, 1969

Despite being torn apart by the raid the previous night the Stonewall Inn in NYC re-opened before dark on the following night of June 29, (Not serving alcohol.)

Over the next several nights, crowds continued to gather near the Stonewall, taking advantage of the moment to spread information and build the community that would fuel the growth of the gay rights movement

The police also returned for a second night of arrests and were greeted by a thousand plus protestors gay, straight, college students who gathered outside the tavern, and in the area surrounding it. Rocks, bottles and bricks were thrown at the cops as the crowd overturned several police wagons and lit garbage on fire. 

After being harassed and tortured for so many years, gays, lesbians, and drag queens (trans) had nothing to lose as the anger had reached its boiling point.  The cops retreated when a tactical unit arrived which could do nothing to calm the crowd.  Later that morning, according to witnesses, the streets turned still but one could still feel the electricity.

The five total days of rioting that ensued changed forever the face of gay and lesbian life.

#OTD- June 26, 1964: LIFE Magazine Covers the "Sordid World of Homosexuality In America." [Full Article]

#OTD- June 26, 1964: LIFE Magazine Covers the “Sordid World of Homosexuality In America.” [Full Article]

“The ‘Gay’ World Takes to the City Streets”

Wrote LIFE magazine:

“Homosexuality shears across the spectrum of American life — the professions, the arts, business and labor. It always has. But today, especially in big cities, homosexuals are discarding their furtive ways and openly admitting, even flaunting, their deviation. Homosexuals have their won drinking places, their special assignation streets, even their own organizations. And for every obvious homosexual, there are probably nine nearly impossible to detect. This social disorder, which society tries to suppress, has forced itself into the public eye because it does present a problem — and parents especially are concerned. The myth and misconception with which homosexuality has so long been clothed must be cleared away, not to condone it but to cope with it.”

Over the next fourteen pages, Life magazine explored what they called the “sordid world” of the gay community. The articles provide interesting vignettes and photos of gay life in the pre-Stonewall era, but reading through them today probably tells us more about society’s revulsion towards gay people than it does about gays themselves. At one point, author Paul Welch accompanies a Los Angeles police officer acting as a decoy to try entrap a gay man into propositioning him. Even if the proposition involves going to a private home for the evening — the same type of invitation being made in straight bars all across Los Angeles that very same night — it would end badly with an arrest and possible lifetime registration as a sex offender. LGBT activist Dale Jennings arrest in the privacy of his own home and the city’s embarrassing failure to secure a conviction in a well-publicized case twelve years earlier had done nothing to stem police harassment. One education pamphlet compiled for Los Angeles police warned that what gay men really want is “a fruit world.” Welch continued: “Although the anti-homosexual stand taken by the Los Angeles police is unswervingly tough, it reflects the attitude of most U.S. law-enforcement agencies on the subject.”

You can read the entire transcribed article HERE