back to top

This Is What Gay Liberation Looked Like In The '70s

On June 28, 1969, NYPD raided a popular gay bar known as the Stonewall Inn. The ensuing riots were a watershed moment for the gay liberation movement and changed America forever.

Posted on
New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

A hostile crowd attempts to impede police arrests outside the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village during the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. The event, which came to be known as the Stonewall Riots, became a watershed moment for the push for LGBT rights in the United States.

New York Post Archives / Getty Images

Members and supporters of the Gay Liberation Front square off against cops at a barricade set up at Greenwich and Charles Streets to prevent the group from reaching the Charles St. Precinct House. This demonstration was organized to protest against a police raid on a gay bar earlier in the day, on March 10, 1970.


Left: Three members of Lavender Menace, a group of radical lesbian feminists, advocate for lesbians' issues at the Second Congress to Unite Women in 1970 in New York City. Right: Lavender Menace members hold protest signs.

Getty Images

Left: Activists protest LGBT discrimination at the Christopher Street Day rally in New York City in June 1971. Right: A wedding cake adorned with homosexual couples is prepared to be used by activists to protest a New York City clerk's refusal to issue wedding licenses to homosexuals in the 1970s.


Left: Members of the Gay Liberation Front form a picket line outside of the Time Inc. offices to protest the magazine's coverage of gay civil rights in 1969. Right: Protesters rally at a gay rights demonstration in Albany, New York, 1971.

Paul Sakuma / AP

Demonstrators smash the front doors of San Francisco City Hall on May 22, 1979. About 5,000 people marched from the city’s LGBT community to City Hall, protesting the voluntary manslaughter conviction of Supervisor Dan White in the fatal shootings of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.

Suzanne Vlamis / AP

Former US representative Bella Abzug addresses a rally in New York City, where 3,000 people turned out to protest the repeal of an LGBT rights law in Dade County, Florida, on June 8, 1977.


Left: Demonstrators participate in a gay pride rally in Albany, New York, 1971. Right: A group of women take to the New York City streets on Christopher Street Day, June 20, 1971.

Carlos Rene Perez / AP

A line of police officers confront LGBT protesters outside the Sixth Precinct in New York on July 25, 1979, after one of the demonstrators was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer.

Getty Images

Left: A marcher in an LGBT rights parade up New York's Fifth Avenue, carries a bouquet of flowers on July 7, 1979. Right: A couple share a kiss in this undated picture from the 1970s.


Left: Partygoers dance at the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse in New York City, 1971. Right: A banner celebrates Gay Pride Week inside the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse in 1971.


BuzzFeed's resident photo geek.

Contact Gabriel H. Sanchez at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.