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The Importance Of Stonewall 44 Years Later

In 1969, New York City was shaken by a series of violent clashes between the LGBT community and police. This week, as the Supreme Court passed its historical decisions on marriage equality, people gathered at the Stonewall Inn to hear the news.

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The Stonewall Inn was a haven where the LGBT community could feel welcome:

The sign in the window reads: "We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village."


Scott G. Brown, one of the oldest surviving veterans of the Stonewall Inn raid, said of that night:

They were all pretty, prissy, and made up, with their tight dresses and high heels. As the policemen pushed and hurried them to the waiting paddy wagons, one of the drag queens' heels broke off, so she removed both her shoes as the nudging and poking with billy clubs continued. One of the drag queens nudged a policeman in the groin with an elbow while another threw a shoe that struck another officer. Then all hell broke loose! Bottles, rocks, and garbage-can Lids went flying through the air as the cops called for backup!


Author David Carter wrote of the riots:

"The true legacy of the Stonewall riots is the ongoing struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. While the fight is far from over, it is now a worldwide movement that has won many significant victories, most of them flowing from those six days in the summer of 1969 when gay people found the courage to stand up for themselves on the streets of Greenwich Village."

David Velasco Bermudez, 73, celebrated the Supreme Court decisions at the Castro in San Francisco, but he carried Stonewall in his heart:

Courtesy of Robert Isadore/MCT

He was hit with a billy club during the riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 27, 1969.