Museums, Myths and Memories (Final)

Museums, Myths and Memories (Final) - The Stonewall Riots...

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The Stonewall Riots: Intolerable Injustice On June 28 th 1969, the police ran what was thought to be a typical, routine raid of the time, on the Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village, New York City. Unfortunately the raid was anything but typical. Yet, the raid did not go as planned and had soon become an attack on the LGBTQ community. After being fed up with the harassment, bullying and embarrassment that came with these raids, members of the LGBTQ community collectively refused to show proper identification of their gender. Anyone who was not arrested waited patiently outside until soon the crowd grew almost ten times in size. Yet the crowd remained almost silent. There is still debate over what sparked the riot; whether it was a butch lesbian or a male drag queen is still unknown. What we do know is the crowd erupted. Soon enough bottles, coins, garbage and later on even bricks were being thrown at the police, all while the crowd shouted things such as “Gay Power” and singing “We Shall Overcome.” The Tactical Police Force was called in to break up the riot, but it was too late, word had spread and so had the crowd. As the TPF advanced towards the crowd, the protestors began retreating, but to the policemen’s dismay, the rioters attacked from behind. Everywhere the police turned there were protestors; they were surrounded. Several protests took place the following week. “The Stonewall uprising was, as historian Lillian Faderman has written, ‘the shot heard round the world,’ crucial because it sounded the rally for the movement.” 1 These riots soon became known as The Stonewall Riots. "Christopher Park Monuments - Gay Liberation : NYC Parks." New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. (accessed April 22, 2013).
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The Stonewall Riots marked the first time in gay and lesbian history that they refused to allow this oppression to continue without a fight. They stood up for themselves, and the global gay community as a whole. This uphill battle towards freedom and equality would benefit all members of the community and was thought of as the “Rosa Parks moment” in gay history. These riots proved to all citizens that the LGBT community would not sit back and continue to be treated as second-class citizens, but rather be treated as equals, not only in society, but also in the eyes of the government. The counterculture, within the time period before these riots, was preserved by the gay conservatives and by the right wing politicos as a threat to the social order that had already been established. 2 The gay conservatives sought a world in which the standards on the heterosexual community were applied to that of the homosexual community. This particular circle of gay and lesbian men and women established gay Christian churches and did not believe in having children through adoption, but through artificial insemination. 3 Also they had imitation establishment marriages. They even requested to fight, along with heterosexuals, against Vietnam.
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