The New York Public Library
Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 | The New York Public Library
DID YOU KNOW?
1. The LGBTQ+ Rights Movement started after an incident occurred in 1959 at a former Los Angeles 24-hour coffee shop called Cooper Donuts where several customers including two drag queens, two male sex workers, and a gay man were arrested both for not following and for protesting against Los Angeles law which at the time stated that if the person’s gender presentation doesn’t match with the gender listed on their ID, they would then be taken to jail. This law subjected the LGBTQ+ Community to entrapment, intimidation & violence, and this event set off a series of other riots during the 1960s before the Stonewall Riots took place.
2. Other riots that took place during the 1960s included the New York’s Army Induction Centre Protest (1964), the Independence Hall Protest (1965), the Deweys Sit-In (1965), the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot (1966), and the Black Cat Tavern Riot (1967).
3. Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson, a black trans woman, was one of the first leaders of the LGBTQ+ movement in New York City, as well as one of the leaders of the Stonewall Riots. She later co-founded with Sylvia Rivera a homeless shelter for transgender youth called STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) while she and Sylvia worked as sex workers in order to fund the shelter.
Despite progressive efforts for LGBTQ+ Rights that have taken place, it’s also important to know about the historic events of regression towards the LGBTQ+ Movement that have also taken place. A couple of these incidences to know about include the following:
1. On August 31st, 2019, the first annual Straight Pride Parade was held in Boston as a form of mockery against the progress that was made in the LGBTQ+ Movement. The motivators for doing this by the “Straight Pride Parade Group” were both their disdain for “Identity Politics” and their support for then-President Donald Trump. The number of counter-protesters outweighed the number of protesters for this parade, and although at least thirty-six people were arrested, the leaders of the Straight Pride Parade eventually stopped the event after a few hours. However, the fear of LGBTQ+ Rights being taken away remains.
2. On July 9th, 2021, the Boston Pride non-profit organization closed its doors and stopped having its main annual Boston Pride parade event due to a boycott that took place over issues of race and transgender inclusion and complaints of excessive commercialization, along with the organization being called out on their lack of transparency with financial documents. Since then, smaller Pride events are beginning to happen again in 2022 throughout Massachusetts, but the main Boston Pride is still no longer happening. Below are the links to learn more facts about this incident, along with the statement letter link from the Boston Pride organization:
Given the state of our current events, we would like to take the time to recognize the amount of progress that has been made for LGBTQ+ Pride Month to exist, while also acknowledging historic events of regression that have taken place currently. As an organization, it’s important to acknowledge both of these aspects of PRIDE History for multiple reasons, but the biggest one is that some of the historical information on people and events that were responsible for the inception of PRIDE is being lost and forgotten, and given the current social justice events that have occurred since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have decided to be part of the solution of self-education and preservation of the full, uncensored truth of PRIDE History in an effort to help other people, organizations and entities promote diversity and inclusion in the nation. Because part of our Mission Statement as an organization is to incorporate art and literature from the general public as a way of standing up for social justice, the Oddball Foundation staff welcomes any art or literature submissions of PRIDE History that are not well-known or acknowledged within the general public, as well as anything else that pertains to this history. We remain committed to always remaining in a state of learning, as education is the number one outlet for creating systemic change. If you would like to submit any art or literature regarding content on PRIDE History events that we have not covered that are essential to know, feel free to email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do our best to highlight your submissions.
Chris Laureano works as the Grant Writing Intern for The Oddball Foundation, Inc. Chris is also a Peer Support Specialist and works full-time as the Director of the Recovery Education and Learning (REAL) Program at Bay Cove Human Services in Boston, Massachusetts. The REAL Program is a training and internship program for folks with lived experience with mental health challenges that aspire to work in human services either as a Peer Specialist or as a Mental Health Provider.
To know more about Chris Laureano and his work, feel free to check out both his LinkedIn Page and his REAL Program Page:
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