By Kim Talbert, AAUW California Public Policy Committee
Happy June and Happy Pride Month!
Every June since 1970, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ+) Pride Month is celebrated to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. At the time, The Stonewall Inn was the most popular gay bar in Manhattan. Until 1966 it was illegal to serve alcohol to a gay person, and until 1969, homosexuality was a criminal offense. On the morning of June 28, 1969, police raided the bar for the sale of illegal alcohol. As word got out about the raid, thousands of protestors came out, and the protests lasted for six days. These protests sparked the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement.
The Stonewall Inn is now a National Monument. In 2016, President Obama established the first LGBTQ+ National Park in the 7.7 acres surrounding The Stonewall Inn, and in 2019, the city of New York honored LGBTQ+ activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, with a statue for their activism. They were prominent in the Stonewall Uprising, and according to the city of New York, this was the “first permanent, public artwork recognizing transgender women in the world.”
Since the Stonewall Uprising, there have been many significant advances for the LGBTQ+ community, like same-sex marriage and the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. There is still a long way to go for equitable treatment for all, but that’s why it’s exciting to work with an organization like AAUW on its mission of achieving a more equitable society.
For further information, the Library of Congress has compiled a wonderful resource guide.
LGBTQ+ Studies: A Resource Guide serves as an introduction into the excellent collection of LGBTQ+ resources available at the Library of Congress.