What happened at Stonewall for the homosexual movement? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Normally, I don’t really share the blog with anyone, but my wife has been making a study lately on the homosexual movement. Now for those who don’t know, she did have surgery yesterday for a deviated septum, so it could be awhile before she posts again. I myself could be posting later on today again. For now, all that follows comes from her.
June 27th, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in New York’s Greenworks Village, a deadly riot was created and lasted for several days. But before we get into what happened at the riot, let us go back to what life was like for the homosexual before the riot.
Homosexuality was illegal. If you were caught doing any homosexual activities, you were not only arrested, but you were also permanately listed on maps as basically a sexual deviant, and could not get a license for any sort of business or job. You were also often beaten severely and called very offensive names such as “faggot.” You had to live in secrecy. If anyone found out your sexuality, you would pretty much be cut-off of society. Homosexuality was even listed as a mental disorder. You would be taken to a special mental institute for gays and would get things such as electroshock therapy whenever you were turned on by an image of the same sex, or you were given a pharmacudical pill that would essentially give you the feeling of drowning, similar to waterboarding. Life as a homosexual was very difficult. When you’d finally find a place where you could be yourself as a homosexual individual, police officers would eventually raid those areas (such as gay bars) and make plenty of arrests. Again, you would often be severely beaten.
Now, let’s go to the Stonewall event. On the evening of June 27, 1969, six police officers raided a popular gay bar known as the Stonewall Inn, which like many gay bars, were owned by the Mafia. Many people were outraged by this and surrounded the Stonewall Inn. There was a huge crowd yelling and throwing objects at the police officers. Trash cans were also set on fire. The crowd surrounded the police officers. The police officers were then trapped inside the Stonewall Inn. More police officers then came to the site with helmets and shields. Drags known as “Queens” taunted to poilice officers doing the rockettes dance and singing,
“We are the Stonewall girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear no underwear
We show our pubic hair
We wear our dungarees
Above our nelly knees”
Eventually, the police officers and the crowd were beating each other. The cops would beat people with clubs, while the people in the crowd would continue to throw things and even bite the officers. The police reports recorded this information on the first day of the riot:
David Van Ronk assualted Officer Gilbert Weisman by throwing an unknown object which struck the officer’s right eye, causing injury.
Raymond Castro, Marilyn Fowler, and Vincent Depaul assaulted Officer Charles Broughton by kicking him.
Wolfgang Podolski assaulted Officer Andrew Scheu by striking him on his left eye, causing him to fall and fracture his left wrist.
These are only a few of the reports. On the second day of the riot, more people began to join in the riot, including “straight” people, causing the rioting to become even more intense. People in the crowd were not only hit on the back, but also serious injury to the head. This lasted for six days when it finally ended. Many bodies layed on the ground. The crowd had consisted from hundreds of people, to thousands of people involved in the rioting.
One year later, Gay Pride week was created, where homosexuals would march around Christopher St in a parade, promoting their sexuality. This still continues every year to this very day, celebrating what the men and women did on that very day.
Now that we’ve taken a peak into history, let’s take a look at this at both point of views.
The homosexual community was being treated improperly. They were being exploited and beaten. It is no wonder they reacted the way they did. Does this make what they did right? Not at all. Beating people is never the right thing to do. The way how the police force treated homosexuals was wrong, but rioting and throwing objects at them and biting and kicking them, as well as taunting them, was wrong as well. Here’s another interesting fact to compare then to now. When these riots were going on, the homosexual community were not concerned with having same-sex marriages. In fact, they were trying to get away from the pressures of family and marriage. But today, they are pressuring not only to make it legal to have same-sex marriages, but for the rest of the world to also accept same-sex marriage. Why has this all of a sudden changed? Why is it that then they didn’t care about marriage, but now they’re arguing for same-sex. With my research, I am trying to only stick with the facts for both parties. This is only the beginning of my research and I hope you will follow along this journey with me, and that we will examine our hearts in the process.
For more information on the Stonewall Riot, here are some resources.