Fighting for pride

June is Pride month in the U.S.A., and today we tell you about the event credited with starting the organized movement for LGBTQIA+ rights.

To ignite a group’s willingness to fight for change, there needs to be a spark. For the LGBTQIA+ community in the U.S. and across much of the Western world, it came on the night of June 27, 1969, at a bar in New York City.

For much of the ‘60s, serving alcohol to a known homosexual was illegal in New York, so bars serving primarily homosexuals couldn’t get licenses to sell it. Seeing an unserved market, mobsters opened illegal bars to serve it. They charged high prices for cheap and watered-down drinks and the customers still came because they had nowhere else to be themselves.

The Stonewall Inn was a very popular, mob-owned bar in Greenwich Village frequented by LGBTQIA+ clientele. At a peak hour on a Friday night, police raided the bar. Raids like this weren’t unusual, but on this night, the reaction of those targeted was.

When the police roughly removed one lesbian woman from the bar, the crowd outside began turning on the small group of officers conducting the raid. To escape hurled bottles and rocks and increasingly bold physical attacks, the police officers retreated into the bar.

The group outside grew and began trying to bust downthe door. Even when riot police got there to subdue to crowd, it took a long time for it to end.

This was the first time members of the LGBTQIA+ community in a major U.S. city had so forcefully and collectively resisted the suppression of their culture and identities, and it didn’t end after one night. For six days, protesters clashed with police outside the Stonewall Inn.

These events are now known as the Stonewall Riots, Stonewall Uprising, or Stonewall Rebellion. The energy created by them inspired people in the LGBTQIA+ community to organize for change. Groups like the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front came out of it, which helped many future movement leaders gain experience systematically fighting for political and societal change.

While there have been many hard-fought victories for the LGBTQIA+ community since Stonewall, there are still many prejudices to be overcome. Pride Month in the U.S. is, in part, about both celebrating what’s been accomplished and assuring those struggling that they aren’t alone.

Vocabulary

To ignite sth – etwas zum Zünden bringen

A spark – ein Funken

Get licenses – Lizenzen bekommen

Mobster – Mafiosis

Charge high prices for – hohe Preise verlangen für

Watered-down drinks – verdünnte Getränke

Mob-owned bar – Mafiabar

At peak hour – zu Stoßzeiten

Conduct a police raid – Polizeirazzia durchführen

The reaction of those targeted – die Reaktion derer auf die es abgezielt war

To escape – entkommen

Hurled bottles – herumschleudernde Flaschen

Bold – kühn

Bust-down – zusammenbrechen

Subdue to crowd – sich der Menge unterwerfen

Forcefully and collectively resist the suppression of – sich energisch und kollektiv der Unterdrückung von… widersetzen

To clash with – zusammen stoßen mit

Riot, uprising – Aufruhr, Aufstand

Gain experience – Erfahrung sammeln

Societal change – gesellschaftlicher Wandel

Prejudice to overcome – Vorurteile überwinden

Excite Your Senses

On our YouTube channel, you can follow along as a native speaker reads this month’s Learning Nugget accompanied by music and pictures.