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.
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