The Stonewall Riots

Written by Anne

The Spark of a Revolution

Internationally, June is known as Pride month, a time dedicated to recognizing the LGBTQ+ community in the fight for their rights and amplifying their voices to combat the social stigma they face. The Stonewall riots were a turning point for the LGBTQ+ community that sparked a movement of political activism during the late 1960s to 1970s.

Taken from The Atlantic, 2013 (pic from 1969)

Buildup to Change

Stonewall Inn was a gay bar located in Manhattan, New York and catered mostly to LGBTQ+ young adults, struggling to get by, who had been rejected by their families. This separated Stonewall Inn from other gay bars, and as executive director of the Mattachine Society, Dick Leisch, said, "it catered largely to a group of people who are not welcome in, or cannot afford, other places of homosexual social gathering" (the Atlantic). However, this bar operated illegally without a state liquor authority (SLA) license since the SLA refused to give that license to gay bars. Additionally, gay behavior such as a same-sex couple holding hands was illegal in New York.

Riots Begin

In June 1969, police were conducting raids on these illegal gay bars in Manhattan. On June 27th, 13 people inside the Stonewall Inn were arrested. As one woman was being arrested, she shouted at the crowd “why don’t you do something?!” which prompted the crowd to throw bricks and bottles at the officers. For the next 5 days, hundreds of members of the LGBTQ+ community rioted in the area, chanting “gay power” and “we want freedom” (the Atlantic).


These riots encouraged the LGBTQ+ community to begin a movement of political activism, which included the creation of many gay activism organizations, such as the Gay Liberation Front and the Human Rights Campaign. A year after the riots, first Pride parades were held in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, in celebration of the first anniversary of the riots. On June 26th 2015, same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states. In 2016, President Obama declared the site of the riots a national monument because of the place's contribution to the gay rights movement. Today, same-sex marriage is legal in 29 countries and many cities hold Pride parades as the LGBTQ+ community celebrates their identity.

Take Action

Hotlines (all hotlines are American except the Trevor Project International)

This is a 24/7 hotline for LGBTQ+ suicide prevention.,%2D866%2D488%2D7386.&text=TrevorChat%20is%20a%20free%2C%20confidential,live%20help%20to%20LGBTQ%20youth.

For users outside the US:

Call: 1-866-488-7386

LGBT National Hotline (all services free and confidential):

Call: 888-843-4564

Trans Lifeline:

Call: 877-565-8860

National Runaway Safeline:

Call: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

LGBTQ+ Health Recovery

Call: (800) 547-7433 (24/7 line)

For more hotlines click the link below:


This website provides various stories from the LGBTQ+ community and works to accelerate acceptance in the USA. You can also donate to their cause.

As the largest American LGBTQ+ organization, the Human Rights Campaign has a variety of LGBTQ+ community blog posts and discusses local issues surrounding the community. You can also donate to their cause.

Click here for top LGBTQ+ fiction novels.

Click here for top LGBTQ+ movies.


LGBTQ people are 3x more likely to be jailed. The LGBTQ Freedom Fund uses donations to pay for incarcerated LGBTQ members’ bail.


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