The Stonewall Inn has been an LGBTQ institution in the Greenwich Village since the 1960s. On one fateful night in June 1969, it became the site of a major turning point in the fight for queer liberation.
To honor critical queer leadership in the Stonewall uprisings, Planned Parenthood of New York City is proud to collaborate with artist Ameya Okamoto on this series of portraits.
There are many differing accounts of what actually occurred that night — some say gay liberation activist and self-labeled drag queen Marsha P. Johnson threw the first brick that catalyzed the violence and stood beside her fellow activist Sylvia Rivera. Others say butch lesbian entertainer Stormé DeLarverie got into a physical altercation with a police officer and sparked the people around her into fighting back, and still others have even more versions of what transpired — but the overall themes are clear:
The local police had been raiding LGBTQ establishments and violently mistreating the patrons. But on June 28, 2019, the patrons responded and fought back. Sometimes called the Stonewall Riots, or the Stonewall Uprising or even the Stonewall Rebellion, what followed was a series of demonstrations led by the LGBTQ community against the police. It brought to light for many just how mistreated LGBTQ people were in this country.
The following year, the first pride marches were held in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Today, the Stonewall Inn is a designated U.S. National Historic Landmark and National Monument.
This year marks 50 years since the Stonewall Riots and we’ve made wonderful progress in recognizing LGBTQIA+ rights, but there’s still so much more to do. PPNYC stands with the LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate this extraordinary day and our collective work to build communties that provide queer people with the tools, resources, and support they need and deserve to live fully.
No matter who you are, who you love, or your gender expression or identity, you deserve compassionate health care that allows you to live safely and authentically.
“I was a radical, a revolutionist. I am still a revolutionist…I am glad I was in the Stonewall riot. I remember when someone threw a Molotov cocktail, I thought, “My god, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here!” — Sylvia Rivera