On 28th June 1969, in the early hours of the morning, New York’s besieged LGBTQ community rioted against homophobic police raids at the Stonewall Inn. That was the first Pride.
The Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York City, is now considered an iconic landmark for activism, LGBT rights, and equality. But, on 27th June 1969, it was just another bar, ‘a bar for the people who were too young, too poor or just too much to get in anywhere else…’ as one patron would recall it later. It had been opened two years earlier as a gay bar, making it one of a few dotted around the area. Days before the Stonewall uprising, the police had raided five gay bars in Greenwich Village, shutting three of them down, and the eruption at Stonewall was a result of this mounting tension.
When the police arrived at 1:20 am and expelled the clientele in order to arrest the employees, it was expected that they would quietly hurry home. That’s not what happened. The patrons resisted, protested, and when a woman was forcibly arrested, the protests grew stronger into a full-blown riot. The crowds grew. And not just that day either – the Stonewall riot was perhaps the most important event leading to the LGBT rights movements in the US. Within a few years, gay rights organisations were founded across the US and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first gay pride marches took place in the US commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organised in other cities. Today, LGBTQ Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots, and the Stonewall National Monument was established at the site in 2016.