Stonewall: 40 Years of Struggle for Equality
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The Den and Fresno Stonewall Democrats commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
Fresno Stonewall Democrats will be commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots on Sunday June 28th starting at 9 p.m. at The Den located at 4538 E Belmont Ave.
Faux cops will raid the bar and arrest selected performers and patrons and lock them up in a jail in the parking lot where they may be bailed out as a fund-raising effort to benefit the Stonewall club.
The original Stonewall Inn was a bar located in New York’s Greenwich Village area. The bar night began on Friday June 27th as a typical crowded weekend night. Raids on gay bars were not unusual in 1969; in fact, they were conducted regularly without much resistance. However, early in the morning of June 28th the street erupted into violent protest as the crowds ejected from the bar by the police and those who joined from the neighborhood fought back by throwing spare change and bottles and trash at the officers. One dyke refused to stay in a patrol car and the drag queens resisted being put into the paddy wagon. The tack squad was called as the officers retreated back inside and locked the doors. Someone uprooted a parking meter and used it as a battering ram and smashed the door open and sprinkled lighter fluid inside and lit it.
The backlash and several nights of protest that followed have come to be known as the Stonewall Riots.
Ken Harlin, curator of the Star Library of Columbia University wrote on the 25th anniversary of Stonewall:
“Prior to that summer there was little public expression of the lives and experiences of gays and lesbians. The Stonewall Riots marked the beginning of the gay liberation movement that has transformed the oppression of gays and lesbians into calls for pride and action. In the past twenty-five years we have all been witness to an astonishing flowering of gay culture that has changed this country and beyond, forever.”
The Village Voice newspaper reported under the headline “Gay Power Comes to Sheridan Square” that "Sheriden [sic] Square this weekend looked like something from a William Burroughs novel, as the sudden specter of 'gay power' raised its brazen head and spat out a fairy tale the likes of which the area has never seen.”
The next year, New York’s Christopher Street saw a Gay Liberation Day march. This was the first of many Stonewall commemorative marches that have evolved to become largely de-politicized pride parades and festivals that take place in cities and towns all over the United States and in most nations around the world.