Have you ever marched in a Gay Pride Parade? Do you know why you were able to?
On June 28, 1969 the Stonewall Riots took place at the Stonewall Inn at 51 Christopher Street in New York City, sparking a civil rights movement for LGBT community in the United States. Every time I'm at the Stonewall, I can't help but think of what went on that night whilst enjoying my drink. Let's take look at what you could expect in America at this time, and why the anger was boiling just below the surface for so many LGBT people in the US:
Your name (along with all of your friends and family members) would be put on a list by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, because as a homosexual you were prone to blackmail and "overt acts of perversion".
The United States Post Office also kept your name on a list to monitor any homosexual "paraphernalia" you were receiving so they could tip off the police and have you arrested.
You would be dishonorably discharged from the military, fired from your government job or job as a teacher or professor at a college if you were suspected of being gay with no legal recourse.
Your neighborhood would be "swept" periodically to arrest you and anyone else who was a presumed homosexual or wore clothes not "for" their gender.
The American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a sociopath personality disturbance and you were considered mentally infirm (this did not change until 1973).
You could be arrested for holding hands in public with your partner.
For these reasons and others, some of these amazing individuals with heart and balls are why we , today, have the lifestyle and freedoms we have.
Frank Kameny-He has been referred to as "one of the most significant figures" in the American gay rights movement
Bob Kohler-a gay rights pioneer, who also fought for the rights of many other people and animals. He was at the Stonewall riots, and considered a father figure to many of the young trans people.
And a slew of drag queens.
As Gay Pride Month comes to a close...and we celebrate....we must always remember these heroes, and that historic night.