As we all know by now, this month is World Pride, first time being held in NYC. This year commemorates 50 years of the gay rights movement, that began when police raided the Stonewall Inn, which was a gay bar, located in Greenwich Village, here in New York..
Back in the 1960s, many bars in New York City were controlled by organized crime.. Most of time, they operated without proper paperwork, and corrupt cops would collect monthly bribes to turn a blind eye.
Police would arrest all the patrons in retaliation for not getting their "dues" on time. Gay and lesbian bars were easy targets because they had no legal protection. City laws made gay bars illegal, and wealthy patrons were often extorted. The dingy, rundown bars were raided constantly, and people didn't really stand up to the police.
That is, until one night...
On June 28 1969, the police raided the Stonewall.
The patrons were tired of getting harassed, and a fight broke out.
People spilled out into the street and it turned into a mob.
The police sent in reinforcements and crushed the protest.
But it did not stop there.
Protest continued the following night and the night after and soon the community organised into activist group to concentrate efforts on establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested.
The Stonewall riots changed the landscape of gay rights. Today, the LGBTQ+ community continues to fight for acceptance and respect from the establishment.
Now I know, there are many people that do not agree with homosexuality, for religious, moral, or for whatever reason. And I am sympathetic, It oftentimes feels like only one side of this argument is allowed.
But for those opposed to gay, you are entitled to fell how you want, but we as a society have to practice tolerance and acceptance to others that are different from us. We come in all the colors of the rainbow. Our differences are what makes us special. And, loving our fellow man is what we should all strive to do...everyday.
So today. we say big up to all those who are willing to stand up and fight for the right to be who you want to be. And, to everybody celebrating World Pride this weekend... get out there and strut.
However you ride, walk with Pride!