On this day 50 years ago, LGBTQ activists and allies in New York City marched from Greenwich Village to Central Park to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
The event became known as the first gay-pride march or parade.
From the first gay-pride march in 1970 to the US Supreme Court’s ruling protecting LGBTQ people against workplace discrimination earlier this month, here are 25 monumental moments in the fight for equal rights for people of all genders and sexual orientations.
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Joe Negrelli, a lifelong New Yorker, was at the Stonewall Inn the hot and humid June night 51 years ago when LGBTQ patrons rioted against a police raid, launching the modern gay rights movement.
A year later, he marched with hundreds of others from Greenwich Village to Central park to commemorate the uprising. That event marked the world’s first Pride parade, which turns 50 today.
“There’s a tremendous lack of understanding of how far the LGBTQ movement has come,” Negrelli, who was 18 back then and is now 68, told Business Insider.
Since then, Negrelli has kept careful tabs on all the milestones America’s queer community has reached, both the good and the bad.
“If you had told me decades ago that the gay liberation movement would get to this point, where we’d go from being arrested, evicted, fired from our jobs for being gay to now the Supreme Court ruling we can’t be discriminated against at work, I wouldn’t believe you! I can’t believe it’s happened during my lifetime,” said Negrelli, who is a member of the SAGE USA, an advocacy group for LGBTQ elders.
This year, Pride parades across the country, including New York City’s, have been canceled due to the coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t celebrating: Many are tuning into online events, like yesterday’s virtual Global Pride on June 27.
Read below for a visual tour of the setbacks and victories America’s LGBTQ community has seen in the years since the very first march, and click here to read more about Negrelli’s experiences as a gay man before the Stonewall riots.
June 28, 1969: Patrons of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York City resisted arrest. Word spread quickly through the area, and more people joined to protest.
NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images
According to Negrelli, the uprising began when a police officer flung slurs against someone who identified as transgender. The officer pulled off her wig, and the patron punched him.
Trans-rights advocates and self-identified drag queen Marsha P. Johnson was at the Inn the night of the riot. Along with friend and drag queen Sylvia Rivera, she would create the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens and LGBTQ youth.
June 28, 1970: On the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, thousands of members of the LGBTQ movement marched through New York from Christopher Street into Central Park on what would become America’s first gay-pride parade.
Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Though other commemorations were held around the country, New York’s is widely credited as the first Gay Pride march.
“We have to come out into the open and stop being ashamed, or else people will go on treating us as freaks,” one member of the group the Gay Liberation Front told the New York Times.
December 15, 1973: The board of the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. The move helped shift public opinion of the LGBTQ community.
Source: Human Rights Campaign
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