Stonewall Rebellion

Author’s Note: Written in June of 2020. The characters are fictional. To write this I used various oral histories of the Stonewall Rebellion in order to make this writing fit the events of those three days. I use the language used in the oral histories. Some of that language may be offensive by today’s standards. I am posting this as my way to honor those who stood up against their oppressors.

Jimmy came from a small town in LaGrange County Indiana called Shipshewana. In the spring of 1968, his name appeared in the LaGrange Democrat. It didn’t appear there because of his outstanding grades or his contributions to the soccer team. He wasn’t mentioned for his community service or his role in the upcoming production of Doctor Faustus. His name appeared in the LaGrange Democrat because he was one of five men who had been arrested the evening before.

Maybe if he had only been arrested and hadn’t suffered the public shaming, Jimmy’s mother wouldn’t have barricaded herself in her bedroom. Maybe his father wouldn’t have changed the locks to the front door. Things would have stayed tense for a while, but with time, Jimmy could have shown his parents that it had all been a huge misunderstanding. Once his name appeared on a list of men who had been caught attempting to engage in homosexual acts in the park men’s room, there was no going back.

Standing there on the porch of the home he grew up in, Jimmy silently cried. Everything he owned in this world was piled up in once wet but now dry cardboard boxes. There was an old suitcase with shirts and pants poking out of the edges. Jimmy knocked. He pounded his fists on the door. “Please! Mom! Dad! Don’t do this to me! Please let me back in! I can change! Please don’t do this to me!”

His parents never spoke to him after that. All he heard on the other side of the door was some rustling and whispers. But that was it. That was the end of seventeen years. All the crafts projects and birthdays, all the Christmas mornings with his brothers and sister, mom and dad, none of it meant anything. Other than shoveling snow in the winter and mowing lawns in the summer, Jimmy had never worked. He never paid a bill. He never opened a checking account. All of his friend’s parents were friends with Jimmy’s parents. They all had a subscription to the LaGrange Democrat. Where could he go? Who could he stay with? Jimmy didn’t know, so he used some of his shirts as a pillow and a couple pairs of pants as a blanket and spent the night on the porch.

In the morning, the police came. He recognized one of them from when he was arrested. The officer helped Jimmy put his things in the back of his squad car. They drove silently for a while until the officer spoke a few minutes away from the bus station. “You’re going to have to get right with the Lord, son. There is no doubt the choices you’re making are going to get you sent to hell. But God is merciful. Even you can be redeemed.” Jimmy choked back his tears. “Other boys in your situation have gone to New York City,” The cop continued. “If you’re going to insist on living this way that’s where you should go. But, I will pray for you. I will pray for your parents.”

Dean’s journey to New York was completely different. His parents were academics from Maryland. There was no chance of Dean getting acceptance to Vanderbilt, his parent’s alma mater if he ever got outed. So, Dean took his desires and shoved them deep down inside to the point he had no idea If he was gay or straight. Sometimes someone might say something like, “Dean, when are you going to get yourself a girlfriend.” And Dean would reply “I don’t have time with all my studies.”

That’s what he did. He studied. He read all his assigned reading and then he reread it. Every time he thought of holding a boy’s hand or kissing one of his friends, Dean clenched his fists and studied harder. He studied so hard he graduated valedictorian. Vanderbilt was no different. He took extra classes and worked as a professor’s assistant. He stayed in the library until it closed while others were out meeting girls.

Dean had heard the stories about the “fags” in New York City. People would say they were everywhere there. It made it sound like a man couldn’t walk down the street without getting groped. And even though Dean never let himself admit it at the time, those stories were one of the reasons he decided to major in finance. Besides the rampant and blatant homosexuality, the other thing New York was known for was Wall Street. “Finance is a great profession,” he told his parents. “I won’t be a greedy Wall Street banker. I’ll be one of the good ones, one of the honest ones.”

Upon graduation, he moved to the city. Once situated in his new apartment and his new job, Dean strolled through the streets in the evenings after work. He liked being part of the bustle. He explored all over, almost everywhere, always navigating around Christopher Street, Greenwich Ave, Gay Street, West 10th Street, and Waverly Place. Sometimes he walked down the east side 6th or the west side of 7th Ave. and pretend he was just another man on a stroll not trying to get a glimpse of well-dressed transsexuals or one of the homeless gays who slept around the port authority. When they weren’t being harassed and chased by the cops they all seemed so happy and free. There were times Dean was half tempted to walk up to one and start a conversation but it wasn’t worth the risk. Even if there wasn’t a cop in sight it didn’t mean they weren’t lurking.

In those days cops where undercover striking up conversations with men. Sometimes the undercover would offer to buy a drink or suggest hanging out somewhere else. If the man in question accepted his offer he was accused of being a homosexual and arrested. Cops would even go so far as to grab another man’s crotch. If the suspect didn’t reject the advance aggressively enough he got hauled in. Even though the mayor tried to end the policy of entrapment many precincts were loathed to give it up. They were all getting kickbacks from the lawyers hired to defend the cases. And since there were only two or three lawyers willing to defend gays at the time it didn’t leave a lot of options for the accused.

Despite the risks, Dean took strolls for weeks by The Village until he “accidentally” found himself walking past Mamma’s Chicken Rib on Greenwich Avenue. There must have been twenty or thirty young men and a few queens standing out there smoking cigarettes and holding hands. Dean kept his eyes forward and pretended not to hear them catcalling. After that, he’d take cabs and pick destinations where he knew the driver would likely travel on Christopher Street. This was when Dean first noticed the Stonewall Inn.

The Stonewall Inn had a red brick wall on the first floor that had turned blackish over the years from dirt and traffic soot. The second floor was white concrete. A large wooden door with a slide-door peephole marked the lone entrance. About a year after he moved to New York, in the summer of 1969, Dean knocked on the door of the Stonewall Inn for the first time. He knew these places were raided all the time; that the cops would come crashing in and fill up their paddy wagons. When they ran out of room they’d beat the ones who remained. He knew the risks and Dean still had to see. Something had been driving him crazy. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t concentrate. He had no logical reason to expect to find the answers he sought inside the walls of the Stonewall Inn but the pull was unavoidable.

A large Italian man with a cigarette hanging from his lips peered through the peephole and he eyed Dean. “You a cop?” The man asked in a thick Brooklyn accent. The cigarette hardly moved.

Dean opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. He shook his head “no,” and the doorman let him in. Near the entrance were some tables. This was where the straight married gay men congregated. They sat there silently drinking a drink and smoking, observing all the less subtle gays. Off to the side were where the few butch lesbians hung out, dressed in their thick denim jackets and jeans. They had short slicked-back hair and didn’t wear any makeup. In the back, by the main dance floor, were all the gays who had been kicked out of their homes. These were the nothing-left-to-lose gays. They slow danced to soft dreamy music, kissing and petting one another. In the side room was another dance floor where all the flawlessly dressed queens paraded around, dancing to swing music and up-tempo rhythm and blues.

That first night Dean didn’t even get a drink. He walked in and sat at the tables. A couple of the other straight-gays nodded at him. He nodded back and then he got up to leave. A few nights later he returned and stayed a little longer. He ordered a drink and watched as the large Italian bartender took a dirty glass from a stack of dirty glasses and scooped out warm beer from a trough.

Jimmy was in the back laughing about something with his friends. Every once in a while, he liked to venture into the straight-gay section. He called it doing “outreach.” He’d make his strut a little more effeminate than usual, letting his eyes wash over the sad sacks hiding their faces in their collars. He’d ask one of them to dance and most of the time he got a “yes.”

On Dean’s second visit to the Stonewall Inn, Jimmy came weaving through the tables, stopping dead when he laid his eyes on Dean. Dean refused to look at him, even though he could feel his stare. Instead, he kept his eyes on the wall and he slowly drank his drink. Jimmy went skipping back to his group. “Oh, my Gawd! I just saw the most beautiful man,” he said to anyone who could hear him.

“Don’t waste your time,” Byron shouted back. “He probably has a gorgeous wife and three kids he’s never going to leave.”

In those days one of the few places young gay men could be intimate was a few blocks away at the meatpacking plant.They had these truck trailers sitting outside unlocked that had been holding dead carcasses inside them all day. At night, these trailers were standing room only, with wall-to-wall men groping and feeling one another. The smell was awful, like sticking your face into a bag of rotting meat. But it was what they had. The cops came and broke it up a few times a night. Everyone scattered. But as soon as the coast was clear, the trucks were full again.

Jimmy was only ever good enough for the straight-gays to take him down to the trailers, where there were no lights, where they could blindly fuck all their shame and self-hatred into him.

“Don’t do this to yourself, Jimmy,” came from the effeminate voice of Guinevere, the queen sitting on Byron’s lap. “You know how this always ends. You fall in love every night. And every night you’re the mistress; never the wife.”

Jimmy grabbed Guinevere’s drink from her hand and held it to his lips. He threw his head back and then handed Gwen the empty glass. “Well… being the mistress is still better than being nothing.”

Jimmy turned around and purposefully walked towards Dean’s table. He grabbed a chair and moved it across from Dean. He sat down. He looked at the young beautiful man with soft skin and thin face. His hair was short and brown. His eyes were an altogether unique hazel that stood out in the dark smoky bar.

“I’m Jimmy,” Jimmy said to the man who hadn’t made eye contact with him yet. When Dean didn’t respond Jimmy spoke again. “I’m, Jimmy. I haven’t seen you here before. What’s your name?”

Dean swallowed hard and answered. “John.”

Jimmy slid his hand along the table, inching closer to Dean’s hand. When they made contact, Dean pulled away. Jimmy started to speak but stopped. Looking over Dean’s shoulder he noticed one of the round-bellied Mafiosos watching. “We should leave,” Jimmy said. The Mafioso inched closer.

“What do you mean we should leave?” Dean protested. “I don’t know you. I just got here.”

Leaning in, Jimmy almost whispered, “You work in the city? You have a good job?”

“No,” Dean stuttered. “I’m visiting from out of town. I’m a store clerk.”

The mobsters who ran the Stonewall Inn weren’t doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. They didn’t care if the trannys, fags, and dikes had a place where they could be themselves. In the mornings they ripped off a liquor truck making its delivery. In the afternoon they watered down the booze, and in the evenings, they sold the drinks for triple the costs. It was 100% profit for them. And still, it wasn’t enough. Recently, the mobsters began following some of the straight-gays home. They found them in their high-rise apartments near the financial district. They’d wait all night and follow them to their jobs. Then they’d approach them with an ultimatum. “You want to keep your wife? You want to stay employed? Then give me half of your paycheck every week.”

As soon as Jimmy saw that Guido sizing up Dean, he knew what he was thinking. “I know you don’t know me. You have no reason to trust me. But you aren’t safe here. We need to go.”

Dean felt an uneasiness in his stomach. He looked over his shoulder and caught a large man in a tan leather jacket staring at him. When he looked back at Jimmy, he was mouthing the words, “Trust me. Let’s go.” Dean liked Jimmy’s face. He looked tired and a bit sad, but beneath all that he saw someone he believed he could trust. It was the same impulse that had brought him to the Stonewall Inn.

Once outside, and when Jimmy was sure they weren’t being followed he explained everything. “When you come back, don’t look so buttoned up,” he told Dean. “That’s why he noticed you. You look like you could be a Wall Street guy. Mess your hair up. Wear a shirt a couple of sizes too big like you stole it out of a church donation box. Wear jeans with holes in them and old sneakers. Then they won’t give you a second look.”

“I appreciate it, but I really am just visiting. I really am just a store clerk from Maryland.”

Jimmy smiled at Dean, and kind of nudged him with his shoulder as they walked down Waverly Place. Jimmy talked and dean listened. Jimmy told Dean about what it was like living on the streets, how he slept in one of the shelters a few nights a week, but most nights he curled up wherever he could get comfortable. He told Dean about the meatpacking trucks and the constant harassment by the police. “The Stonewall is trash, but the mobsters pay off the cops to leave us alone. It hardly ever gets raided. That’s why we all go there.”

Dean nodded like he understood. “That’s fascinating. It’s just that I’m not gay.”

Jimmy sighed, “I know.” He reached out and touched Dean’s face. Dean didn’t pull away. “We can just keep walking and talking. You don’t have to be gay or straight to have a conversation.”

That’s what they did. They walked and talked. Jimmy told Dean about getting outed in Shipshewana. He told him about how he loved the theater. Before he got outed he wanted to be an actor. He talked about how he missed his brothers and sister, and his parents. For some reason, he even told Dean about how he sometimes made money by getting into older men’s cars. “It’s not a big deal. I kind of like it because I know they’re too scared to go into the bars and meet someone.”

Jimmy told Dean that sometimes the straight-gays liked taking him down to the trucks where they could take out their frustrations. “If you’d like, we could go down there together.”

Dean stopped and turned to Jimmy. He took a deep breath before answering. “That is really kind of you to offer, but I’m not gay. Besides this is nice. This is really nice. I like being out here with you just hearing you talk. If it’s OK with you, I’d like to just keep listening.”

Jimmy smiled. He wanted to hug Dean. He wanted to kiss him, but he composed himself. The two continued circling around the neighborhood. They passed the Howard Jonson and the bookstore many times. They passed the building that housed the Greenwich Times, which was just down the street from the Stonewall. The walked around and around Greenwich until the sky began to turn blue.

Before they parted ways, Jimmy said, “I hope I see you again, you know, before your trip is over.”

Dean grimaced. “I hope so, too. I’ll be here a while.”

The two headed off in opposite directions, Dean towards the West Village, and Jimmy back towards Christopher Street.

The next day Jimmy couldn’t stop thinking about Dean. It was so nice being listened to for a change, he thought. For once he didn’t feel like a piece of meat.

Dean meant it when he said he wasn’t gay. At least he didn’t feel that way. But he also didn’t feel straight. Sitting in his office, pretending to be reading a prospectus for some oil company, he tried to imagine what it might have been like to kiss Jimmy. He tried to imagine feeling his rough stubbled face against Jimmy’s rough stubbled face, his large hands cradling Jimmy as their mouths opened. Then he tried to imagine kissing Beth, his secretary, the same way. Dean went back and forth between the two thoughts. Having never kissed a man nor a woman, Dean struggled to grasp at either idea. He couldn’t get comfortable in his chair. He fidgeted. He adjusted his tie. “Why is this so difficult to understand?” He said under his breath.

“Do I like men or do I like women, or maybe I like neither.” Beth had long blonde hair she wore in Bouffant style, a thin body, and long legs. She usually wore a slender tunic or a body-length cardigan that understated her curves. Even with her conservative dress the other men in the office often jabbed at Dean for how lucky he was for pulling Beth from the secretary pool. Dean imagined what it would be like to see Jimmy standing in his office doorway, holding a tray with his coffee, cream, and sugar. He pictured him standing there with his messy hair with swooping bangs. He pictured him in his baggy horizontal striped sweater.

Deep inside, he knew which he wanted. It wasn’t even close. But Dean thought if he kept going over it again and again eventually, he’d circle around to wanting Beth. It never happened. In fact, as the day progressed, getting closer and closer to 5:00 PM, Beth faded away. Dean thought about how cruel it must have felt to be thrown out by the people who raised Jimmy. Even though Dean hadn’t talked about his sexuality to his parents he knew he wouldn’t be treated that way. He imagined himself having to live on the streets at seventeen, having to do awful things to survive. Dean wanted to wrap his arms around his new friend. He wanted to apologize for lying about who he was. He wanted to thank Jimmy for protecting him from the Italians.

That night, Dean returned to the Stonewall Inn. This time his hair was messy. His jeans were ripped, and his shirt had a bleach stain on it. He knocked on the wooden door and the same fat-necked Italian peered through the peephole. He eyed Dean up and down and then let him in.

Dean walked past the straight-gays in the front and headed to the back. Right away he noticed how everyone deeper into the bar was more boisterous, flashing their teeth with huge smiles. Dean found Jimmy quickly because he was wearing the same clothes as the night before. He put his hand on Jimmy’s shoulder and Jimmy turned around. “John! You’re here! I’ve been hoping to see you.”

Tyler was in earshot and he nudged Byron, who tapped Guinevere on the shoulder. She was wearing a blue dress with matching satin gloves. She had her hair up in a hive. “This is the infamous John?” She spoke up. Many of the other men stopped what they were doing to focus their attention on Dean. He felt his heart beating in his chest. Guinevere continued. “He’s cute. Jimmy, you didn’t tell me how cute he was.”

Dean blushed. He leaned into Jimmy’s ear. “Can I buy you a drink?”

The two men headed over to the bar as they left behind the group. Before they got out of earshot they heard “ohs” and “awes” coming from the peanut gallery in a mocking tone. Jimmy waved his hand dismissively at his friends, telling Dean, “Don’t mind those fools.”

Jimmy and Dean stood near the bar, drinking their watered-down gins and talking. Jimmy praised Dean for looking the part. Dean thanked Jimmy for taking care of him the night before. Then he ordered another drink before Jimmy had even come close to finishing his. He gulped that one down and then ordered a third. “My Cherie Amour” came on the jukebox and Jimmy clapped. “I love this song. Please come dance with me.”

Dean shook his head no but Jimmy grabbed his hands and pulled him to the dance floor. Once there, Jimmy put his hands on Dean’s waist and Dean rested his hands on Jimmy’s shoulder. Stevie Wonder’s melodic voice set the tone, and gradually Dean allowed Jimmy to get closer and closer until his head was resting on Dean’s shoulder. The two men stayed like that, hugging and holding one another, slowly sawing back and forth for the next two songs, The Windmills of Your Mind, and Baby, Baby Don’t Cry.

On that dance floor, in the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village, in New York City, Dean summoned every ounce of self-control and will power he had to keep from breaking down and crying. It was like his entire life before that moment crumbled and fell apart all around him. He stood there in the arms of Jimmy, and he felt exposed, vulnerable, and scared. Jimmy sensed this, and held Dean tighter, massaging his back to comfort him.

They went back and forth all night between the bar and the dance floor. They kissed and held one another. They talked and laughed. It was more than either one of them had ever experienced. Dean, of course, was new to all of this but it was new for Jimmy, too. He felt seen by someone for the first time in a long time. Dean felt like he was being himself for the first time ever. They were free in a room filled with other free people, a room where everyone agreed there would be a moratorium on judgments. Even the straight mobsters didn’t see the men and women of the Stonewall as an abomination. They saw them as dollar signs and that was a kind of equality in and of itself. It was the 60s, the decade of free expression, but for some, they could only freely express themselves under fear of extortion or abuse from the police. That was what Dean had been realizing. That was the impulse inside him. Being free was worth the risks.

A little after 1:00 AM the bright white lights came on, blinding everyone. “Oh, Gawd…” Jimmy said. “We’re being raided.”

Dean fell backward into a chair as a commotion near the front erupted. “I can’t get arrested. I can’t.”

“Don’t worry,” Jimmy responded. “They only arrest the queens and people without ID.”

Jimmy’s breathing bordered on hyperventilating. “I can’t show them my ID!”

By now the police were pouring into the bar in what seemed like an endless stream of blue. Jimmy quickly pulled out his wallet and handed it to Dean. “Quick, give me your ID.”

Some of the cops were harassing the butch lesbians and they hadn’t made their way to the back, yet. Dean pulled out his ID and handed it to Jimmy who stuffed the card in his sock. “It’s OK,” Jimmy tried to reassure Dean. “I’ve been through this a hundred times. The Italians will pay them and it will all be over.”

A few of the female cops took the transvestites into the bathroom to check and see what parts they had under their dresses. Everyone else lined up against the wall. One by one the cops checked IDs, letting some leave and telling those who had no identification to go sit down at the tables. The Italians stood by the bar, flicking their fingers underneath their chin at the police.

When it was Jimmy’s turn to show ID, he said, “I guess I lost it.”

One of the cops shoved him towards the other men who were to be arrested. Next, Dean showed the ID Jimmy had given him. The cop looked it over and then wrote the name. “Alright, get out of here,” the cop said, handing him back Jimmy’s ID, and shoving Dean out the door.

Looking back over his shoulder, Dean saw jimmy mouthing the words, “Go, get out of here.”

A crowd formed around the entrance of the Stonewall of a few hundred men and a handful of women. Dean thought about leaving but couldn’t bring himself to with Jimmy still inside so he vanished inside the mass of people. At first, the mob was light-heated, cheering as the mafia guys were drug out and thrown into a paddy wagon. Next came the transvestites. One of them kept hitting a cop with her purse. The crowd laughed and threw pennies at the police. Then, four cops drug out Stormé DeLarverie, a somewhat famous butch lesbian at the time. The rage inside her, the anger in her screams had an effect on everyone. It was guttural. It was like the screams of an animal who knew she was being led to slaughter. For the lesbians of Stonewall that wasn’t far from the truth. Every one of them had a story about being raped by a cop. Her screams changed the attitude of the mob. They screamed, with her “Let her go!” Some tried to free her but the cops beat them off with clubs.

When they tried to shove Stormé into the paddy wagon, she locked her feet on the edges of the doors and pushed back, knocking over all the cops. Everyone in the wagon took the opportunity to free themselves. The scattered and the crowd cheered them. Stormé stood her ground refusing to flee. She punched one of the cops in the face. The mob cheered that too and some of them kicked and shoved the other cops who fled back into Stonewall. “They’re beating them,” someone yelled about the people still inside. “They’re going to kill them!” Someone else yelled.

The crowd continued to grow over the next half hour. The gays from the trucks and the ones who were getting high in the park found their way to The Stonewall. It was impossible not to feel the rage. It had been brewing for a lifetime, maybe even many lifetimes. Everyone there had been a victim at one time or another. Some had been abandoned by their family. Others had endured assaults and rapes. Everyone one of them had been harassed by the police.

No one planned it. There was no meeting saying tonight would be the night. Everyone there collectively decided enough was a-fucking-nough. The crowd had grown into the thousands. The Tactical Patrol Force showed up in riot gear with batons and plastic shields. They formed a phalanx to push the mob back to free the officers from inside the Stonewall. At first, it worked and the crowd retreated. But the police were no match for the festering rage now bubbling over. The mob ended up pushing the police back to 7th Ave.

Stormé strutted over to a parking meter and tried to rip it out of the ground grunting so loud everyone else stopped shouting. A few men came over to help her. Dean watched as she carried the meter over to the front door of the Stonewall and rammed it against the large wooden door like a battering ram.

Dean ran up next to Stormé, and grabbed the metal pipe, ramming the meter head into the door. Others kicked and punched. When the door broke, all the cops fled, pushing their way through the mob. The mob kicked, shoved and punched them all. “Give them a taste of what they’ve given us for so many years,” someone shouted. “Look at them run.” someone laughed. “They’re scared of a bunch of fags.”

Dean came charging into the Stonewall and found Jimmy on the floor with blood coming out of his nose. “Are you alright?” Dean shouted, helping Jimmy to his feet.

“You waited for me,” Jimmy said in disbelief.

The two hugged. Dean helped Jimmy out of Stonewall into the streets. To their shock, they saw cops getting beat by a gang of transvestites. The butch lesbians were chasing a group of cops down the street. Even some of the straight married gays had gotten a hold of some Billie clubs and were hitting cops as they chased them towards 7th.

Just then a cop ran by, almost knocking Dean and Jimmy down. Guinevere ran by in her heels chasing them with a bunch of other people. “Come on!” She yelled at Dean and Jimmy. “Let’s give these fuckers a taste of their own medicine.”

That night Greenwich was Scotland and the police were the British. It was China defending itself from the Mongolian empire. It was sacred ground and the stewards of the land could no longer stand by and watch it desecrated. It wasn’t a riot. It wasn’t an assault on officers of the law. It was a goddamn rebellion. The denizens of The Stonewall Inn chased the police up and down the streets for three straight nights. For three nights an oppressed people tasted freedom. They saw fear in their oppressor’s eyes. It was a fear the police needed to experience. It was the fear that comes when you realize the animal you’ve been abusing all its life is much stronger than you ever knew.

Also, over those three nights of the Stonewall Rebellion Dean and Jimmy fell in love. They kissed between scuffles with the police. They held hands. They embraced in dark alleys. During the day they rested and made love. They talked and ate food. When night came back around they rebelled. No one wanted it to end but even in the midst of all of it, everyone knew the fighting couldn’t last forever. That’s why the meetings first started. They were put together by those who were there. Dean and Jimmy attended most of them. The one thing everyone talked about was how do they keep the rebellion going. “How do we spread the fight to every city on earth?”

The history of the gay movement was forever changed the night Stormé DeLarverie punched a cop and broke down the door of the Stonewall Inn. A year later was the first time gay pride was recognized in an organized way. Jimmy and Dean were there for it. They got on a subway together with their premade signs and marched with all their friends. They marched the fifty-one blocks from Christoper street to Central Park. They let New York City know they existed and they weren’t going anywhere. The next year Chicago had its Gay Pride march. In the years that followed, other cities had their own.

The thing about rebellion is you can never stop fighting them. They never really end. If you stop you lose. Oppressors will always push to oppress. So, as we enter June 2020 (Pride month), fifty years after the first Gay Pride and fifty-one years after Jimmy and Dean fell in love during the Stonewall Rebellion, sixty years after the end of Jim Crow, seventy-five years after the Jews were liberated from Germany, one-hundred and fifty-seven years after the end of slavery, two-hundred and forty-four years after America declared its independence, and a month after the murder of George Floyd, it’s important to look back and ask what choice did they have? What choice do any oppressed people have? You fight. You keep fighting. Freedom is too valuable to wait for it.