June 28, 1969: The Stonewall Riots Commence.
Just after 3:00 a.m., a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in New York City’s Christopher Street set off what would become one of the first historically documented uprising by the LGBT community in the United States against the police and a state-sponsored anti-LGBT agenda. The Stonewall Riots as well set off the formation of the Gay Liberation Movement, and several other LGBT movements and organizations throughout the world.
Although the police had justification to raid the club, due to the fact that the Stonewall Inn served liquor without a license among other violations, New York’s LGBT community had grown aware of the police department discrimination against the LGBT community especially it’s targeting of gay clubs throughout the city. And on June 28, 1969 when three drag queens and a lesbian were forced into the paddy wagon, transgender activists such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera acted against the police use of excessive violence and began to throw bottles at the officers.
Actions taken by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera (two prominent transgender activists who both were founding members of the Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance and after much isolation by the LGBT Movement they went on to create the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries), were essential to the uprising of the LGBT community against discriminatory policies held by the United States government.
You know what was beautiful about that night? To see the brothers and sisters stand as a unified people.
- Sylvia Rivera