Introduction: Stonewall Uprising (03:10)
Homosexual acts were illegal in every state except Illinois in 1969. That summer, New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. The patrons fought back against harassment that night, an act of defiance pivotal to the gay rights movement.
Torturous "Cures" (04:21)
Medical authorities of the 1960s classified homosexuality as a mental illness and, in some cases, a form of psychopathy. Gays and lesbians were subjected to aversive conditioning, during which they were shown pornography and then shocked. In extreme cases, they were sterilized or given lobotomies.
Closeted Existence (05:57)
Gays were labeled as different from a young age and expected to hide their sexual preference. Many succumbed to parental pressure to get married and have kids. Being openly gay could lead to a dishonorable discharge from the military or otherwise make it difficult to find a job.
Openly Harassed (06:12)
A CBS poll suggested that two-thirds of Americans had a negative opinion of gays and were against legalizing homosexual relationships between consenting adults. Gays and lesbians found refuge from straight society in their own clubs and bars, but they had no legal protections.
Gay Community Forms (05:23)
Before Stonewall, there was no such thing as coming out or being out. Greenwich Village had developed a reputation as a liberal neighborhood where it was safe to meet and openly interact with other gay people. However, the area was also a magnet for gay bashing.
Police Target Gays (07:47)
As tourists flooded into the city, the New York Police Department felt pressure to clean the streets of any kind of “weirdness.” Gays were arrested on a range of charges, including violation of an 1845 statute that made it illegal to masquerade.
Stonewall and Gay Underground (08:53)
New York State Liquor Authority ruled that one known homosexual in a licensed premise made the establishment disorderly. This paved the way for the mafia to corner illicit gay bar business. The Stonewall Inn, which had no liquor license, was part of that underground network.
Gay Activism (06:47)
The Mattachine Society spearheaded a bourgeoning gay rights movement. Many gay activists drew inspiration from the more visible black and women’s civil rights movements. Mayor John Lindsay announced the end of gay entrapment but later cracked down on gay bars as he ran for reelection.
Riot Erupts (17:04)
Police raided the Stonewall Inn in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. The cops roughed up a woman who was fighting to get away, thus enraging the crowd that had gathered outside. Police retreated inside as conditions deteriorated.
Continued Resistance (08:26)
Activists passed out leaflets encouraging further action after the initial riot. The Stonewall Inn reopened the next night leading to another round of conflict, with participants from other movements joining in the fray. There was very little news coverage.
Aftermath and Legacy (05:55)
The Mattachine Society organized a protest march in the aftermath of the riots. Participants were apprehensive but later emboldened as more joined them in support. The Stonewall Uprising changed the direction of the gay movement and served as the catalyst for future Gay Pride celebrations.
Credits: Stonewall Uprising (00:43)
Credits: Stonewall Uprising
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