John Shields

Stonewall: A Photo Retrospective

Filed By John Shields | June 28, 2009 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, The Movement
Tags: gay history, gay rights, photos, police brutality, pride, stonewall riots, trans, transvestite

As we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the Bilerico Team thought we'd make a photo spread surrounding that small tavern in Greenwich Village that changed our world.

The death of Judy Garland, coupled with the hate and prejudice that emanated from nearly every sector of society towards us "queers," fueled a fire and rage that still burns today.

For those that have gone before us, as well as those that still stand beside us, we owe more than just our thanks - we owe them, in many cases, our lives.

These photos were both sent to us and found on the web, and hopefully will help all of us remember how far we've come in 40 years - and those that helped pave the path for us to be an increasingly equal part of the unique fabric we call America. It's not always perfect, but nothing ever is.

We're sure we missed more than a few photos, and some may be out of date and/or just plain wrong, but you get the idea. And please feel free to add to our photo spread or email them to us and we'll aim to get them posted as fast as we can.

Thanks, and Happy Pride. Every Day. We all are truly walking in the footsteps of giants. Let's make them proud.



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Angela Brightfeather | June 28, 2009 6:50 PM

Thank you so much for those pictures and especially the one with Silvia Rivera standing in the front. Having met Silvia a few times and had the honor of listening to her speak, I know that she felt that what happened at the Stonewall Inn was an overflowing of sentiment that was never designed to be as historic as it has been.

She and the NYC Trans Community always felt abondoned in the 70's and 80's by the move to divorce Trans people from the Gay Community. Silvia and many of the other girls have passed on or were victims of AIDS early on and I am so saddened by the fact that they never had the opportunity to see the seeds that they had helped to sow grow into what it is today.

After the exclusive ENDA, it was the actions of Stonewall that inspired the Trans community to say no more. It was the very pleasant surprise also, to see so many GLB people recognize that more subtle rebellion 18 months ago and join with Trans people to make ENDA more inclusive. Today, on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, after the eelction and so many objective now in sight, it finally feels that the legacy of Stonewall is being lived up to by people inthe GLBT community today by uniting and working together.

I was 23 years old when Stonewall happened and the residual effect of it was the immediate crackdown of gay clubs in the area where I lived in Upstate NY. Those "uppity" gays were getting to violent and police forces in many cities decided to not let things get out of hand.

But the proverbial cat was out of the bag and it became very clear to various police departments that their standard brutal ways of dealing with gay people had to change and the raids on the clubs came to a grinding halt in most areas within 1 year after Stonewall.

Looking back then and remembering the fear that existed, it is impossible to measure the amount of success that has happened over the last 40 years. All of our lives are so much better today.

HAPPY PRIDE everyone.

as a not yet out gay i only recently have come to recognize what stonewall and its aftermath have meant in my life. the next few years after the riots were full of gay news and it obviously triggered in me a recognition that took me years to accept. i realize though, in thinking back, that it was the freedom of expression that i became aware of that spurred these emotions and sensations that i had no previous dealings with.

because i'm not out i don't "celebrate" gay pride as most do, but this is the year i can say i am beginning to celebrate within my own heart and head...coming out is probably right around the corner.

thanks, stonewall veterans...and thanks to bilerico for all the good intelligent information.

because i'm not out i don't "celebrate" gay pride as most do, but this is the year i can say i am beginning to celebrate within my own heart and head...coming out is probably right around the corner.

If you need any help or support, we'll do everything we can to be there for you, George. Just remember, you're a damn good person worthy of love and respect just as you are. If someone can't accept you as LGBT, then they're not worthy of that same respect you are entitled.

The second pic is NOT of Stonewall. The one with the skinhead with the t-shirt reading Queer as Fuck and the cops in riot gear. That looks more 1980s or later, but is definitely NOT 1969 Stonewall. Why is it included? You are putting in false pics and calling them history. What kind of editorial integrity is that? Great propaganda I guess -- for YOUR agenda. Disgusting!