Gay Americans have long faced a system rigged against them by both cultural and legal means. With very few places traditionally to gather in the 1950s and 60s, many from the LGBTQ community gravitated to night clubs and bars where their sexual orientations were at sometimes celebrated or at least accepted. Still even in these places, those present were more times than not subject to discrimination, harassment and even violence by those nearby. This often occurred at the hands of the police who were ordered to invade these places and make a certain number of arrests and close down the establishments. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, the patrons of that bar had had enough of the long-term systematic abuse and marginalization. When the police attempted to enter the bar those there resisted. The Stonewall uprising became more pronounced when reports circulated that early morning that the police became violent in those attacks on the LGBTQ community. Crowds gathered and came to the aid of those at Stonewall. Tensions between the New York City police, and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening and again several nights later. Within weeks, Village residents quickly organized into activist groups to concentrate efforts on establishing places for gay men and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested. It marked the beginning of the Pride movement. Today, LGBTQ Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall uprising. In June 2019, the 50th anniversary of Stonewall more than 5 million people participated in the celebrations in New York Coty alone, and on June 6, 2019, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill rendered a formal apology on behalf of the New York Police Department for the actions of its officers at Stonewall in 1969. June 27, 1969, had been a scorching hot and humid day in New York City with a high temperature of 96 and in the early morning hours of June 28 the mercury was still in the 80s. The Stonewall Inn, like many Gay bars of the time were run down and not well maintained, it was poorly air-conditioned, and some patrons were outside the bar trying to cool off. This helped lead to the first wave of resistance outside the bar. Would the initial resistance have occurred if the was not so steamy that night, perhaps not – but the just fight for LGBTQ rights would undoubtably broken through at another time and place as the expansion of human rights continues to move forward.
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