Before June 28, 1969 it was not safe to be gay in the streets of New York. Many LGBT people found shelter in gay bars. There, they could be themselves and love openly without judgement–even if it was just for a little while. One of these bars was called The StoneWall Inn.
Cops in the NYPD found out about these bars and decided to use them to their benefit. Some were payed off to look the other way, but others took a more horrific approach. I’ve heard stories of lesbians and transgender men and women being assaulted by male police officers simple because they could.
Eventually the LGBT community got fed up with the way they were treated. They decided to take a stand. Lead by an amazing drag queen named Marsha P. Johnson the community stood up to the police that night. The hunted became the hunter. The usually peaceful group of people stormed the streets. Turning over cars, starting fires. To some people it was a frightening scene.
To others it was a sign of freedom.
Silvia Rivera, a transgender woman who partook in the StoneWall riot recalled saying that night, “I am not missing a minute of this, it’s the revolution”.
The history of StoneWall is truly the history of human rights.
Soon after the StoneWall Riots there was a parade. A sort of peaceful protest. This parade became the foundation for Gay Pride celebrations around the world today.
I created these three posters as a reminder the reason we have the freedom and rights that we have today as LGBT people is because of trailblazing people like Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera. Without them it wouldn’t be possible for two people to walk down the street holding the hand of the person they love.