This installment starts our look back with a peek into just last year. Seriously, check out that interview and book if you’d like a great big slice of what real queer American history looks like beyond a few nibbles of names and dates.
But we won’t skip on the names and dates either. Though a long ways yet from October, LGBT History Month, it was June of 1999 that then President Bill Clinton declared gay and lesbian pride month. Again in June of this year, President Obama would make a more inclusive declaration of this as LGBT pride month. My guess is that come 2024, a sitting president might hear the term GSM for the first time, and also remark aloud, “but I thought they hate it when you call them queers?”
It is of course pride month because of June 28th, 1969, the Stonewall Riots. You want to know more about that, and you do, then get the heck off this page for a bit, check that video, and wade into a fascinating, conflicted history. You can even see internal police documents leading up to the raid. Go on ahead, Queereka will be here when you get back. In June of the following year, the radical Gay Liberation Front would rally in support of arrested Black Panthers.
Almost exactly 34 years later, June 26 2003, Lawrence v. Texas is decided, striking down as unconstitutional the Lone Star State’s anti-sodomy laws and setting tough precedent around the United States.
And finally, having mentioned riots and protests in strong solidarity, take a look at how bad ass the old school could be, with marches so successful they didn’t even have to happen to get their demands met. That is THE Bayard Rustin right there, 71 years ago this month, and it is good to see his spirit still inspires.
Queer History is a bi-monthly feature that highlights important moments in queer history. If you know of an important historical moment that you want highlighted, please feel free to submit it using the contact form.
Feautured image is of the Stonewall Inn. On the window, it reads: “We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village”