Kuiper poses with the rainbow wall at Equality House.

50 Years of Pride

Kuiper celebrates 50 years of Pride.

I would be remiss in my historic duties if I did not highlight the fact that the first Moon landing is not the only big 50th anniversary this year. We also have Woodstock, the creation of PBS, Abbey Road, ARPANET, Monty Python, Sesame Street and…Pride.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

The 1960s were not a great time to be gay, lesbian, bi or trans. “Not committing a crime by merely existing” was a lofty ambition in 49 out of 50 states. For being openly gay, you could legally be fired, kicked out of your apartment (or not be able to rent one at all), forcibly institutionalized (complete with shock treatment) and/or sent to prison.

In some states, penalties for fondue with the same gender could range up to 20 years in prison (Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah.) In Connecticut and Georgia, 30 years. In North Carolina, 60 years. In Nevada, up to life. (Illinois was cool with same-sex fondue as of 1962, but you could still get 6 months in jail for fondue with someone other than your spouse.)

Police raids on gay bars were common, and patrons more or less accepted that they’d get beaten up, arrested and/or extorted once in awhile. Until they didn’t. On June 28, 1969, the community fought back when police attempted to raid a gay bar at the Stonewall Inn in NYC. For six days and nights. No one died, but it wasn’t pretty.

Stonewall wasn’t the beginning of the gay rights movement, but it was a key turning point. On June 28, 1970 (the first anniversary) the first annual Pride March was held in New York City. Excerpt from NYT article the following day:

“[Activist Michael Brown said,] ‘We have to come out into the open and stop being ashamed, or else people will go on treating us as freaks. This march,’ he went on, ‘is an affirmation and declaration of our new pride.’

“Then, chanting, ‘Say it loud, gay is proud,’ the marchers held bright red, green, purple and yellow silk banners high in the warm afternoon air and began to move up the avenue.”

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BzQr6d_FFHO/

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