In the earliest hours of June 28, 1969, a group of LGBTQ people reached their tipping point. They were peacefully enjoying the evening at the Stonewall Inn in New York City when police raided the bar and started hauling out the patrons. No longer willing to take the harassment and discrimination, the LGBTQ individuals at the bar fought back. Their protest lasted six days and sparked a movement that is still building today.
It was a critical moment in the equality movement, but it certainly wasn’t the only one. Even before the riots at Stonewall, we had the Compton Cafeteria riot in San Francisco and the police raids and subsequent protests at the Black Cat Tavern. Together, these three events mobilized the LGBTQ community to action. Many of the fiercest fighters were transgender women and queer people of color who fought against this injustice.
Fifty years later, remarkable progress has been made in our fight for equality, thanks to the fearless determination of the LGBTQ community and the allies we’ve gained along the way. But the three pillars that support our movement are the same as they were back in 1969:
People. Since its very beginnings, the fight for equality has belonged to brave marginalized people whose fierce commitment compels them to protest, march, volunteer, vote and donate. These people — LGBTQ-identified and allies — are what keeps our movement growing stronger and gaining new ground every year.
Power. Our voices give us power, and when you speak up about LGBTQ equality, you use your privilege to help advocate and create change. Using your voice proves especially important for the power of our voting block. Together, pro-equality voters are changing the makeup of Congress, and with that will come policies that support equality for all.
Pride. Every time someone takes to the streets in protest, goes to the halls of Congress to fight for equality or marches in a Pride parade, it shows that you are out and proud or you are a friend and supporter of the LGBTQ community. This visibility is incredibly meaningful to LGBTQ people — knowing that they are accepted and championed by so many!
This June, as LGBTQ individuals and allies of the movement join together for Pride month, please take a moment to think of the brave individuals who started the fight for equality — and know how grateful we are to you for carrying it forward!