The LGBT Community: The Stonewall Movement

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The queer community has always existed, and as long as it has existed, so has homophobia. The Stonewall riots were a direct result of the oppression of LGBT individuals, when a group of New Yorkers decided that they had had enough. The riots may have only been an isolated event, but the events that followed helped to shape history for LGBT individuals forever. Just years before the riots, these individuals were hiding “in the closet” and afraid to be themselves. It was the loud and open expression pioneered by the rioters, which helped form safer laws and spaces where the queer community could meet without fear of judgement.
The beginnings of revolution began brewing as far back as WWII, as well as beyond, when the societal structure was temporarily
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It was not until later on that Stonewall became the symbol of hope and rebellion it is today. John O’Brien, a man who was there during the riots, has said that he “had no idea how important it would be and what it would lead to” (PBS n.d.). Like him, many of those in the LGBT community were empowered by Stonewall, but felt that it would not last, or that it would be a minor event in the grand scheme of things. The rioters did not organize to enact change; they acted on impulse out of fear and anger. These individuals were the spark that created the larger queer rights movement. LGBT+ individuals began forming groups such as the Gay Liberation Front, in an attempt to fight back against their oppressors. The Gay Liberation Front in particular was formed to combat heteronormativity as well as racism, and worked closely with the Black Panther party to enact change. Gay pride marches also began to form as a memorial of the riots, and continue to this day. The marches are a celebration of the queer community and culture, and directly contrast the past notion that queer people should be hidden away. These celebrations of pride, along with the organizations that formed because of the riots, sparked rebellion and queer rights campaigns in other countries, including Canada and Australia. Gay bars and clubs are no longer secret establishments, and are open to the public without fear of being raided. Laws against the gay community have also been repealed, such as the Briggs Initiative in California. The campaign aimed to dismiss homosexual school employees, but was defeated in 1978. These actions have kept the spirit of Stonewall alive, as people fight for their right to feel safe in

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