The Stonewall Riots And The Gay Rights Movement Essay

1148 Words May 30th, 2016 5 Pages
What initially seemed to be a regular police raid on a random June night in 1969 turned into riots lasting several evenings, with an impact that would continue to this day. Often people divide the history of the United States’ gay rights movement into two epochs- “before Stonewall” and “after Stonewall”. Accordingly, this distinction illustrates the Stonewall Riots’ individual importance for gay rights even as it was not the first event to highlight the injustices of homophobia. Despite its relatively late appearance in the timeline of gay rights history, the riots were the first demonstration of homosexual activism to be celebrated on a large scale and remain in large part the most commemorated gay rights demonstration. Additionally, the riots have been attributed to launching the modern gay rights movement. However, what factors ensured Stonewall’s commemoration when earlier events were as dramatic, politically relevant, and significant as Stonewall? In this regard, Stonewall must have had other underlying reasons behind its commemoration besides the event itself. Although events occurring earlier in the gay rights movement had the capacity to catalyze the modern movement, the increasingly political sixties culture shaped by the civil rights movement induced a radicalization of the gay rights movement. Correspondingly, this radicalization encouraged activists to commemorate the Stonewall riots, the first commemoration of its kind, to launch a new phase of the movement.…

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