Awareness days

Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

28. June 2023

Reading time: approx. 2 minutes

Schild mit der Aufschrift "The first Pride was a riot" beim CSD 2021
Content warning
This article contains descriptions of experiences of violence and discrimination. These topics can trigger negative reactions in some people. Please be careful if this is the case for you!

28 June is the commemoration day of the famous Stonewall riots. Stonewall has a special significance in the queer community, as the riots are considered the beginning of the modern queer movement. The name Stonewall goes back to a New York bar on Christopher Street, which was particularly popular with the queer community. On the night of 28 June 1969, there were major riots there. The reason for this was another arbitrary, brutal raid by the New York police, who wanted to check the IDs of the bar’s peaceful patrons and forced people to undress in order to check whether their clothing conformed to the heteronormative norm.

In 1969, homosexuality was still considered illegal in many countries. For members of the queer community, the bar was a refuge where they could be themselves. The Stonewall Uprising was therefore not only a protest against arbitrary police violence, but also a defence of the rights of queer people. The three trans women and women of colour Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Stormé Delarvarie are considered the leaders of the uprisings. They loudly drew attention to the fact that the behaviour of the police was inhumane and loudly called on others to defend themselves against police violence. There had been riots against arbitrary police violence against queer people before.

Stonewall, however, was the first united protest by the queer community in favour of gender and sexual equality. The 1969 uprising was the beginning for many people around the world to stand up for queer rights and celebrate their queerness. In New York, a memorial march for the Stonewall protesters is held every year. Christopher Street Day also emerged from the Stonewall riots. It was first celebrated in Germany in 1972. At that time, many participants still wore masks for fear of being recognised. CSD then came to Leipzig in 1992 and has been celebrated here every year since. You are welcome to read more about the event in our chronicle.

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