The Stonewall Riots of 1969 Jumpstarted the Gay Movement

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There are certainly various points in history that can be construed as trailblazing for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. One event in particular, however, sparked awareness and a call to action that previously could never have been conceptualized in the United States. This unforgettable incident, the Stonewall riots of 1969, altered the public’s view of the gay community and arguably jumpstarted the next revolution in an entirely new civil rights movement. In the wee hours of June 28th, 1969, members of the gay community were forced to enter a string of intense protests when the New York City Police began to raid the Stonewall Inn, a popular hangout spot for drag queens and members of the LGBT community, in Greenwich Village. This occurrence was one of the first times in history in which enraged citizens of this community actually took a stand that would permanently alter not only their own lives, but also the lives of countless men and women for many years thereafter. As a response to this event, the Gay Liberation Front, an organization that identified mistreatment of gay individuals as systemic and fundamentally unjust, formed to instill a new language and style of homosexuality. However, the GLF was ultimately run aground due to identity politics, and its criticism regarding its apparent favor for white gays and perceived disregard for white lesbians and people of color. Nevertheless, it was innovative in that it was one of the first organizations to advocate gay equality that borrowed ideas and ways of operating from antiwar demonstrators and groups such as the Black Panthers. The Stonewall riots demonstrated just how powerful and steadfast the gay community is capable of being and set a precedent that e... ... middle of paper ... ...otions and educate oneself in a more relatable and less scientifically intimidating manner, which will ultimately lead to destigmatization. Moreover, Treichler maintains that although society has become more progressive in its understanding that AIDS is a heterosexual disease just as much as a homosexual one, this advancement does not necessarily disintegrate the “fantasy” surrounding the issue (i.e. ideas about “safer sex”, etc.) Apprehending what one learns from science will obviously be very beneficial to one’s grasping the concept of AIDS in its most basic form, but using this information self-consciously and pragmatically – and knowing that the sometimes contradictory information one takes in might not necessarily be utilizing the correct discourse signifying what AIDS “really” means – will allow one to make sense of the disease as a complete, organized whole.

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