Title Image by Ty Hardaway
I was riding the Q train into Manhattan Sunday morning when two naked girls boarded my subway car. They were about 20 years apiece, each with buxom, blossoming bosoms and wearing a ton of make-up.
Strictly speaking they weren’t completely *naked*, but with only tiny neon swimsuits covering their naughty bits — on the Q train at 10 A.M. they might as well have been greased bare and doing “ass-to-ass.”
It only took me a second to realize that they must’ve been heading downtown to the annual Gay Pride Parade. Good for them. They were obviously tourists or college students, and that kind of naked partying is exactly what you’re supposed to get out of your system when you’re that age, lest you end up turning 40 and suddenly needing to leave your children for a black cock in order to “Get Your Groove Back.”
I struck up a conversation with them, which was easy because they were so self-conscious and naked. I knew it: It turned out they were from Florida and were interning at some company in NYC, where doubtless their elderly bosses had to lock themselves in their offices and wank to Brandi Belle vids in order to keep from chloroforming these girls and dipping their gray wrinkly nuts onto those sweet unconscious mouths.
These girls obviously weren’t lesbians (MUCH too hot) but that’s not what the Gay Pride Parade is about. For those who don’t know, Gay Pride is just a huge gay-themed party in the village, and you don’t have to be gay to attend any more than you have to be a ghost to attend the annual Halloween Parade, or a brain-washed sociopathic child molester to celebrate Christmas.
Again: Good for them.
It occurred to me though, that these girls probably didn’t know something very important. Before the Gay Pride Parade was basically just the progressive, liberal-arts version of Mardi Gras, there was an important purpose behind it: The ORIGINAL Gay Pride March in 1970 was a civil rights demonstration to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots.
These two girls had never heard of Stonewall, and I’m guessing that while you’ve HEARD of it and it rings a bell, maybe you could use a little refresher about this event that was as significant as the Civil Rights riots that happened a few years earlier. In school we learn about the Holocaust™, we learn about Segregation™, but we’re still not teaching Stonewall.
(If you already know everything there is to know about the Stonewall Riots and the birth of the gay rights movement, then you can stop reading — just leave a comment below reminding us all that you’re a funny and brilliant genius.)
Here’s the shit that you should know:
1. Homosexuality was ILLEGAL in New York City in 1969…
… and the NYPD enforced this law with constant raids on gay bars and gay-tolerant establishments. (Fun fact: While not normally enforced in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, homosexual sex wasn’t technically legal in the US until 2003.)
2. The USA kept Known homosexuals on FBI Lists.
During this time, Senator Joe McCarthy (The Communist Hunter) persuaded the State Department and FBI to keep lists of “known homosexuals, their favored establishments, and friends; the U.S. Post Office kept track of addresses where material pertaining to homosexuality was mailed.
State and local governments followed suit: Bars catering to homosexuals were shut down, and their customers were arrested and exposed in newspapers. Cities performed “sweeps” to rid neighborhoods, parks, bars, and beaches of gays. They outlawed the wearing of opposite gender clothes and universities expelled instructors suspected of being homosexual. Thousands of gay men and women were publicly humiliated, physically harassed, fired, jailed, or institutionalized in mental hospitals.”
3. The Mob controlled gay bars.
Like anything else that’s under prohibition, the Mafia controlled New York’s gay scene in 1969. The Mob was in charge of paying off the cops each week to keep them from raiding their shit and busting all their patrons for the crime of gay.
4. The Stonewall Inn was considered THE gay bar in New York City.
In addition to weekly payoffs to the NYPD, a bouncer would examine each patron through a peephole to ensure that they weren’t undercover police before they were let in.
Stonewall had no liquor license, since any bar caught serving a homosexual had their liquor license revoked. The Stonewall Inn was mob-owned of course, and their weekly payments to the NYPD meant that the establishment could allow its patrons to perform illegal activity such as dancing with one another.
(Yes, the conditions preempting the Stonewall Riots can basically be thought of as the gay Footloose with crooked and physically abusive cops playing the part of John Lithgow.)
5. On the night of June 28th, 1969, four undercover cops from the NYPD’s Public Morals Squad attempted to raid the Stonewall Inn.
As was standard practice for these raids, the cops separated everyone dressed in drag and lined them up against the back of the bar. There, a female officer examined their genitals to prove that they were men. Once this was established, they were arrested.
6. This was the last straw.
For some reason, on this night (the death of Judy Garland five days earlier? That’s not a joke — it’s been speculated as being a relevant factor) the people who had been continually busted and degraded because of who they loved decided to fight back.
It started with people throwing pennies at the police (here’s your payoff!!) and blossomed into fire, violence, and half of the west village joining in to beat back the cops and chase THEM down the street. The vibe and the violence lasted for days, and a year later, gay rights organizations existed throughout the U.S. and around the world.
This is how the Gay Civil Rights movement was born.
Now, we blacks and Jews get all the high school textbook press, but no one should ever forget: Of all the marginalized groups out there, there’s still only one with federal legislation against them.
That being said, I’m not sure the current Pride Parade helps anything — in fact it may actually harm the mainstream acceptance of gays — but the holiday itself is still important to observe.
I know that because of the lack of mainstream education on this topic, that even among smart people, there’s still a lot of “Wait, I’ve heard of Stonewall, but was being gay ever actually illegal?”
When you encounter that kind of benevolent uncertainty, why not take a moment to tell ’em the story of Stonewall, the gays’ first ever blow for equality (no homo). It makes for an entertaining few minutes, and is totally compatible with bong hits or beer.
My Q-train girls were stand-up sweethearts who meant well and gave a fuck, but it’s embarrassing to have our peoples fuzzy on something so important. You wouldn’t want to walk around being uncertain about these facts; let’s make sure our friends don’t either.