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Behind the Aegis

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The Stonewall Inn Has Been Saved from Permanent Closure With Nearly $300,000 in Donations

After reports last week announced that the Stonewall Inn may be permanently closing its doors, the gay bar, known as a cornerstone for the LGBTQ+ movement, has received a $250,000 donation to prevent this from happening.

With Covid-19 in full swing, the Stonewall Inn was faced with uncertainty around whether it can remain open as NYC begins phase two of its reopening plan. Although the bar is able to serve customers outdoors and managed to secure funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, owner Stacy Lentz said this simply isn’t enough to pay the growing bills. According to CNN, Lentz said the monthly rent alone for the Stonewall Inn is over $40,000.

On June 13, the bar began a GoFundMe campaign in order to save the business and protect its historic significance. Lentz said that the funds raised will go directly to rent and insurance payments.

At the time of this article, the campaign has raised $296,543. The Gill Foundation, a leading funder for LGBTQ rights, has pledged $250,000 of that figure. As donations continue to come in, the funds secure the bar's future after the devastating impact of Covid-19.


It is good to see the preservation of gay history.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Tue Jun 30, 2020, 04:08 PM (2 replies)

Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad

She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn't bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.

Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot.

"We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over," lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.

"We've had all we can take from the Gestapo," the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. "We're putting our foot down once and for all. "The foot wore a spiked heel.

According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand pained brick and opaque glass façade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.

The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and table. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.

more... (Reprinted from "The New York Daily News," July 6, 1969)

The Stonewall Riots: the flashpoint that launched the gay rights movement in the US

When it happened, it was totally unexpected. The New York City Police had done this sort of thing many times before: rousting gay bar patrons, fully knowing that in their shame and surprise they would not offer any resistance. But, in the early hours of 28 June 1969, the familiar script was torn up. When eight policemen arrived to raid the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village, they proceeded as usual: checking ID documents, arresting obvious ‘female impersonators’, and generally harassing the clientele.

However, the mood quickly took an unfamiliar turn. Instead of the usual compliance, people fought back inside the club. While this was going on, a crowd of forcibly ejected clubbers gathered outside: as it happened, the Stonewall Inn was on a block with a small public space, Christopher Park.

Something snapped. As the police began to load in transvestites and young hustlers – street prostitutes – into their vans, a fierce lesbian fought the arresting officers every step of the way. Inspired by her ferocity, the crowd moved from insult to action.

First it was bottles and loose change. Then it was bricks and paving stones, heaved at the police. Taken aback by the ferocity of a previously passive minority, the police ceded the streets and retreated back into the club. Once barricaded in, they were assaulted with parking meters, garbage cans and Molotov cocktails by an enraged crowd, which had swelled to several hundred people. “I was sick of being told I was sick,” one rioter remembered, while the general mood was “this has got to stop”.


10 LGBT Uprisings Before Stonewall

The Cooper Do-nuts Riot, Los Angeles
May 1959

Picket at Whitehall Street Induction Center, New York
September 19, 1964

ECHO White House Demonstration, D.C.
April 17, 1965

Council on Religion and the Homosexual Ball, San Francisco
January 1, 1965

Dewey's Lunch Counter Sit-In, Philadelphia
April 25, 1965

The Independence Hall "Annual Reminders," Philadelphia
July 4, 1965

The Julius' Sip-In, New York City
April 21, 1966

Compton's Cafeteria Riot, San Francisco
August, 1966

Black Cat Protests, Los Angeles
February 11, 1967

Patch Riot, Los Angeles
August 17, 1968



How You Can Help Save the Stonewall Inn

Even if you've never been there, you've heard of it; The Stonewall Inn, one of New York City's foremost landmarks of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, is in danger of closing permanently in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

Stonewall has been a shining monument to the early fight for gay rights in the Greenwich Village for decades now, ever since the 1969 riots that put the bar under an international spotlight as a hub for queer liberation. Key patrons of the bar, like transgender rights advocates Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, were both the catalysts for and on the frontlines of the fight against police raids of queer bars and clubs in NYC. While the riots may have put the bar on the map, it was the work and iconography of queer and trans people of color that ensured its lasting impact as a community center for changemakers.

The once-crowded bar has been empty these days during an era of closures and social distancing. "The Stonewall Inn faces an uncertain future and we are in need of community support," a statement on the bar's Instagram reads. "The road to recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic will be long and we need to continue to safeguard this vital piece of living history for the LGBTQ community and the global human rights movement and we now must ask for your help to save one of the LGBTQ+ communities most iconic institutions and to keep that history alive."

The bar, made a national monument under President Barack Obama, is asking for donations via two separate GoFundMe campaigns. One is for supporting the business and its operations, and another is for its staff. While the business-wide campaign has reached its goal, its staff still needs help reaching a $60,000 goal. Donate to the staff campaign here.


51 years ago...Queer History was made!

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sun Jun 28, 2020, 06:02 AM (13 replies)

Cops beat LGBTQ protestors leaving demonstration at Stonewall Inn

A protest against police brutality at the Stonewall Inn ended in violence on Tuesday after police officers attacked demonstrators causing severe injuries. The protest was the second consecutive night of demonstrations to honor queer and people of color who have died at the hands of police.

ACT UP NY social media manager Jason Rosenberg and city council candidate Marti Gould Cummings were among those arrested and injured. Rosenberg’s arm was broken and he required multiple staples to close wounds on his head.

Both Cummings and Rosenberg were held in police custody along with other activists for approximately 11 hours. Neither were offered medical treatment or masks to prevent coronavirus.

In a video posted to Twitter after being released, a blood-covered Rosenberg described what happened and showed his still-dangling arm.



A little bit of history repeating....
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Jun 4, 2020, 03:21 PM (6 replies)
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