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Thursday, June 18, 2015

June is LGBT Pride Month!

Hello everyone.

I'm doing a little guest blogging today in honor of LGBT Pride Month, and I thought first I would share a bit about how June came to be LGBT Pride Month.

On June 28th, 1969, in the early hours of the morning, what is considered to be the most important event in modern LGBT liberation took place at New York City's Stonewall Inn.  Police raids on gay bars in the 1960s happened all the time, but the particular raid that happened at the Stonewall Inn on June 28th broke the mold, because, unlike all the other raids, the patrons of Stonewall Inn fought back.

Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s, and the Stonewall Inn was the only bar for gay men in NYC that allowed dancing. Like the other gay bars in the city, it was prepared for raids. The inside was painted black and very dimly lit. When a raid took place, regular lighting was turned on as a signal to let everyone know to stop dancing. Typically all customers of the bar were asked for identification. Any lacking identification were arrested. Any dressed in full drag were arrested. Women who were not found to be wearing at least three pieces of feminine clothing were arrested. Most of the time raids happened early enough in the evening that bar could re-open and resume business.

At 1:20 AM on Saturday, June 28, 1969, policemen entered the Stonewall Inn with the intent to close the business permanently. The patrons were caught off guard: those who had never experienced a raid stood in confusion; those who figured out what was going on took off running for doors and windows. None escaped. The raid started off just like any other. All were lined up so they might show identification when instructed. Those dressed as women were to be sent with female officers to the restroom to have their sex verified. However, on this night, having had enough mistreatment, men in line refused to show ID. The women refused to go to the restrooms and suffer that particular humiliation. In response to the resistance, the police simply decided to just take every single person in the bar down to the station. Those in drag were separated from everyone else. Several lesbians were touched inappropriately while being frisked. Other patrons were pushed or kicked forcefully out of the bar. Officers began loading the people into the wagons.

All of these activities did not go unnoticed. A crowd began to gather outside of the bar. Not many left the bar quietly. Those who were let go did so with facetious salutes and applause from the many bystanders. Several people who had been kicked out of the bar but not arrested stayed to see how things would play out. A transvestite who was shoved by an officer responded by smacking him on the head with her purse. The crowd was jovial and good humored at first, yelling about gay power and singing show tunes. When a woman was hit on the head with a baton and dragged into the back of a wagon for complaining of too-tight handcuffs, the mood went from slightly hostile to explosive. All it took to spur the riot was a cry out for the crowd to do something. The results of this query came quickly: there was fighting in the street; attempts to tip over police wagons; a myriad of thrown objects including beer cans, bricks, and coins, and garbage. Some of the police, who were now far outnumbered, barricaded themselves inside the Stonewall Inn, and soon the projectiles were aimed at the building. Garbage was lit on fire and stuffed into the building, a parking meeting was used as a battering ram. The altercation lasted for 45 minutes. Back-up police managed to free the trapped officers, but failed to disperse the crowd. The streets were not cleared until around 4 AM.

Subsequent riots broke out in Greenwich Village over the next several days. There was a feeling of fervor all throughout. Within the next six months gay activist groups were formed, gay newspapers were instituted,  marches were being organized. Within two years, there were gay rights groups in many major cities around the world. The riots that resulted out of a bar raid became a symbol of gays and lesbians fighting back. Christopher Street Liberation Day resulted out of the riots, the first celebrated on June 28, 1970. In June of 1999, the Stone Wall Inn became recognized as a National Historic Landmark. On June 1, 2009, President Barack Obama declared June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riot. Because of this, many pride events are held during this month to celebrate and remember the LGBT community past, present, and future.

Carter, David (2004). Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, St. Martin's Press.
Duberman, Martin (1993). Stonewall, Penguin Books. Now, to help us celebrate, let's talk books! Stories written by LGBT authors and/or about LGBT characters.

For more information or additional recommendations, contact us. Here we go!


And Tango Makes Three
Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole

10,000 Dresses
Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray      

King and King
 Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland


  Gracefully Grayson
Ami Polonsky

Better Nate Than Ever
Tim Federle


Ellen Wittlinger

Two Boys Kissing
David Levithan

Not Otherwise Specified
Hannah Moskowitz

J. R. Lenk


The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Emily M. Danforth

Just Between Us
J. H. Trumble

Jeffrey Eugenides


Written on the Body
Jeannette Winterson

Painted Faces
L. H. Cosway

Bastard Out of Carolina
Dorothy Allison

 The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde

Stone Butch Blues
Leslie Feinberg

GRAPHIC NOVELS (All for adults unless otherwise specified)

Calling Dr. Laura
Nicole J. Georges

Blue is the Warmest Color
Julie Maroh

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
E. K. Weaver*

Steve and Mark (Khaos Komix #1)
Tab A. Kimpton*

Kevin (Archie Comics)
Paul Kupperberg (Young Adult)

GENRE FICTION (All for adults unless otherwise specified)

Tipping the Velvet
 Sarah Waters

Kushiel's Dart
Jacqueline Carey

Luck in the Shadows
Lynn Flewelling
(YA-Older Teen)

The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. Le Guin
 Science Fiction

That’s all for now! Check back for part 2 of our LGBT Pride Month blog posts early next week. The next one will include non-fiction recommendations and more history.

Have a great weekend everyone. Do tons of reading, feel free to comment on this post, show your pride, and give the LGBTQQI person(s) in your life a hug and/or tell them you appreciate them!

*web comic

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