Around the nation, people are beginning to notice something stirring in the LGBT community.
It’s excitement surrounding the drumbeat of Stonewall 50, and that World Pride will be in New York, meaning people from all over the world will be converging in the Big Apple.
The celebration culminates with the Pride March on June 30, when American celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which created a revolution that changed the world.
As one of the people onsite that night in 1969, I’ve been traveling the nation the last few months speaking about that night at the Stonewall Inn so many years ago and how it changed our community, the world and me personally.
ABC-TV must have thought about it too, because a program this week spoke to that fateful evening as part of a six-part documentary series called “1969.”
For those of us who were participants and went on to create this grassroots movement of social justice, creating Gay Liberation Front from the ashes of Stonewall, this is an emotional time. In 50 years, we’ve been a part of and seen changes we fought for and were jailed because of. The progress is incredibly worth it, even though we lived through jeering, at times by our own community — those who stayed safely in the closet, while we were out, loud and in your face.
We created change without Internet, cell phones or email. We did it by being out in public, willing to go to jail or worse. We were creative. We moved the dial, and now it is time for a new generation to take what we created and build upon it.
This could begin to be achieved by petitioning our federal government to finally pass the Equality Act. Votes exist in both the House and Senate, but to pass the legislation, Majority Senator Mitch McConnell needs to be moved, as he has the Act tied up in committee.
So, this Stonewaller has only one request of you: Get creative and move that one man. If we can move the world, you can move a man.
This year’s World Pride celebration will be much larger than the actual riot. While the riot only had hundreds of participants, the celebration, according to New York tourism officials, expects 3-4 million attendees, proving beyond anything that we were successful. We took a community of hundreds and translated it into a mass movement of millions around the world. That is what I call a revolution.
Now it’s your turn.