YWS News

Brittany Bateman
Posted 1 month ago

 

The Trials and Tribulations of Pride Activism

Written by: Wanda Valadkhani, YWS Virtual Volunteer

 
Pride month—a time to reflect on how far the LGBTQ+ community
has come—is upon us once again. It is a month to celebrate the instigation
of how it all began; how the judgment and criticism of LGBTQ+ members led
to acceptance and appreciation; how riots and the belligerence of
government led to new laws; and ultimately, the commemoration of the
Stonewall riots.
The 1960’s was a difficult era—especially for people who were
members of the LGBTQ+ community. Anything even remotely “out of the
ordinary” was deemed inappropriate and to some extent, illegal. In fact,
there were state laws prohibiting same sex relationships; but the people
nevertheless stood in solidarity and refused to break their union.
Thus, in the early hours of June 28th 1969, members of the LGBTQ+
community set out to demand equal rights after the NYC police raided the
Stonewall Inn—a notorious gay club—and subsequently arrested a
transvestite woman. This led to a series of spontaneous riots which lasted
around six days. It was the people versus the state of New York. The people
were fed up with constant police harassment and after the arrest at
Stonewall ensued the most influential event in history.
Thousands upon thousands of people marched the streets of New
York; they were both applauded and disencouraged, and onlookers either
joined or notified the police. These were perilous times, and it is incredible
to look up to such heroic people and learn from their valour.
The Stonewall Riots are perhaps the greatest example of how a single
conscientious decision to injustice can motivate significant change in
history. It is credited to this event and the fearless people at Stonewall that
now, fifty years later, the LGBTQ+ community is widespread and
commemorated.

 

“I’m a junior in high school and I wanted to volunteer for YWS to raise awareness about topics that often go unnoticed. I love to write, and I express myself through writing so this volunteering opportunity allowed me to write creatively about topics I am an advocate for.”

Wanda Valadkhani

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