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When Pride Began

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The Stonewall Riots – Often seen as the birth of Pride.

In the early 1960’s a campaign was in place to rid New York City of gay bars. During this time, it was illegal to serve alcohol to gay patrons, to display homosexuality in public or for two gay people to dance together.

Formerly a bar and restaurant, in 1966 the Stonewall Inn was purchased by a member of Mafia Crime family who transformed it into a gay bar and nightclub.

An unlikely alliance? Of course! But the Mafia saw an opportunity and members of the LGBTQ+ community needed a place to go, to safely be themselves. So, to ensure they could continue operating, the Mafia would pay off the police to turn a blind eye to the bar and would be tipped off if any raids were planned. It was far from ideal to be colluding with crime lords – but at the time, this was their only option.

28th June 1969, a police raid took place at the Stonewall Inn. Unlike previous times, the owners were not “tipped off” about this particular raid.

All those inside were ordered to line up and show identification. Customers appearing to be women were taken to the bathrooms for their sex to be verified. Anyone found to be a male dressed as a female were to be arrested.

The raid that night did not go as planned – the police wagons that were supposed to take those arrested to the police station were delayed.

During the wait for the wagons, crowds began to gather consisting of patrons and passers-by.

Police officers still inside the bar were too scared to leaved and were reportedly “trapped” inside for over forty-five minutes.

Tensions began to rise from both the police and onlookers.

A scuffle broke out when an arrested women repeatedly escaped but was finally picked up and hurled into the back of a police wagon.

It was from this moment on – the scene become explosive, violent and rioting broke out.

The LGBTQ community had had enough!

Change was needed – and from this night onwards, change was coming!

Sadly, we remember the events that night not just as the start of Pride Events, but as several nights of rioting. Many people were arrested and injured.

It is so heart breaking to think that it came to this.

For change to happen, it came to a point where violence seemed like the only answer. To this day, we still see riots breaking out all over the world by people who have simply had enough. Had enough of their voices not being heard, enough of inequality, enough of injustice.

Years have passed since the Stonewall Riots. Although the world has changed, there is still work to be done.

Please show your support on 28th June, by wearing your brightest colours! Educate yourself, your friends, your family. Teach one another to love no matter what. Teach acceptance, not ignorance.

We are all worthy of equality.

My hope is to one day, see a world where we are all treated as equals.

It doesn’t matter who you love, all that matters is that you love!

Annie Jackson our Extra Care Officer from Llys Raddington has taken over our soical media for seven days, sharing history, icons and support for PRIDE month. 

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