While reading Steve Flowers’ Aug. 28 column, ‘The Summer of 1969,’ I was struck by a glaring omission. Steve had time to talk about music, the moon landing, drugs at Woodstock, Sharon Tate, and Hello Dolly. But that summer holds another cultural milestone -- the Stonewall Riots happened in late June of that summer.
Folks harassed for years by police, all levels of government, and every western legal system bravely said enough was enough. We had been fired from our jobs, arrested, ostracized, lobotomized, beaten, and our personhood outlawed in every state, not for anything we had done, but just for who we were. So those folks at Stonewall took to the streets for five nights. They shut down an entire New York neighborhood in a monumental act of liberation, and in so doing sparked a movement that lives on today.
We’ve achieved marriage equality nationwide, 22 states and innumerable local governments have LGBTQ+ legal protections. We’re visible, we’re organized, we’re active, and we’re free to fully contribute to the society we live in instead of being swept aside as we were for so long. And that started on a hot summer night in 1969 in Greenwich Village.
I’d say, in the long list of things happening that season, that’s worthy of remembering.