Stonewall 50: From There To Here

Fifty years ago today, in a small Greenwich Village bar, a raid by New York police unwittingly gave birth to the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
Pete Buttigieg with husband Chasten before last night’s presidential Democratic debate

Fifty years ago today, in a small Greenwich Village bar, a raid by New York police unwittingly gave birth to the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

That journey would include the free-wheeling 1970s, the horror of the AIDS epidemic which galvanized our community in the 1980s, the rise of openly LGBTQ politicians in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, governor’s offices and state legislatures, the increased visibility in the media, the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, and marriage equality.

And that just scratches the surface of the beginning of our story.

It might seem like a lot in a relatively short amount of time, but for those who were there at the Stonewall Inn and since, every slur suffered, every homophobic confrontation, every Pride flag raised in solidarity, has been its own journey.

I never forget whose shoulders we stand upon today.

And also, the vast number of LGBTQ allies who stood with us on the way to here, and continue forward as we look forward.

Even as we remember where we came from, it’s important to acknowledge the struggles for equality that are still with us.

Via the Human Rights Campaign:

• In 30 states, LGBTQ people are at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are.

• LGBTQ youth continue to face elevated levels of bullying and rejection, and many associated physical and mental health challenges.

• According to FBI hate crimes statistics from 2017, the most recently available data, the bureau reported a surge in hate crimes disproportionately affecting LGBTQ people, Black people and religious minorities, especially those living at the intersection of multiple identities.

• At least 100 transgender people — most of whom are transgender women of color — have been the victims of fatal violence in the U.S. since the beginning of 2015. In 2019, at least 11 Black transgender women have been killed — the vast majority as the result of gun violence.

But, today, for a moment, we stop to remember (and maybe dance a bit).

Back in 2011, in my first blog post for The Randy Report, I shared that growing up as a kid in Texas I was “afraid of everything.”

It’s only because of the heroes of Stonewall that I somehow got on a train in April 1993, from New York City to Washington DC, alone (but not really), and took part in the Gay & Lesbian March on Washington.

That a little over ten years later, surprising no one more than me, I would walk into a Toronto courtroom and exchange actual marriage vows with my husband, Michael – before anyone in the United States could legally marry.

And, that I would find the nerve to take to this blog every single day for years to write about LGBTQ equality and more.

I’ll try to wrap this up with a tweet by Chasten Buttigieg last night before the Democratic debate where his husband, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, became the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate to take the stage as a credible contender.

If anything sums up my personal thoughts on this incredible journey, so far, it’s this:

If you had told my ten-year-old self this would ever be possible, I’d have never believed you.