50 Years Later: How NYC’s Stonewall Riots Sparked The Modern Gay Rights Movement – CBS New York


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Fifty years ago today, a crowd at New York City’s Stonewall Inn took a stand for LGBTQ rights.

Their uprising against police was a major catalyst in the modern gay rights movement.

Now, people from around the world are descending on the city to celebrate.

Some of the people who were at the Stonewall Inn the night the historic gay bar was raided by police on June 28, 1969 gather for a photo shoot in front of the bar as New York City celebrates Pride Month on June 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“We have all experienced discrimination one way or another, especially within the fight to gay rights. And we have it much easier now because of what a group of people did here 50 years ago,” visitor Andres Ochoa told CBS2.

Bartender Tom Hanson remembers that night well.

“We heard the screaming coming in from that side. We knew it was another raid when we hear that, but we did not know that was the raid of all raids,” he said.

MORE: ‘Wrong, Plain And Simple’: NYPD Commissioner Apologizes For Raid That Led To Stonewall Riots

On June 28, 1969, the LGBTQ community fought back against police who routinely raided the Greenwich Village bar.

Before the riots, homosexuality was mostly forced underground.

“A CBS News survey shows that two out of three Americans look upon homosexuals with disgust, discomfort or fear,” one reporter says in an old news clip.

But five decades later, the community says the movement has come a long way, though there’s still more work to do. That’s why Stonewall continues to provide a forum for activism and remains a landmark in the gay liberation movement.

The New York Historical Society’s latest exhibition documents LGBTQ nightlife before and after the riots.

“We were just so honored to be able to come this year and see where it all started,” said one visitor.

A rally will be held to commemorate the anniversary from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at  Christopher Street & Waverly Place.