Important Facts To Know NYC’s LGBTQIA+ History

The LGBTQIA+ community has come a long way since the beginning of Pride and has evolved into something so powerful worldwide.

NYC PRIDE
UNSPLASH Tatiana Rodriguez

The Pride March, held during June in New York City, is one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world today. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the event, which was cancelled this year due to COVID-19. Here are some significant milestones you might’ve not known about the LGBTQIA+ community in the Big Apple.

Sodomy Laws

New York originally adopted Sodomy Laws in 1787 where an offense was punishable by death. The charge went down in 1801 to life in prison and then in 1828 to a maximum of 10 years. The legalities of the sentence changed every few years, until 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that sodomy laws were unconstitutional.

Bath Houses

Everard Baths
PHOTO nyclgbtsites.org

Opened in 1888, Everard Baths was a Turkish bathhouse which eventually became a hot spot for the gay community. There are multiple accounts of police raiding similar places and arresting the men there after violently beating them.

Stonewall Inn

Marsha P
PHOTO Marshap.org

In the early morning of June 28, 1969, NYC police officers raided Stonewall Inn, a Gay Bar in Greenwich Village. This sparked six days of protests that ultimately got the ball rolling for the gay rights movement. Marsha P. Johnson, a Black Trans woman who rose to become a prominent figure at these events. She is often referenced as the woman who threw the first brick.

First Gay Pride March

A year after Stonewall Inn riots, the first Gay Pride March of NYC was held. The Christopher Street Liberation Day March was held on June 28, 1970, exactly one year after the first brick was thrown at Stonewall. Thousands of LGBTQIA+ activists attended the march while cities including: Chicago and San Francisco, held their own. Since the first march, these events have only gotten larger each year.

Stop the Church

In December of 1989, Act Up, an aid coalition to unleash power, led a protest of 5,000 people at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They “protested the Roman Catholic Archdiocese’s public stand against AIDS education and condom distribution, and its opposition to a women’s right to abortion,” as they advocated for the church to promote safe sex amongst teens. In addition, about 100 protestors disrupted a live mass. Over 100 protestors were arrested.

Love is Love

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I'm: HIV+ Queer Proud

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In 2011 The Marriage Equality Act was passed, making same-sex marriage in the state of New York legal. Four years later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the nation.

According to NYC Pride, its mission “works toward a future without discrimination where all people have equal rights under the law. We do this by producing LGBTQIA+ Pride events that inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse community.” While there’s a lack of physical events this year due to coronavirus, you can still get involved through social media to raise awareness on the history of Pride and where it lives in society today.

Katherine McGowan

Contributor

Katherine is a New Jersey native who is passionate about understanding culture through its history and food. You can most likely find her enjoying an Aperol Spritz with a local or getting lost on a windy cobblestone road. Some of her other favorite cities are NYC, Amsterdam, London and Rome.

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