Stonewall riots: Global legacy shows there’s no simple story of progress for gay rights

By Senthorun Raj, Keele University

Millions of people will take to the streets around the world in the coming weeks to celebrate “Pride”. Those who find themselves doused in glitter or wrapped in rainbow flags may think this is merely an annual summer party of sexual and gender diversity. But, the last weekend in June anchors Prides around the world for a reason: it marks a queer uprising that took place at New York City’s Stonewall Inn in 1969. Stonewall’s 50th anniversary is a moment to reflect on the riot that helped to globalise what many now call the “gay rights movement”. In the early hours of June 28 1969, the New York Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn in an attempt to permanently close a bar that was violating licensing regulations.