It is in a modest building at 53 Christopher Street, in New York, that the origins of the explanation for why June 28th has been, for over 50 years, celebrated as the main date of resistance of the LGBTQIA+ community.
What turned into a demonstration that unites parties and political acts that occupy the public space to celebrate the International LGBTQIA+ Pride Day had as its founding milestone an episode that opposed violence and exclusion to resistance in favor of diversity.
On June 28, 1969, during the early hours of the morning, plainclothes officers from the New York Police Department raided the New York bar Stonewall Inn, one of the most popular bars among the LGBT community in the region and a kind of refuge in the midst of an age of intolerance.
The target of the operation were places frequented by “mentally ill” – a discriminatory way in which LGBT people were described by the American Psychoanalytic Association at the time. Until 1961, all US states had laws prohibiting homosexuality. And for a long time they prevailed.
It was only in a 2003 decision that the US Supreme Court, by 5 votes to 4, overturned an old ruling and eliminated the ban on homosexuality in nine states that still upheld it.
During the raid on the Stonewall Inn, when several people were taken into custody — and reports say that those detained were, in particular, gay, lesbian and transgender people — a group resisted. And he was joined by more people who found out about the episode.
The mobilization and resistance lasted five days. The “revolt”, as the movement is described by some historiography, began as a spontaneous protest against chronic police harassment and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people in an effervescent decade for the civil rights movement.
Exactly one year after the episode, on June 28, 1970, a demonstration left the bar and walked more than 4 km towards Central Park, a postcard of New York, in what is considered the first LGBT pride march. in the country. The event echoed to other nations.
“We are probably the most harassed and persecuted minority group in history, but we will never get the civil rights we deserve unless we stop hiding in closets and anonymity,” Michael Brown, 29, told The New York Times at the time.
Mobilization numbers varied — police officers spoke of “more than a thousand”, while organizers estimated an audience of 20,000 people. But the consensus of those who spoke to the American newspaper was along the lines of what Martin Robinson, 27, said: “We’ve never had a demonstration like this.”
Recognition of discrimination at the time has also gained space in the ranks of the American police. In 2019, on Stonewall’s 50th anniversary, then-New York Police Commissioner James P. O’Neil apologized for the case, which he described as a mistake.
“I know what happened shouldn’t have happened. The Police Department’s actions were wrong, plain and simple. The attitudes and laws were discriminatory and oppressive. I apologize.”
The movement in American territory had little impact in Brazil at the time, which is explained by the historical moment that the country was living: the military dictatorship. As we have vast recorded knowledge today, gays, lesbians and trans people were some of the groups persecuted, and sometimes tortured, by the military.
Broader Brazilian initiatives began to emerge parallel to the opening of the military regime, with a geographic focus on the Rio-São Paulo axis and, in the second half of the 1970s, with founding milestones such as the creation of the newspaper “Lampião da Esquina” and the group Somos .
Already in the 1980s, groups were organized throughout the country, which played an important role in the fight for the human and civil rights of homosexuals. These groups were fundamental in proposing responses to civil society about the AIDS Pandemic.
The Brazilian celebrations of June 28, however, only came at the end of the 1990s. The first GLT Pride Parade —at the time the acronym only included gays, lesbians and transvestites— took place in 1997 and gathered around 2,000 people.