Stonewall 50 Community Forum at Faneuil Hall
Monday, June 3, 2019/7 PM
Sponsored by the Boston Pride Committee
The Boston Pride Committee is calling a Stonewall 50 Community Meeting to occur at Faneuil Hall on Monday, June 3, at 7 PM. Two keynote speakers will address the theme of Stonewall 50: Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, former Obama White House Aide and Director of External Relations for the National Center for Transgender Equality; and Amy Hoffman, Author of An Army of Ex-Lovers: My Life at the Gay Community News and veteran of the early LGBTQ Civil Rights Movement in Boston.
After the keynote addresses, three additional panelists will join the keynoters to comment and answer audience questions. Dale Mitchell, the Grand Marshall of this year’s Boston Pride parade and a veteran of the Stonewall Riots will be joined by Gary Daffin, 29 year Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, which originated the LGB civil rights bills in the 1970’s. In addition, Elijah Oyenuga, Senior Peer Leader for Boston GLASS a/k/a LGBTQ+ Social Services, will offer vision relevant to the concerns of LGBTQ youth.
The Community Meeting program will inquire into Stonewall 50 to probe a variety of dimensions. The central questions for keynoters, panelists, and observers focus on personal understandings of the Stonewall Uprising: How has life changed for LGBTQ people since 1969? How do you place Stonewall in the context of the times? What are the goals we should pursue as a continuing movement?
The Stonewall Riots started in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 when officers of the NYPD “Public Morals” unit raided the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York City, the then-largest gay bar in the country. Police encountered resistance nearly from the start, as transgender/transvestites refused to strip and exhibit their genitals; male genitalia under a dress exposed the citizen to arrest. A crowd swelled outside on Sheridan Square, and soon turned its anger on the much smaller number of police officers. The police were forced to take refuge inside the Stonewall Inn, while LGBTQ people wrested a parking meter from the sidewalk to use as a battering ram against the door. Police reinforcements were delayed, but arrived just as someone tried to start a fire in the club. There were injuries to LGBTQ protestors but no deaths. The riots continued off and on until July 3, 1969, and were commemorated a year later in the first LGBTQ Pride March.