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The Stonewall Riots Essay

1009 words - 5 pages

The Stonewall Riots occurred in the Greenwich Village district of New York
City in June of the year 1969. Many consider these demonstrations to be the stimulus
that began the fight for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioned
Sexuality) not just in the United States but also around much of the globe. Increased
acceptance of homosexuals began just weeks after the event, raising awareness and
opening more businesses for LGBT use. What caused the Stonewall Riots? The
causes of the Stonewall Riots were anti-gay laws, NYPD corruption, and lack of media
attention.
There were many laws in place that limited LGBT rights prior to the Stonewall Riots, with horrible consequences ...view middle of the document...

Although there were multiple laws that limited LGBT rights, there were few laws that protected them, as there was no law protecting homosexuals from losing their houses or jobs simply due to their sexuality.
Many officers in the New York Police Department, or NYPD were unethical in regard to their treatment of homosexual individuals and the businesses that serviced them. For example, African American members of the LGBT community were targeted by law enforcement more often than white ones. They were also known to target patrons whom they considered to be more obvious societal “deviants” (i.e. lesbians with a masculine or tomboyish appearance and manner or gay males in full drag) Law enforcement felt the need to find as many homosexual individuals as possible, and so they oftentimes did such using dishonest methods. The NYPD started to use decoys to find and arrest homosexuals. When they used these decoys or other practices to find a person they suspected to be gay, they would keep a close eye on them as well as any establishment that served them. When they were found, “It wasn’t uncommon for gay men and lesbians to be exposed in newspapers, fired from their jobs, jailed or sent to mental institutions.” Homosexuals were not the only people mistreated by the police. The NYPD were cracking down on New York gay bars for not being in possession of a New York State Liquor Authority license, which only occurred because the State Liquor Authority refused to give a license to any bar that served homosexuals. This made all gay bars illegal, which regularly opened opportunities for the Mafia to take over and the Mafia members running gay bars, including the Stonewall Inn, made deals with law enforcement to stay in business. The night of the Stonewall Riots, when the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, many people thought that police were attempting to close all gay bars in the area.
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