Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., on Wednesday introduced a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprising. Baldwin is the Senate’s first openly LGBTQ member.
“When we look back at the Stonewall uprising and activism that grew out of that moment, even the most basic progress seemed like it would take a revolution to achieve. So we had one,” Baldwin said in a statement shared with NBC News. “And that’s how we’ve made such enormous progress over the last 50 years. Today, we should remain inspired by the courage of the story of Stonewall.”
The now-iconic Stonewall uprising, which started in the early hours of June 28, 1969, began as a routine police raid on a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village. But unlike the many previous raids gay and gender-nonconforming people were subjected to, the patrons decided to fight back this time. The multiday rebellion is widely credited with igniting the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
Baldwin's resolution states that “the neighborhood of Greenwich Village, and establishments like the Stonewall Inn, served as a sanctuary for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (referred to in this preamble as ‘LGBTQ’) community from persecution by police and society at large."
When The Stonewall Inn opened in 1967, the resolution continues, “many state and local governments, including New York City, criminalized how LGBTQ individuals express their identities and relationships."
The resolution also acknowledges LGBTQ protests that occurred prior to Stonewall, including those at the Los Angeles restaurant Cooper Do-nuts in 1959, San Francisco’s Compton’s Cafeteria in 1966 and the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles in 1967.
“The Stonewall uprising empowered thousands of LGBTQ individuals to emerge from the shadows and come out publicly as they stood up for their community the night of June 28, 1969, and beyond, putting their lives and safety at risk,” the resolution states, noting that hate crimes, violence and discrimination continue to disproportionately affect the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people, “not less than 100” of whom were murdered since 2015.