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50 Years of Pride and More

On June 28, 1969, the dam broke in New York. LGBTQ+ members, long pushed to the periphery of society, started a movement out of a moment at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan. There are a lot of assumptions about what sparked the riots that took place—was the Stonewall bar raid the last straw; did Judy Garland’s death a week before play a role? As is often the case: It was everything.

But it wasn’t the first time the gay community said, “We are here.” And while we often think of the Stonewall Riots as the start of the gay rights movement, there were pioneers even earlier.

In fact, for the 5 years before the first Pride parade in 1970, “The Annual Reminder” march was held in Philadelphia. A more stringent affair, the Mattachine Society, a gay men’s group, would organize a silent protest outside Liberty Hall. Men were to be in jackets and ties, and women to be in dresses. While silence may not feel revolutionary now—in 1960s America, it was a proverbial scream for equality.

And look where it took us. That silent organizing in 1965 turned into courageous rebellion in 1969. From that moment on, the LGBTQ+ members slammed the door on being invisible again. The community stood up in the 70s to run for public office across the country; in the 80s with Act Up, an advocacy group for those with AIDS; and in the 90s when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act were put in place.

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And in the 21st Century, what do we have to show for all that work?

  • LGBTQ+ representation at every level of government (and the first openly gay man running for president)
  • Better treatment options for those living with HIV/AIDS
  • The ability to serve your country without having to hide
  • Marriage equality

50+ years, with so much to show for it. And more fight to come—for trans rights, for LGBTQ+ people of color who are often targets for violence, and for those beyond our borders who have yet to realize any equality.

While the work isn’t done, this moment should feel good. It’s a chance to reflect on the distance America has come—and to celebrate with a community of allies. At Floyd Lee Locums, we’re proud to be counted among them.