Today tens of millions of Americans celebrated Gay Pride Day across the country. New York City was the epicenter of the festivities, but the police presence on the streets reminded gays and lesbians and people of color that freedom can be given and freedom can be taken away.
"No amount of disco music, nor number of scantily clad boys can render the juxtaposition of this completely commercialized Pride event within the corralling barricades of a police state "gay." Jorge Socarres posted on Facebook and further excoriated the NYPD by writing, "NYC cops are so stupid - their barricades are creating dangerous bottleneck situations around huge, wide open closed off spaces - for no practical except control. Madrid takes in 2 million people for Pride, and nowhere do you see a barricade - the city becomes one great, unbroken celebration. Leave it to people who've survived fascism to know how to stay free."
The Gay Pride Parade has always been a spectacular out event, but the holiday commemorates the Stonewall Riots of 1969 during which the gay clientele of a Mafia bar resisted a police raid on a Christopher Street dance club in the early hours of June 28. Four undercover officers shouted, "Police! We're taking the place!"
There were about 200 men in the bar. They obeyed the cops for a half-hour before realizing that they had numbers on their side. A handcuffed bull dyke fought four cops singlehandedly, as they forced her into the paddy wagon. All hell broke loose in the next minutes with police cars getting their tires slashed and officers retreating under the hail of hurled bricks and coins. The drag queens fought the hardest. They had old scores to settle with the men in blue. Gays chased the cops for blocks. The streets were theirs.
Gay power came alive those nights and nothing the police, the church, the government, the right, the bible-belters, and all those against gays, lesbians, and drag queens have failed to put the Genie back in the bottle, although that doesn't keep them from trying.
Now more than ever.
Enjoy, but never forget.