At 1.20AM on the morning of June 28, 1969, plainclothes police officers raided The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Manhattan with the intent to break up the crowd and arrest staff members. Back then, it was illegal for LGBTQ people to be served alcohol, and for two people of the same sex to dance together. Although these raids on bars were frequent at the time, this one lit a fuse that set off all the mounting tension between police and the gay community in Greenwich Village. After police hit a lesbian on the head with a club, a fight erupted. Patrons resisted arrest, and fought back against the police in a violent confrontation that carried on until the early hours of the morning.
This clash—between law enforcement and citizens wanting to enjoy their basic right to congregate and dance—would later become synonymous with the start of the gay rights movement. Over the next few nights, riots continued to happen around Stonewall. A grassroots network of local community activists came together and formed the Gay Liberation Front, a group dedicated to fighting for civil rights for the LGBTQ community. To mark the one-year anniversary of the riots, The Gay Liberation Front would go on to lead a procession from Christopher Street to Central Park—a march that we now know as the New York City Pride Parade. Though the parade typically gets the most attention, NYC Pride—which technically runs throughout June, but ramps up on the final weekend of the month—has come to include a packed lineup of dance parties all over the city.
As New York's queer community gears up for some serious celebrating this weekend, the editors of THUMP feel it is important to pay tribute to the people who put their lives on the line that day to assert their fundamental right to dance—and to dance with whomever they wanted. Moreover, we know we would be remiss to write about electronic music without paying tribute to the LGBTQ community's pivotal role in its genesis and evolution—not just as an art form, but as a physical space, one where people from all walks of life could come together to celebrate being with each other and being themselves. Preserving the sanctity and safety of those spaces is our responsibility as members of the nightlife community, and after the events in Orlando earlier this month, it feels exceedingly urgent to underscore their vital importance to our world.
Over the next five days, THUMP will celebrate Pride with an exploration of LBGTQ nightlife—past and present, in NYC and beyond. We'll be rolling out essays on everything from the state of the lesbian clubbing scene to the relative lack of trans-friendly spaces in the city, guides to the best Pride parties and LBGTQ clubs in New York, and a timeline of Christopher Street's history, with a couple surprises mixed in along the way. Follow our coverage here, and stay proud.