The Fiery and Free 60s
By the time the 60s came around, the American people were positioned to participate in the sexual revolution, but before “extracurricular sex” kicked off in counter-culture society, a few important events occurred, which nourished the LGBT civil liberty movement even more.
Before 1961, it was against the law for gay men to make love in any American state. Illinois emerged as the first state to reverse its sodomy ordinances, and judicial agitators initiated debates in favor of legalizing confidential-consensual adult homosexual relations on the grounds that “state and federal authorities cannot govern private morality.”
You’re joking…homosexual acts were a criminal offense in some states?
Sanctioning homosexual acts began to provoke law revisions across the nation’s more liberal states like Connecticut. The new pro-sodomy laws eliminated anxiety; it allowed LGBT people to come out of hiding, to talk publicly how they feel, and to start freely demonstrating who they really are.
This newly found independence must have surely been one of the stimulants of a storm that was gradually developing in New York.
There are times to ignore and there are times to rebel!
In the early hours of an autumn morning in 1969, New York City police invaded the Stonewall Inn, a well-liked LGBT bar in Greenwich Village. Homosexual public intimacy was still unlawful in the state, so, the authorities were within their jurisdiction when raiding the Inn.
However, this was an evening that many police officers may have preferred to call in sick rather than showing up to work.
Six days of brutal demonstrations and riots emerged throughout NYC, which was actually not a surprise because the metropolitan area had the largest-sized LBGT population in the United States. Manhattan police officers were equally infamous for extorting anti-sodomy laws, creating vice squads for raiding gay bars and baths, and entrapping LGBT individuals all throughout the 60s.
“This was the Rosa Parks moment, the time that gay people stood up and said no. And once that happened, the whole house of cards that was the system of oppression of gay people started to crumble.”
–Lucian Truscott, The Village Voice.
When the word got out that thousands of New York LGBT individuals resisted police for six days, the entire country appeared to awaken; lots of folks came “out of the closet,” openly claiming their sexual identities through Gay Liberation, and they stepped up politically.
Thus, the Stonewall Riots did qualify a significant turning point in modern-day LGBT civil rights advancements in the United States, which thrived in the following decade, but the movement also contained a number of misfortunes.