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Joe Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Stonewall Inn

JOE BIDEN

The 2020 presidential candidate stopped by the historic bar to buy a round of drinks. 

After his second fundraiser of the day in New York City, former Vice President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to the Stonewall Inn Tuesday and bought a round of drinks for some lucky customers.

"VP Biden and Dr. Biden stopped by Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York this afternoon to commemorate 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and demonstrate their unwavering support for the LGBTQ community during Pride Month and the NYC World Pride celebrations," Biden's campaign said in a statement:

Mark Segal, the founder of Philadelphia Gay News and a longtime LGBTQ activist who was there at the Stonewall riots in 1969, was also present during Biden's visit Tuesday. Segal was at Stonewall being interviewed about his experiences that night in June 1969, with a representative of the Smithsonian Channel promoting its special Beyond Stonewall, which features Segal's artifacts from that first year after the uprising.

"[Joe Biden showing up] was not arranged before hand, it was a total surprise," Segal told The Advocate in an email. "The Smithsonian people told the Biden people that I was there and they parted the crowd so we could meet. We shook hands, and he thanked me for my service and then we talked about mutual friends. I reminded him about his staff's help with building the LGBT Friendly Senior Affordable Housing in Philadelphia when he was VP."

"That night in June 1969, there wasn't an elected politician in the nation that would publicly meet with LGBT people," he explains. "We were invisible. Our Pride comes from making ourselves visible. His visit to a major LGBT historical site brings visibility. His embracing our history I hope gives everyone a sense of pride in what we have achieved in 50 years. Those few minutes gave me an understanding and appreciation of my own history, something I've [not] yet been able to fully grasp."

Biden is one of more than 20 candidates in the field for the Democratic nomination to run against Donald Trump in 2020. A pair of debates will be hosted by NBC June 26 and 27, with Biden taking to the stage night 2 against Pete Butitigieg, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and others.

"In my memoir, I write about Stonewall, but that story now has a new meaning," Segal says. "Who would have ever dreamed that that boy of 18 years old at Stonewall would years later meet a major candidate for President, at that same spot of resistance, who was now celebrating that history?"

"Joe is embracing history as Barack Obama did in his second inaugural speech when he compared our movement for equality to that of other civil rights movements, 'Selma, Seneca Falls and Stonewall,'" he continues, adding, "We were embraced by a president and that continues with Joe Biden."

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