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Democrats commemorate LGBTQ+ rights movement with Stonewall Day resolutions (exclusive)

US Rep Ritchie Torres Bronx Stonewall Inn LGBTQ historic bar greenwich village NYC Congressman Dan Goldman
Office of Congressman Ritchie Torres; Little Vignettes Photo/Shutterstock; Office of Congressman Dan Goldman

The resolutions recognize the legacy of the Stonewall Uprising, which ignited the push for equal rights for queer folks.

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In a move steeped in historical significance, U.S. Reps. Ritchie Torres and Dan Goldman, Democrats fromNew York, will introduce a resolution in the House of Representatives on Tuesday to designate June 28 as Stonewall Day.Democratic New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced a companion resolution in the Senate. This initiative honors the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, a seminal event that catalyzed theLGBTQ+ rights movement.

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The police raid at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, set off days of protests and became a defining moment in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. The resolution acknowledges the critical roles played by iconic activists such as Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.

“On June 28, 1969, a police raid at Stonewall Inn sparked a days-long community protest that brought the long and ongoing fight for the equality, rights, and freedoms of individuals who are lesbian, gay,bisexual,transgender,queer,intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) to national attention,” the resolution reviewed by The Advocate states. “The United States recognizes the impact of the Stonewall Inn riots (commonly referred to as the ‘Stonewall Rebellion’ or ‘Stonewall Uprising’) and its significance in LGBTQIA+ history and the fight for equality.”

For Torres, the first out gay Afro-Latino congressman, the resolution is personal. “The immense significance of the Stonewall Uprising is never lost on me,” Torres said in a statement. “I am able to live as an openly gay man in 2024 directly because of the bravery of those individuals at Stonewall who put their feet down and said enough is enough. We have made immense progress as a nation in accepting and celebrating LGBTQIA+ rights in the 55 years since Stonewall, but there is still so much more to be done.”

The resolution also marks the opening of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center on June 28 at the very site of the Stonewall Uprising. The new center at 51 Christopher Street will serve as a beacon for the continued fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights, preserving the memory of those who fought for equality and educating future generations on the ongoing struggle for justice. The resolution was drafted in collaboration with Pride Live, the nonprofit organization that has produced the Stonewall Day benefit concert for the past eight years.

Gillibrand underscored the importance of commemorating the bravery of those involved in the 1969 events. “The Stonewall Inn protests were a pivotal moment for the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement,” Gillibrand said in a statement. "I introduced this resolution to establish June 28th as Stonewall Day to honor those brave protestors who raised their voices against injustice during the Stonewall Uprising and to recognize the activists who continue to fight for equality today."

She also highlighted the significance of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center. “The Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center will be the first park visitor center honoring LGBTQ+ history,” Gillibrand said. “I am honored to celebrate its grand opening after six years of planning. Recognizing these brave Americans and sharing the full history of our country is more important now than ever as we confront increasing bigotry and intolerance. The LGBTQ+ community is essential to the fabric of our nation’s culture, history, and diversity, and I will never stop fighting to ensure every person in America can live free from discrimination.”

Established under former PresidentBarack Obama on June 24, 2016, the Stonewall National Monument was the first national park dedicated to LGBTQ+ equality. The visitor center, operated by Pride Live, will provide a critical space for education and remembrance, honoring the legacy of the Stonewall Rebellion and the ongoing efforts to achieve full equality.

“The heroes of Stonewall must be remembered as American heroes for years to come,” Torres said. “I urge my colleagues in the House to join me in passing this crucial resolution.”

The resolution also highlights the continued challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people, including discriminatory policies, barriers to critical government services, and disregard for their equitable rights. It points out that such barriers, including increased violence and discrimination, disproportionately burden transgender people and LGBTQIA+ people of color.

“Millions of LGBTQIA+ people—especially LGBTQIA+ youth and transgender individuals—lack consistent legal protection against discrimination in key areas of life as a result of existing gaps in Federal and State civil rights laws,” the resolution states.

Recently, Pride Month flags near the Stonewall National Monument were vandalized. According to the New York City Police Department, an unidentified person removed and destroyed 160 flags in the area around 8 p.m. on June 13. New York City Mayor Eric Adams condemned the vandalism, saying, “Hate has no place in our city, and nothing will change that.” The investigation is ongoing, and authorities are determined to bring the perpetrator to justice.

Recognizing the ongoing struggles faced by LGBTQ+ people, the resolution calls for the celebration of Stonewall Day to commemorate the progress made and the work still needed to achieve full equality for all people in the United States, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.

“The Stonewall Uprising was the beginning of the modern-day LGBTQIA+ equality movement, an inflection point in the movement towards a more just and equal society,” Goldman said. “The Stonewall Day Resolution is a recognition of those protestors’ bravery and sacrifice, as well as a recommitment to ideals of equality and justice for the LGBTQIA+ community that remain as relevant today as they were that night in 1969. While we celebrate how far we have come as a country, we must recognize the sacrifice of those in the past and remain vigilant against the concerning rise in anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment nationwide.”

Ann Marie Gothard, chair of the Pride Live, praised the news of the resolution.

The designation of Stonewall Day is a monumental step forward for the community and our continued fight for full equality,” she said. “We are deeply grateful to Senator Gillibrand and our allies who have raised their voices to make this change possible. This resolution reflects the collective efforts of everyone involved, and coinciding with the opening of the Visitor Center, it is incredibly inspiring to witness these significant moments in the LGBTQIA+ movement.”

Last year, Vice PresidentKamala Harrisvisited the Stonewall Inn, becoming the first sitting vice president to visit the site. During her visit, Harris emphasized the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and the importance of vigilance in the face of rising discrimination and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the country.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a quote and additional details from Pride Live.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).