The Stonewall Rebellion, the fight for gay liberation and the Sixties
movement for social change
By Michael Bronski / The Rag Blog / June 27, 2009
[With a response by Allen Young]
[The launching of the modern gay movement is usually associated with
the Stonewall Rebellion (sometimes called the Stonewall Riots), which
was sparked on a hot June night in 1969 by a police raid on the
Stonewall Inn, a mafia-run bar in New York City's Greenwich Village.
That event was 40 years ago, and to mark the anniversary, many gay
writers have recently been busy trying to assess the historic
importance of Stonewall and the evolution of the gay movement over
As with any movement for social change, the gay movement ranges
across the political spectrum. Some writers with a more radical
vision of social change look back at the politics of the first
post-Stonewall organization -- the New York Gay Liberation Front
(GLF) -- and feel that GLF's revolutionary impetus has been lost as
the contemporary movement focuses on such issues as same-sex marriage
and the expulsion of openly gay and lesbian people from the military.
One such writer, a veteran gay commentator on culture and politics,
is Michael Bronski of Cambridge Mass., author of Culture Clash: The
Making of Gay Sensibility and The Pleasure Principle: Sex, Backlash,
and the Struggle for Gay Freedom and a part-time teacher at Dartmouth
College in New Hampshire. The Rag Blog offers Bronski's recent piece,
originally published in The Guide, one of the few gay periodicals
that has welcomed a more radical perspective.
A response to Bronski's comment, written especially for The Rag Blog,
is offered by Allen Young, who worked for three years at Liberation
News Service (LNS) before becoming involved in 1970 with GLF in New
York City. Young collaborated in the 1970s with lesbian GLFer Karla
Jay on three anthologies, including the ground-breaking Out of the
Closets: Voices of Gay Libeartion (still in print) as well as on the
comprehensive survey entited The Gay Report. Bronski's Culture Clash,
noted in the previous paragraph, was in some ways an expansion of an
article he wrote that was published in another of the Young-Jay
anthologies, entitled Lavender Culture (also still in print). Young
is also the author of Gay Sunshine Interview with Allen Ginsberg and
Gays Under the Cuban Revolution. He has lived in a gay-centered
community in north central Massachusetts since 1973, where he
continues to be a writer and activist focusing on gay and
Stonewall was a riot
By Michael Bronski / The Rag Blog / June 29, 2009
It was a just another hot, sticky night toward the end of June.
The streets of Greenwich Village were filled with cruising men,
displaced street youth, drug dealers and random musicians trying to
make a few bucks from small audiences. But when New York City's
Finest raided the Stonewall Inn in the early hours of June 28, 1969,
something extraordinary happened.
Police raids on the city's gay bars took place all the time, but that
night was different. That night people fought back. They were angry.
Maybe it was because gay icon Judy Garland died two days earlier, or
because the heat got to everyone. Or it just might have been that
gays couldn't take it any longer. But that evening, and for the next
two evenings, Christopher Street was filled with gays, as well as the
neighborhood's more motley denizens, heckling, taunting, and at times
engaging in physical exchanges with the police. It was the birth of a
new era of queer life. But exactly what that new era was is up for debate.
Stonewall, or rather the myth of Stonewall, has become an intrinsic
part of our history. It is a milestone and touchstone of gay freedom
and revolution, but it has also become a millstone weighing us down
with its historical burden. Have we, as a community, given such
incredible weight to Stonewall, and turned it into a sentimental
story of singular self-assertion, that we have actually distorted
what it actually means, or might mean? Maybe if we really understood
the complexity of Stonewall -- rethink it in the tangled web of
late-1960s history from which it has too often been removed -- we
could see it for exactly what it was and better understand our
relationship to it.
My own connection to Stonewall is complicated. At the time I was a
20-year-old college student across the river in Newark, New Jersey.
On the big night I was probably in New York for a hamburger and a
double feature of art films. The following day I heard about the
first riot, but figured that it was a one-shot deal and never thought
that the energy would be sustained -- albeit greatly abated -- over
two more nights. But even then the event didn't seem like front-page
news, and nobody called it a riot; it was slightly more than a minor
skirmish with the police, the sort of thing that happened all the
time on the hot city streets.
Although within weeks of the event I would become very involved in
the new gay liberation movement, Stonewall did not mean much to me at
the time. Nor, I must say, does it mean a whole lot to me now. At
Dartmouth College in this past March -- where I teach courses
including "Introduction to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender
Studies" -- I found myself spending an entire class trying to get
students to attach less importance to the Stonewall riots and to see
them in perspective.
It's not so easy. Some students think Stonewall was simply the first
gay pride parade with floats and an after-party. (I'm not sure why
they think the word "riot" is included.) Others imagine full-scale
street fighting, and once a student asked me how many gay people died
at the Stonewall Inn. Their more informed classmates understand the
relatively small scale of the event but presume that its
reverberations were felt immediately -- the high-pitched scream heard
Ôround the world.
To understand Stonewall we need to place those valiant acts of street
power and street theater into a larger historical perspective. The
first fact I impress upon my students is that for almost 20 years
before Stonewall the country saw the growth of a vibrant homophile
movement. The Mattachine Society, founded by Harry Hay in 1950, was
the first gay rights organization in the U.S., followed five years
later by the lesbian Daughters of Bilitis, founded by Del Martin and
Phyllis Lyon. The Society of Individual Rights was founded in San
Francisco in 1964, and the North American Conference of Homophile
Organizations came into being in 1966.
These groups completely changed the public discourse about
homosexuality in the entire country. Without these homophile groups
nothing that happened in 1969 and the years afterward would have been
possible. In praising Stonewall, as we do now, we all too often
completely erase the profoundly important work that these groups did
for nearly two decades. Stonewall was, in a very real sense, both a
continuation of this work as well as a radical break from it, as it
brought the very idea of homosexuality from the realm of the private
into the public world of the street and used anger, not reason, as its impetus.
The second thing I try to impress on my students is that without the
prevalence of the Vietnam War protests, without the women's
liberation movement, without the example of the Black Panthers, the
Young Lords, and the counterculture's mantra of "sex, drugs and rock
and roll," there would have been no Stonewall riots. There would have
been no gay liberation movement (at least not as it happened in
1969.) The queens -- and let's remember that they were aided by the
street people in the Village, men and women we would now call
homeless -- rioted at Stonewall because everybody was rioting; they
protested because everyone was protesting. The Stonewall riots were
completely in sync with the crazy, frantic, angry, and yes, sometimes
heedless political activities -- including the bombings by anti-war
groups like the Weather Underground, as we were reminded of so
frequently during this past election -- of the late 1960s.
The gay liberation movement was not made up of non-profit groups
raising funds and lobbying to enact laws. It was a grassroots
movement, a groundswell of women and men who had reached the breaking
point. The first major gay activist group to form after Stonewall was
the Gay Liberation Front -- a name borrowed from the Woman's
Liberation Front, which in turn borrowed it from the Vietnamese
National Liberation Front, which claimed the spirit and moniker of
the Algerian National Liberation Front, which fought French
domination in Northern Africa. The phrase "gay is good" was derived
from "black is beautiful." Gay power emerged naturally from black power.
It wasn't that we were copying other movements, but that we saw
ourselves as part of a broader struggle. Gay liberation was possible
because the whole culture was being transformed and transfigured.
Considering the enormous changes that took place as a result of these
movements, it truly was the second American Revolution. There was a
decisive break, and afterward things were different for gays, women,
people of color, and young people. It may not look like that now --
or at least not all the time -- but America changed in those years,
and all for the better.
But even as I write this I feel that there are details missing. While
all of these connections are true -- even as they are forgotten in
most remembrances of Stonewall -- they lack concrete details and feel
like radical rhetoric. So let's look at exactly what was going on
during the five years before Stonewall that, along with the important
work the homophile movement had done, set the stage for this
remarkable event. As Bob Dylan sang in 1964, "The Times they are
a-Changin," and when we look back at the massive cultural and
political changes that were occurring, it is impossible to imagine
that Stonewall wasn't inevitable.
In March of 1964, Cesar Chavez and the grape pickers union called for
the first nationwide boycott of California grapes, while at the same
time the University of California Berkeley closed its campus in
response to students demanding their right to speak out against the
war in Vietnam. Later that month, the Supreme Court granted married
couples right to birth control. In response to an increasingly angry
civil rights movement, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in June.
Even with this minor commitment to justice the next year ushered in a
wave of violence.
In February of 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated, and while Congress
passed the Voting Rights Act guaranteeing federal protection for
voter registration, August saw the first truly serious race riots in
Los Angeles in which almost 1,000 buildings in the Watts neighborhood
were looted, burned or destroyed. As if the world wasn't mad enough,
Harvard professor Timothy Leary urged Americans to "turn on, tune in,
drop out" -- the drug revolution hit the streets.
In 1966, race riots destroyed large sections of Chicago and three
African-American teenagers were killed by National Guard troops.
Things only got worse in 1967 as full-scale riots in Detroit and
Newark, as well as serious conflicts in 33 other cities, left 66
people dead and 10,000 more homeless. Antiwar protests escalated as
the U.S. sent nearly half a million soldiers to Vietnam, many of them
African-American men from the inner cities. On the domestic front,
CBS ran a groundbreaking news show called "The Homosexuals," which
was the first time self-identified gays talked about their lives on
television. In November, the Oscar Wilde Bookshop opened on Mercer
Street in Greenwich Village -- the first gay bookstore in the world.
In April of 1968, the assassination of Martin Luther King led to
riots across the country that left 39 people dead and thousands of
others hurt. Robert Kennedy was assassinated two months later. In the
midst of this gays become more visible when Mart Crowley's
groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band opened on Broadway. Women's
liberation became increasingly visible when feminists staged a mass
demonstration at the Miss America pageant in September. In the midst
of this upheaval it made perfect sense that a frightened America
would elect Republican Richard Nixon to the presidency that November.
It was really only a matter of time before gays got angry enough to
start fighting back. Beginning in March of 1969, the New York Police
Department stepped up its periodic raids on gay bars; the June 28
raid on the Stonewall Inn was simply business as usual. After three
nights of unrest women and men began to organize and weeks later the
formation of the Gay Liberation Front was announced. The group was a
direct, and important, result of the Stonewall riots.
But Stonewall was not the end of this national narrative, just a
small moment in time. Two months after the birth of the Gay
Liberation Front, Students for a Democratic Society staged its
largest national demonstrations. National protests against the war in
Vietnam increased and in November an unprecedented quarter million
people marched on the Pentagon. Although inconceivable a decade
earlier, American society was in full-throttle revolt against racism,
oppression of women, sexual repression and the deadly foreign
policies that were destroying lives in the U.S. and abroad. Is it any
surprise that by the middle of 1970 there were already more than 300
independent chapters of the Gay Liberation Front across the country?
It wasn't just that gay liberation was an idea whose time was ripe,
but rather that in this context of multiple fights for massive social
change it was an idea that was inevitable.
What was incredible about the Gay Liberation Front, and what is so
sorely missing from our gay rights movements now, is that it saw
itself as a multi-issue radical movement.
It was as concerned with ending wars abroad, fighting racism and
securing reproductive freedom for women as it was with fighting
homophobia. Members of the Gay Liberation Front also understood that
they needed, pragmatically and philosophically, to work in coalition
with other movements.
For me, as a young queer who had already been working with Students
for a Democratic Society and had been involved in civil rights and
women's rights issues, gay liberation was a revelation that brought
together all my political and emotional concerns.
The vision of the Gay Liberation Front linked freedom for gays to the
freedom of all other oppressed groups. It is a vision that neither
the homophile groups that preceded it nor the gay rights groups that
followed understood or embraced. It is a lesson the gay rights
movement just might be learning now.
The importance of Stonewall resides not in a sentimental vision of it
as a sort of community coming-out story but in its unique place in
the panoply of movements, events, riots, demonstrations, political
actions, social revolts, bad behaviors, and bursts of anger that
defined the second half of the 1960s. By all means, let's celebrate
the 40th anniversary of Stonewall this month but let's also remember
that it is not just about gay equality; it is about the broadest
vision of social change and social justice the U.S. has experienced
in our lifetimes.
[Michael Bronski is the author of "Culture Clash: The Making of Gay
Sensibility" and T"he Pleasure Principle: Sex, Backlash, and the
Struggle for Gay Freedom." He writes frequently on sex, books,
movies, and culture. His " A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
History of the United States" is being published by Beacon Press next
Fall. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.and is a Senior Lecturer
at Dartmouth College.]
A Response to Michael Bronski
By Allen Young / The Rag Blog / June 27, 2009
Michael Bronski's article, in part a tribute to the early
post-Stonewall movement, in particular the Gay Liberation Front
(GLF), is greatly appreciated by those of us who were involved as
activists during those amazing times -- generally viewed as 1969-71.
The article is correct in describing the GLF politics as radical, and
as linked to other social justice movements of the times, but I
believe Bronski is incorrect in suggesting that gay liberation has
disappeared and been replaced by something excessively mainstream.
One longtime gay activist, agreeing with the thrust of the Bronski
article, sent out this email to friends and acquaintances: "The
demand, the agenda, has shriveled from real change -- whether you
call it revolution, liberation, freedom -- to nothing much more than
the status quo wreathed in lavender. Now everything is besotted with
'equality' and there's a downside: Equality won't get single payer
health care, for one. It only brings more of the same and it limits
the vision. The dreams are smaller now, way smaller… How did the gay
movement morph into the Rotary Club in a few decades?"
A lesbian who has been active since those days wrote: "The article
[by Bronski] was worth reading. But the question is, short of a
revolution supported by the majority of Americans, how could the
various groups have realized their vision? We devolved into a
scattering of non-profit groups precisely because there was no revolution."
My position is that I do not share the very negative and pessimistic
evaluation of the changes in gay politics that have taken place in
the 40 years since the founding of GLF. The current movement is much
more than the black-tie parties of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) --
which I have never attended and have no desire to attend -- and does
not resemble the Rotary Club. (The Rotary Club in my small-town
community, by the way, does a lot of very good work and I have some
friends who are in it.)
I feel there's a lot of progress involving GLBT individuals and
organizations going on, throughout the nation and the world, and we
can be proud of our original efforts that have merely evolved into
something different. I am much more inclined to celebrate, not piss
and moan about how gay liberation is dead. It is, in my view, very
much alive and well, thankfully without the wrong-headed and
ultimately futile "radical" voice that Michael Bronski misses so
much. I remember chanting in 1970, "Go left, go gay, go pick up the
gun," imitating a Black Panther chant of that time. How ridiculous,
even shameful! The gay movement today makes progress without the
language or the political analysis of the 1960s, and I am glad about that.
Sure, some important and wonderful aspects of early gay liberation
have been lost or diminished in importance, but they're still
floating around and I am confident that the best and most important
of these will have their day.
There are a few factual mistakes in Bronski's article, but I don't
see any point in nit-picking. However, on the pre-Stonewall gay or
homophile movement, I feel Bronski makes a major error. Now, I
totally respect these earlier pioneers. They were brave and they
brought a positive message about homosexuals to the world as best
they could at the time. We GLFers were, back in the day, not
sufficiently aware of their accomplishments, and sometimes were
disrespectful, and I have apologized about that personally to Jim
Kepner, Billy Glover, Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings and others whom
I have met. However, the suggestion made by Bronski that "these
groups completely changed the public discourse about homosexuality in
the entire country" is patently absurd, an exaggeration that cannot
be sustained by facts. The truth is that these groups had minimal
impact in a few big cities, and almost no impact elsewhere.
GLF introduced something of much more psychological and political
importance than the "anger" that Bronski focuses on. For us, the key
was "coming out of the closet." We were relentless in that message.
Our memorable positive chant, "Out of the closets and into the
streets!" is one that we used a lot. Marching in the streets while
provocatively chanting was something that the old homophile movement
did not do and wasn't particularly comfortable with. In the 40 years
since Stonewall, the end of fear and secrecy for millions of GLBT
individuals is our biggest victory. Several gay liberationists have
helped me better define what we did and what we should be remembered
for most. A Minnesota activist wrote: "One of the distinguishing
characteristics of the early gay liberation movement is that we were
made up of a group of people who had managed to escape the fetters of
the societally imposed regime of fear." Another added that we
successfully defied "that regime of fear and -- together in an
outspoken mass --were able to name it for its injustice, violence and
false defamation of our lives."
Stonewall and GLF changed the impact of gay activism from minimal to
substantial. That was done initially with the help of the new gay
periodicals such as Come Out! in New York and Gay Sunshine in San
Francisco and the newly out yet experienced staffers of the
counterculture "underground press" linked to the anti-war and
anti-racist movements of the Sixties.
Our impact grew to something beyond substantial to monumental with
the emergence of professional organizations like Human Rights
Campaign (HRC) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF),
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) and Lambda Legal, Gay
and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Gay, Lesbian and
Straight Education Network (GLSEN), with the advent of modern gay
literature, gay and straight Americans' response to the tragedies of
AIDS and Matthew Shepard, the coming out of Ellen DeGeneres and other
mass media advances, the partially successful campaign for gay
marriage, and on and on.
Gay liberation is not dead. Many millions of Americans, gay and
straight, have dreams that are not at all "small." Many gay people --
people touched by the message of early gay liberation -- are helping
to create and promote those larger dreams -- in government jobs , the
nonprofit world including schools and colleges, international NGOs,
and in political organizations working on health care, workers
rights, environmental issues, animal welfare, immigration issues, and
Pride 40 years after Stonewall
Nicole Colson rounds up reports from around the country on the
political dimension of this year's lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender Pride celebrations.
June 30, 2009
MILLIONS OF people turned out in cities across the country in June
for annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride celebrations.
In many cities, events were held on June 28 to mark the 40th
anniversary of New York City's Stonewall riots--the birth of the
modern LGBT rights movement, which was sparked when police raided the
Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in 1969, and patrons fought back.
Although Pride celebrations continue to be largely
corporate-dominated events with a party atmosphere, in several cities
this year, organizers adopted themes that included both calls for
equal marriage rights and a celebration of the Stonewall rebellion.
Pride also took on a new significance in anticipation of the National
Equality March in Washington, D.C., which is scheduled for October
10-11, 2009. In several cities, activists encouraged Pride attendees
to consider traveling to D.C. as part of a push to pressure the Obama
administration to deliver on its promises of LGBT rights, including a
promise to overturn the "Defense of Marriage Act" and the "don't ask,
don't tell" ban on lesbians and gays serving in the military.
-- In San Francisco, in the wake of the passage of California's
Proposition 8, the theme for this year's Pride celebration was "To
form a more perfect union"--a reference to the struggle for same-sex
marriage in California.
Veterans of the Gay Liberation Front--an organization formed in wake
of the Stonewall rebellion--marched at the front of the parade.
Pride organizers worked with the grassroots LGBT group One Struggle
One Fight (OSOF) to lead a political contingent, Stonewall 2.0,
representing the rise of today's LGBT movement. OSOF activists
rallied a contingent of over 150 people to march and chant for LGBT
rights and marriage equality along the parade route.
Carrying banners that read "Separate is not equal," OSOF led the
thousands of parade spectators in chants of "Hey Obama, don't you
see? We demand equality" and "They say go back. We say fight back."
For many, the political content of Pride was a welcome change. Mary,
a participant from Petaluma, Calif., said, "It means so much more
being here knowing we are fighting for our rights and demanding more.
It's about time."
SF Pride at Work and other activists organized a die-in in front of
Mayor Gavin Newsom's parade car to protest his cuts to city services,
including HIV/AIDS prevention and health care. The mayor was forced
to get out of his car and step over the protesters. The demonstrators
carried a banner that read, "Gavin and Arnold, there's no Pride in
Parade marshal Dan Choi--an Army lieutenant fighting his discharge
from the military under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy--summed up
the spirit of Pride 2009: "We're going to lace up our boots, and
we're going to march to Sacramento. We're going to march to the
Pentagon. We're going to march to the Capitol. We're going to march
to the White House, and we're never going to stop marching, because
that's why God gave us legs."
-- In New York City, Gov. David Paterson, who has spoken strongly in
favor of equal marriage and its role as a civil rights issue was
invited to be a grand marshal of this year's parade.
A wide variety of groups participated, and while floats and music
were on display, there was also a definite voice of activism in the
crowd. LGBT rights groups such as Marriage Equality and Empire State
Pride Agenda voiced demands for the legalization of same-sex
marriage, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and the
Dignity For All Students Act.
Other groups held signs with slogans like Planned Parenthood's "Free
love, safe love," while Physicians for a National Health Program's
banner demanded the crowd "ACT UP for single-payer health care!"
At one point, one of the parade's coordinators joined in over the
loudspeaker with the International Socialist Organization contingent,
chanting, "Gay, straight, Black, white--marriage is a civil right!"
-- In Chicago, approximately 60 activists marched in the Join the
Impact-Chicago (JTIC) contingent behind a hand-painted mural
depicting activists from the LGBT community, from Stonewall to the
fight around Proposition 8. In addition to commemorating Stonewall,
the parade included veterans marching in full uniform and a
contingent of both gay and straight parents and their children from
Chicago's Nettelhorst Elementary School.
In special recognition of Stonewall and the role that transgender
people played in it, the grand marshal of this year's parade was, for
the first time, a transgender woman.
A first-ever Chicago Public Schools contingent held a sign saying,
"School is out and so are my dads."
Parade-goers enthusiastically welcomed the JTIC activist marchers
with cheers, joining in with chants of "Harvey Milk was right. Show
your pride and fight!" and "Gay, straight, black, white--same
struggle same fight!"
-- In Los Angeles, while the usual party atmosphere dominated,
onlookers cheered as a contingent from Organizations United
Together-West--representing 30 different grassroots organizations
that came together in the aftermath of the passage of Prop 8--chanted
"Gay, straight, Black, white--marriage is a civil right" and "Equal
The contingent also took up the issue of the draconian cuts slated
for HIV/AIDS programs that Gov. Schwarzenegger is pushing in order to
balance the state budget.
-- In Seattle, political contingents included the Queer Ally
Coalition (QAC) marching with Join the Impact to focus on the issue
of marriage equality.
QAC got rousing support from parade watchers when chanting "LGBT, we
demand equality!" and " Gay, straight, Black, white--marriage is a
civil right!" The size of the contingent nearly doubled over the
course of the march as people joined from the sidelines to express
their support for QAC's demands.
-- In Texas, about 500 people gathered in Dallas despite murderous summer heat.
Participants chanted, "Not the church, not the state--we alone decide
our fate," "Silent no more" and "Out of the closet--into the streets!"
While the frequent message from the podium was that the gay community
has allies now in government and the thing to do is to keep them
there, in the crowd, discussions centered around the drawbacks of the
"state's rights" approach to marriage legislation and the need for
increasing levels of participation in rallies like this one.
Several speakers addressed the crowd on issues like marriage equality
and a June 28 police raid on the newly opened Rainbow Lounge in Fort
Worth, during which a man was handled so roughly by the cops that he
had to be hospitalized. On the Sunday following the raid, 100 people
gathered to demand an end to this police harassment.
In keeping with the mood of that night, the Pride rally in Dallas
ended with an appeal to gather again later the same day in Fort Worth
to keep up the pressure. As one speaker at the rally said: "Now is
the time for us to get mad!"
Approximately 150 people heeded the call and came out in Fort Worth,
where they gathered at the Rainbow Lounge and marched out to the
Tarrant County Courthouse to "get mad" about the police raid.
While city officials assured the crowd that the gay community is a
valuable and important part of the community, 60 people split off
from the official demonstration at the courthouse and marched angrily
to the local police station chanting: "We want their badge!"
Passersby honked car horns and pumped fists in displays of solidarity.
In Houston, a small contingent of activists marched in the larger
Pride parade under the theme of "Never Blend In" (a phrase taken from
a Harvey Milk quote), with signs that read "Equal rights for all" and
"Marriage is a civil right." The crowd cheered as the contingent
chanted, "Harvey Milk was right! Show your pride and fight!" and
"Texas, don't lie to me, we want full equality!" Other contingents
included Veterans for Peace, which included members of Iraq Veterans
Against the War.
-- Pride events earlier in the month likewise had a refreshing dose
In Portland, the parade was lead by a contingent of LGBT GIs marching
in uniform to demand an end to "don't ask, don't tell." They were
accompanied by a number of activists--including straight allies--who
carried signs calling for an end to discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation, with slogans such as "Just don't, 'don't tell.'"
The pro-same-sex marriage organization, "Love Makes a Family" hosted
a peace contingent, and the local High School Gay-Straight Alliance
marched chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, homophobia's got to go!" The
Outside Inn, a local clinic specializing in outreach to homeless
youth, sponsored a contingent for single-payer health care, carrying
signs that read, "Everyone deserves access to health care!"
Service Employees International Union Local 508 also sponsored a
contingent demanding workplace equality for LGBT individuals.
In Providence, R.I.--the only state in New England that does not have
marriage equality--the grand marshals of this year's Pride parade
were representatives from the marriage equality movements from
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa,
which all grant marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Other contingents included Marriage Equality-R.I., Amnesty
International and the American Civil Liberties Union.