In 1969, it was very, very different for Gay people.
That's what we were known as then, within, Gay people -- one name, one community, one unity!
The unexpected and unplanned Stonewall Rebellion of late June 1969 on a hot, late Summer night began when the New York
City police and other "authorities", once again, raided The
one called it an 'inn'), a Mafia-owned, two-part drinking
and dance bar on Christopher
Street near Seventh Avenue in
New York City's Greenwich
Village, New York. Unfortunately for the police, they
thoughtlessly and disrespectfully chose the night of Gay icon Judy
Garland's funeral that afternoon -- in the very same town: Manhattan,
NY! "Judy" was the number one topic not only at The
STONEWALL Club and every other Gay bar but virtually at all places
throughout the World! Miss Garland was the top news story and on
the front page of all newspapers all week! At The Stonewall it
was extra poignant. Judy had been there! On Friday, June 27th,
began simply for The Stonewall's Gay patrons and their
friends by the local
police department as another
routine "fag-bar" raid, later involving other law
enforcement agencies such as the New York City Police
Department ("NYCPD") abd the Tactical Police Force ("TPF"),
quickly escalated into
nights and early morning hours! Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgender ("G.L.B.T.") people and their supporters and friends
stand-up and fight back! As an assembled group we
finally, bravely and
harmoniously sang out loud and clear: "Stop!"
Why did this Gay civil rights rebellion finally happen?
Over the years continuing to the present time, there have been many
instances of the NYCPD and legislators
abusing the rights of G.L.B.T. people
and their friends and supporters. These abuses continue --
though far less frequently -- not only in New York but... throughout the U.S.A. and the entire
World at large!
Back in 1969, "WE", as an inconsequential, unorganized and
disrespected people, had absolutely no
rights. And, policies were inconsistent. While it
was 'illegal' for boys to dance with boys or men to dance with men,
in contrast, girls
could dance with girls and women could dance with
women!? Thus, there was a double, illogical, discriminatory
standard against all Gay males even within the imaginary walls of the
G.L.B.T. community and far
beyond! WE as a people
gathering at diverse and mixed places like The STONEWALL Club
to many of the teenagers then, was the first place where we
truly felt free. Free to be who we were! Free to dance with
whomever we chose. Free to hear the special music we wanted.
Others better felt the weight of the
invisible shackles that tied us to clandestine, Mafia-owned and
operated bars where the threat of abuse and possible violence was often
But, in the wanning hours of Friday night, June 27th, it took away
security we thought we had solid. It was seemingly time for us to
move on once again...
to another Gay bar or Gay dance club or another dark
street consciously hiding from the society
that gladly took and absorbed from our culture whatever it
could. Only beginning then, WE, as a Gay
people, refused to take
it anymore and spontaneously WE
fought back! The signs --
subsequent to the first ambush night of the Stonewall Rebellion --
read: "Gay People", "Gay Power", "Gay Unity", "Gay
Rights" and "Gay Marriage".
Clearly, the only operative word was what it was: "Gay"!
"STONEWALL" was a catalytic event
for the G.L.B.T. Community!
"STONEWALL", as it has
condensedly come to be known, was ultimately a
catalytic event for the G.L.B.T. community and eventually the World!
This was the historical turning point for ALL of us leading
lives (to one degree or another) in 1969 and for future
generations of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and
Transgenders ("G.L.B.T."). We were tired of and angry at being
victims and no one was going to succeed in abusing US as a group
or a people ever again. At last, we demanded our
freedom. As of June 27th, 1969,
also known as "Gay Independence Day", the term creatively coined by SVA's founder and wordsmith, Williamson 'Willson' Henderson, as a minority group, WE
as a community immediately achieved the former!
For several decades since, it has been an uphill struggle
politically, economically, legally and in every other
lives are still very much in danger and whatever liberty and freedom we
have achieved is somehow at risk. Before the Stonewall Rebellion,
there were other concerned G.L.B.T. folks who attempted to fight the system making minor in-roads, here and
there. However, the effective 1969 Stonewall Rebellion
made the public, the media and, most importantly, "US",
realize that: We are a people and we demand our full rights
generally as human beings and, particularly, as American citizens! In
fact, at long last -- and only through the
revolutionizing Stonewall Rebellion -- we symbolically achieved
"The STONEWALL Inn" bar and dance club depicted in 1969
Question: Do you know what the top word in
the STONEWALL sign says?
We do! You may email your guess
to the S.V.A. at:
Purposes of the
STONEWALL Veterans' Association
Even though the Stonewall Rebellion
took place in 1969 --
not 1869 -- the rebellion was not photographed or filmed by the media
because they deemed it "unimportant". Likewise, they were
not allowed (as in 'keep away')! Picture-taking was
forbidden! Unless a treasure trove of
forgotten images is one day unearthed, there will be endless
speculation of what exactly occurred during those five, inconsecutive,
steamy nights and early morning hours. We
must preserve the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender ("G.L.B.T.")
have before it is significantly and irrevocably lost!
The National STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association
positively and proudly represents Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual
("GLBT") history, education and culture. The Executive
Committee of the
S.V.A. consists exclusively of real patrons of The STONEWALL Inn police raids from 1966 through 1969 and/or participants in the five-night,
historic 1969 Stonewall
Rebellion in Manhattan, New York.
The S.V.A. focuses our multi-dimensional and diverse
organization as a viable group of
Gay men, Lesbian women, Bisexual folks and Transgender
people. We strive for the facts and challenge the inaccuracies.
The S.V.A. delivers the following: (1) education, (2)
(3) support, (4) communication and (5) outreach as our primary
purposes. Therefore, to educate, for example, we provide, on
regular and reliable basis, unquestionably unique, invaluable
and factual information to individuals, groups, public
officials, organizations and institutions via various means
including mailings, phone calls, promotions and guest
expanded purpose under our rainbow umbrella of support consisits
of homecare assistance, legal advice and
financial support to help keep all of the actual Stonewall veterans
healthy and united.
STONEWALL Veterans' Association's Goals Include:
The STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans Association
("S.V.A.") is a
not-for-profit, volunteer membership organization primarily for G.L.B.T.
people and their non-GLBT friends, colleagues, relatives and
supporters. The S.V.A. is registered with the New York State Charities Bureau since the Summer of 1969. The
S.V.A. regularly publishes a newsletter entitled "STONEWALL Newzletta".
The on-line edition is updated daily. There is an
print edition which is published quarterly. Press releases
and other media communications by the S.V.A. are generated as
warranted. The S.V.A. focuses on the
continuing struggles of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and
Transgenderists. S.V.A. is a historical, cultural,
advocacy and politically-aware group with a long reach, great
visibility and tremendous staying power.
- Ensure that the STONEWALL Rebellion
Veterans Association continues to be a
significant, visible and activist force in the New York City area and
- Allocate funds to assist Veterans of the Stonewall
Rebellion who are indigent and need financial assistance with
shelter, medical care, utilities, food, transportation, etc.
- Creation of a free or low-cost food/clothing
collective for the needy in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual
and Transgender ("G.L.B.T.") communities.
- Preserve our colorful and varied history by
updating our archives consisting of videos and audio tapes and, of
course, photographs and images of Stonewall
Veterans and other notables of the G.L.B.T. communities.
- Maintain a consistent, strong, persistent and
unified voice in politics and the media.
- Actively search and create a visual archive of
biographies and images relating to G.L.B.T. movements
throughout American history.
- Provide promotional
information pertaining to the history of the Stonewall legacy to Gay
and non-Gay media, public officials, other GLBT organizations and
- Implement strategic initiatives to engage the G.L.B.T. communities
viz-a-viz the "Stonewall" foundation.
- Issue press releases on current issues, matters and concerns
of the GLBT communities as well as meetings, events and other
activities of the S.V.A.
- Create a permanent Stonewall Veterans'
at the current Sheridan Triangle in New York
City's Greenwich Village. This idea was launched after the
"STONEWALL 25" anniversary at the first subsequent S.V.A. monthly
meeting in July of 1994. The
S.V.A. has formally presented this project to New York City public
officials, the New York City
Parks Department and subsequently held meetings with them, various
public officials and other GLBT groups on that
SVA-sponsored plan. The artistic rendering of the Stonewall Memorial Park has been on display at many public events.
- Proudly lead, in the historic and famous blue
Cadillac DeVille convertible known as the "Stonewall Car", all New York
GLBT parades, marches and other public displays, exhibitions and
responsibility of the S.V.A. is to garage, maintain and
insure the aforementioned SVA-owned "Stonewall Car" -- a
visible, moving and valuable symbol of actual Gay history and real
- Allocate funds to assist or, if needed, pay
for funerals and burial expenses for Stonewall veterans and establish a
central burial place at a local cemetery for Stonewall Veterans where
their memory will be collectively honored by future generations.
At this time, we have one limited plot accommodating four more in
- Maintain and promote the legacy of "Stonewall"!
"No two eyewitnesses
agree on every detail!"
(Line from the movie "Courage Under
investigating whether they should give
of Honor to a fallen, female, wartime officer.)
S.V.A. is registered with the State of New York Charities
"Search" enter: STONEWALL
Veterans' Association or S.V.A.
Most recent N.Y.S. Charities
Bureau renewal: February, 2018
with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
The S.V.A. is a non-profit,
educational, civil rights
and community organization since 1969 in its proud 49th year!
It is the 49th anniversary of the
Stonewall Rebellion, the 49th
year of the 1969 Cadillac convertible (which S.V.A. owns) and
the 49th year of the STONEWALL
The S.V.A. may also be
referred to in descriptive version as the
National STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans'
Year of "STONEWALL-50"
50th Anniversary of
the GLBT Stonewall Rebellion=====
[Friday night, June 27 ~through~ Thursday evening,
July 3, 1969, Manhattan, New York City]