LGBT Pride Month 2013 – NPS Director – Jon Jarvis’ Blog
At 1:15 am on June 28, 1969, eight plainclothes police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street in Manhattan, and detained and arrested the bar’s employees and patrons. As a crowd gathered outside, anger over the harassment escalated into a protest that lasted until July 3 and drew thousands of participants. While not the first gay rights demonstration, Stonewall was the first to galvanize the gay and lesbian community and signal to the world that gay Americans would tolerate nothing less than equal rights.
In 1960s Washington, DC, Dr. Franklin E. Kameny was championing the rights of LGBT individuals. Kameny led the fight to remove sexual orientation as a basis for the hiring or firing federal employees, was part of one of the first legal challenges to the military’s policy against gay members of the armed services, and fought to change the classification of homosexuality as a mental illness. The legacy of his advocacy is seen in everything from federal employment non-discrimination policies, to the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to the efforts to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).