Stonewall Inn (Pic: Daniel Case)
The US media is reporting that President Obama is set to make the site of the Stonewall riots the first American national monument in honour of LGBT history.
On June 28, 1969, gay, lesbian, drag and transgender patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a New York City bar, fought back against police officers in response to ongoing homophobic raids and harassment. The riots continued for a number of days.
The incident is recognised as the start of the global LGBTI rights movement and inspired the world’s first Pride marches the following year in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago – all on the same weekend (27-28 June, 1970).
According to The Washington Post, the Obama administration in the midst of working out the details to make the historic bar a national monument in June; celebrated as Pride month in the US.
President Obama has referred to the Stonewall riots as being of historic importance in at least two speeches, including his second inaugural speech.
The newspaper reported that federal officials will hold a listening meeting on Monday 9 May to assess reaction to the proposal and iron out any concerns with the city.
Christopher Park (Pic: InSapphoWeTrust)
The monument might not only include the site of the bar, but also a small adjacent park known as Christopher Park, and the surrounding Greenwich Village area, which was the hub of gay life in Manhattan. The park features a sculpture by George Segal of two same-sex couples, called Gay Liberation.
Not only would this make the location the first national monument commemorating the LGBT community, but it would also be the first to be based around a bar. The White House has thus far refused to confirm the reports.
The Stonewall Inn closed in 1969 a few months after the riots, but was reopened in 1990 in part of the original location. It is still a popular landmark and working gay bar.
The events of June 28, 1969 have been documented in documentaries, plays and at least two feature films, most recently Roland Emmerich’s controversial and widely panned Stonewall (2015).