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Pride weekend! The anniversary parades. Happy Saturday, all.

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The Stonewall riots themselves have been very well covered here by those of us who study LGBT history, both on the anniversary of the riots themselves and on the occasion when our President wrote it into the mainstream of history in his second inaugural address. What we're discussing is the commemoration of the event during the 45 years between the event and tonight.

The commemoration itself is significant (and yes, this is an updated version of something I wrote for Top Comments last year). Here in 2014, we KNOW that for years after the Christopher Street/Stonewall celebrations in California will include the end of Proposition 8 and the resumption of marriage for same-sex couples. As June 1970 approached, however, nobody really knew if the events of the Stonewall Riots would be commemorated at all. In what feels now like a fascinating turn of events, the impetus to remember Stonewall originated in the Gay Liberation movement in Los Angeles, which, as you will remember from an earlier diary, had been in existence in one form or another since the early 1950s. In May 1970, Morris Kight, the founder of the  Gay Liberation Front of Los Angeles, announced that there would be a parade down Hollywood Boulevard to celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall unprising. Mirabile dictu, given the hostility that the Los Angeles Police Department had toward homosexuals, Christopher Street West received permits for the parade with the help of the ACLU and the courts. On that occasion, according to Dudley Clendinnen and Adam Nagourney in Out for Good: The Struggle to Build A Gay Rights Movement in America (1999):

"Homosexuals," [Superior Court] Judge [Richard] Schauer declared, "are also citizens."
New York also had a parade from Greenwich Village to the Sheep Meadow in Central Park, up Fifth Avenue, following the route of the St. Patrick's Day Parade. 1,165 people showed up in Hollywood, and several thousand in New York, and a tradition was born. Again, Clendinnen and Nagourney:
The New York Times . . . found the turnout [in New York] notable enough to put it on the front page of the next day's paper. No one had ever seen so many homosexuals in one place before. On top of the bluff, many of these men and Women, who had grown up so isolated and alone, stood in silence and cried.
Atlanta had its first parade in 1971, and San Francisco, which commemorated the Stonewall riots with a "Gay-In" in Golden Gate Park in 1970, had its first parade in 1972. The rest, as they say, is history.

45 years, and every day we become more American. This year, we have an executive order to celebrate.

This is queued too. I'm writing this in Puerto Rico looking at the Carinbbean, and I'll be somewhere in New England when it publishes. The two weeks after that I'll be at home.

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