In the early hours of June 28th, 1969, at a small place called the Stonewall Inn located in Greenwich Village, a crusade was born. The birth of the modern day LGBT Civil Rights Movement had arrived.
June is set aside for celebrations across this great country. We celebrate with pride the struggles our community endured and the achievements we have accomplished. From the abolishment of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, to the passing of the Mathew Shepard Act, as well as the possibility of same sex marriage being the law of the land, we have indeed come a long way since those days in Greenwich Village.
I certainly remember what I was doing in June, 1969, and it had nothing to do with gay pride. I had just graduated from high school, and really didn’t know ANYTHING about gay rights and that a movement had been born. Hell, I didn’t know anything about the movement until after I came out publically in 1990. I knew nothing about gay pride parades, as I had never attended one, until that same year when I marched in the NYC parade as a “celebrity”. Behind the Mask had just been published, and my name was in the news. Twenty five years later, I think back on that day. Yes, I am honored that I had been asked to be a part of it, but I also feel ashamed that I knew nothing of what it really meant. I knew nothing of the men and women who came before me, and how they were the true heroes of my community. They were the ones who made the sacrifices to give me the voice that I have today.
I have been asked many times over these last twenty five years, what I have learned since I publically came out. I can sum it all up in one word ‘humility’. I am humbled, to be mentioned in the company of those men and women, who gave so much of themselves for our community, and to help get it to where it is today. We must remind our younger generation of the real history of pride month, so that they too can be proud of those who came before them.
We must ALL remember never to forget!!
Thanks for reading, and remember
Never Strike Out!!