The Stonewall Reader Notes (Ella)


  • “The Stonewall uprising protested a police raid on a Mafia-owned gay bar and dance spot that had no running water, where glasses were “washed” in filthy suds and reused, and which was “protected” by straight, extortionate Mafia goons.” (White ix)
  • “And Judy Garland, the Pasionara of gay men, had died on June 22, 1969… The Stonewall riots began June 28 at three in the morning.” (White ix-x)
  • “…the sexual revolution, Black Power, and anti-Vietnam War demonstration had shown the efficacy of protest.” (White x)
  • Small gay rights movement called “Mattachine Society”
  • “The Gay Academic Union started in 1973 and lasted four years.” (White xi)
    • Gay political groups
    • Pride marches on anniversaries of stonewall


  • “The Stonewall Inn… began as a teahouse, Bonnie’s Stone Wall, in 1930, and later evolved into a restaurant. After a fire destroyed the interior in the early 1960s, the Stonewall was reopened by Fat Tony Lauria as a gay bar.” (Baumann xiii)
    • Part of a network of mafia controlled illegal gay clubs and after hour joints in the Village
    • 53 christopher street, NYC
    • Operated as a private club in order to evade the state liquor authority
    • Many customers were crossdressers wearing makeup
  • “But on Tuesday June 24, 1969, there was another kind of raid, organized by the NYPD’s First Division, rather than the usual and local Sixth Precinct.When the club was back up and running a few days later, the police decided to go in again on Saturday, June 28, and shut it down for good.” (Baumann xiv)
    • The customers fought back
    • This is the stonewall riot
    • “The drag queens were said to have given the police both the fiercest resistance and a dose of humor, facing them down in a line as they sang, “We are the Stonewall Girls…”” (Baumann xiv)
    • “Riots and demonstrations continued throughout the following week” (Baumann xiv)
  • “Stonewall is often marked as the beginning of the LGBTQ civil rights movement, but that is of course not true. LGBTQ people had been organizing politically at least since the 1950s, with the emergence of organizations such as the Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis, the Janus Society, the Society for Individual Rights, and the Erickson Educational Foundation.” (Baumann xv)
  • “Stonewall was preceded by earlier queer revolts such as the Cooper Donuts Riot in Los Angeles in 1959, the Dewey’s restaurant sit-in in Philidelphia in 1965, the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco in 1966, and the protests against the raid of the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles in 1967, among many others.” (Baumann xv)
  • Key figures Baumann mentions: Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny, Del Martin, Ernestine Eckstein, Mario Martino, Dick Leitsch, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Martin Boyce, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Holly Woodlawn, Jayne County 
  • “The movement’s own choice as Stonewall uprising as a symbol for LGBTQ struggles for liberation has in many ways skewed the story to focus on the experiences of urban gay white men. In this anthology, I have endeavored to shift the narrative to a wider context and to expand what does and doesn’t count as a Stonewall memory.” (Baumann xvi)
  • “The repression of homosexuality reached its peak in the 1950s with the McCarthy era.” (Baumann xvii)
  • “Gays and lesbians began to organize during the 1950w with the homophile movement but were hampered by the lack of a political language with which to express their experience, as they were neither considered a class nor an ethnicity but instead were considered victims of a moral and medical defect.” (Baumann xvii)
  • “…tremendous explosion of activist energy that resulted from the uprising.” (Baumann xix)
    • Organizations such as the Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance, the Radicalesbians
    • Called for not just equality but liberation
  • “The 1970s became a gay and lesbian renaissance with its own literature, music, politics, and erotic presence. LGBTQ activists won major political victories, such as the removal of homosexuality from the American Psychological Association’s classification od mental disorders, and began to apply public pressure to combat negative stereotypes.” (Baumann xix)
  • Cons post-Stonewall
    • Sexism against lesbian activists by gay male political colleagues
    • Silencing and unacceptance of transgender activists
    • Racism of the movement towards African American, Lantinx, and Asian American activists
  • Organization to recover LGBTQ history: International Gay Information Center, which grew out of the Gay Activists Alliance (Baumann xx)
  • “The most important lesson that I have hopefully learned working with these archives is that they are people’s lives. They are not just boxes of papers and magazines; they are people’s memories, hopes, and dreams that have been entrusted to us.” (Baumann xxi)

Book Citation:

White, Edmund and Baumann, Jason. “The Stonewall Reader.” Penguin Classics, 2019. Print.

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