A cavalcade of politicians, including U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and Congressman Jerrold Nadler, have launched a campaign to have The Stonewall Inn designated as the first national park site dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history.
Supporters of the effort include the National Parks Conservation Association, the Human Rights Campaign, 11 members of Congress, 37 members of the New York State Assembly, 13 New York State Senators, and numerous local politicians.
Two-thirds of the country’s 400-plus national park sites are dedicated to cultural and historic significance, including the Montgomery Historic Trail in Alabama and the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Many locals would like Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, which advertises itself as the site “where gay pride began!” similarly identified, as it was the site of the 1969 “Stonewall Rebellion.”
In the 1960s, it was illegal to serve gay people alcohol or for them to dance together,and LGBT people were routinely harassed and arrested, recounts the Stonewall Inn’s website. But on June 28 1969, a routine police raid of the bar sparked a rebellion that went on for days, drawing thousands of people who rioted and publicly protested their mistreatment, refusing to be shamed, despite the fact that homosexual acts were illegal almost everywhere. The melee led to the tradition of annual gay pride parades and sparked a national conversation about the routine persecution of sexual minorities.