The Stonewall Riots were a series of violent clashes between police and gay rights activists that began in the early hours of June 28th 1969, outside the Stonewall Inn bar in New York’s Greenwich Village. These conflicts are considered the starting point of the gay rights movement.

In 1969, solicitation of same-sex relationships was prohibited in New York and all urban states. Gay bars served as refuges for gay men and women and others who were sexually threatened. These people could meet each other without worrying about disturbing others. But most of the times they were often attacked by the police.
The Stonewall Bar was a well-known gay hangout in New York’s Greenwich Village.

At that time, it was reported that this bar sold alcoholic beverages without a license. In the early hours of Sunday, June 28, 1969, nine police officers entered the bar and arrested the employees for selling liquor without a license. They behaved violently with the supporters of the cargo officials and after unloading the cargo, they also arrested a number of transgenders. It was the third raid on gay bars in Greenwich Village in a short period of time.

People did not retreat and disperse this time. Their anger was obvious. Those who were watching the forced transfer of the patrons of the bar into the police van, began to shout and beat the police and throw bottles and garbage at the officers. The police officers, who did not expect such behavior, called for backup and took shelter in the bar while about 400 people rioted and tried to break into the bar. By the time helpers arrived, the bar was on fire. They first extinguished the fire and then dispersed the crowd.

The rebels remained outside Stonewall Inn for another five days. Many historians consider this uprising to be a spontaneous protest against the constant police harassment and discriminatory treatment of sexual minorities in the 1960s. Although there had been other protests by gay groups prior to the Stonewall riots, gays probably first realized the value of uniting for a common goal at Stonewall.

Stonewall soon became a symbol of resistance to political and social discrimination that inspired the union of gay groups for decades. On June 28, 1970, the first LGBT parades were held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Since then, gay parades are held every year at the end of June.

The Stonewall riots also led to the creation of several gay rights organizations such as GOLD (Gay Alliance Against Defamation), Outreach (based in the UK), Pflag (gay parents, families and friends) and Queer Nation.
Stonewall Bar was also placed on the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

The Stonewall uprising showed the LGBT+ people that to achieve our rights even in democratic countries; we must struggle, resist and demand together. This tradition should be the light of the future for all Afghan LGBTIQ people because to achieve our basic rights we must go through collective and organized work, social struggle and culture building.