POSTED ON June 24, 2019
To celebrate the momentous 50th anniversary of Stonewall, a turning point in LGBTQ+ activism, we're venturing into yesteryear with an exploration into a how things were and a deeper look into Love.
The Handkerchief Code became popular in the '70s when people would wear colored bandanas or handkerchiefs in their back pockets as a way to signal others what their sexual tastes and preferences are. Also, which pocket it's in is important too. The left side indicates you're the dominant/top and the right side means your the submissive/bottom. Common colors are grey (light bondage), black (heavy S&M), orange (anything goes), red (fisting), and light pink is dildo play whereas a darker pink means tit torture.
Even in the face of homophobia, prejudice, and discrimination (now and then!), people innovate ways to fly under the radar, communicate with those around them, and find those with similar interests. I want to give a quick shout out to everyone who stands up for what they believe in, who they love, and how they choose to love. Congratulations to you for being true to yourself and not going along with what society tells us to do!
The Stonewall Riots
The 60s (and the years leading up to it) was a tumultuous time for the whole country: the Civil Rights Movement, Kennedy was assassinated, the anti-Vietnam War movement. Now, add in the harsh prejudice and brutal discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community, talk about hellacious times. What made matters even worse was the Mafia owned a lot of bars and establishments which made conditions worse and prices skyrocket.
On the morning of June 28th 1969 the NYPD stormed the Stonewall Inn with a warrant and arrested 13 people, a combination of employees and patrons. The story goes the police were aggressively manhandling those arrested and one lesbian was struck on the head while being forced into the police van. She shouted at the crowd urging them to act, and so fed up with everything they started throwing things at the police. Soon enough hundreds of people crowded the area and it escalated into a full scale riot to the point that the cops pulled some of the prisoners inside the Stonewall Inn and barricaded themselves inside. The barricade repeatedly fell and the mob tried to set the place on fire.
This protest was broken up by a riot squad and fire department, but other protests sprung up around the area amassing thousands of people. Although Stonewall was not the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement, it was a major catalyst that spurred the revolution into a higher gear than ever before.
As this month's festivities wrap up, the celebration of who we are and the fight for what is ours continues on. We have by no means arrived, but there has been substantial progress in the area of social acceptance. I commend everyone that strives to establish equality. You are the warriors of today and the heroes of tomorrow. 50 years from now you will be the legends the fill the pages of history books, articles, and live in the minds of the LGBTQIA+ youth and everyone else for standing up for what is right no matter how grueling it is. Now is the time to stand up and be proud of who you are!