On June 28, 1969—51 years ago on Sunday—a black transgender activist named Marsha P. Johnson and a group of LGTBQ+ folks took a stand against police raids that had become all too frequent at the Stonewall Inn (and many other queer establishments) in New York City. The raid sparked an uprising among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the Stonewall Inn. Without this stand against injustice, we may not be celebrating Pride during the month of June. This Pride month has been flooded with voices of the marginalized, riots from the generations of pent up anger, and protests demanding justice for the slayings of countless black lives at the hands of police. This past month has further exposed the reality of how much work towards equality remains.
Since the beginning of 2020, at least 16 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by violent acts. We say ‘at least’ because too often these stories go unreported or misreported. Today, during Stonewall Day, we want to recognize that freedom doesn’t presently mean freedom for all, that equality doesn’t yet mean equality for all, and that all people deserve a voice and have the right to be who they are (and love who they love!) without fear.
The fight for justice is a never ending struggle. Here at Modist, we see you, we are you, we love you, and we continue to fight for you. Today, as we honor those who courageously stood up for queer rights at Stonewall Inn, let’s not forget how much further we need to go for equality.