Cleveland LGBTQ Community Celebrates Stonewall Inn Riots 50th Anniversary

A plague about the history of the Stonewall Inn Riots.
A plaque about the history of the Stonewall Inn Riots. [Juan Camilo Bernal/Shutterstock]

The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland  will hold a reception and remembrance tonight of New York's Stonewall Inn raids, seen as a turning point in the fight for gay rights.

Fifty years ago, patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back against police raids and the city laws that made gay bars illegal.  

LGBT Center Coordinator Mary Beth Bartholemew says the significance of those sparking riots and protests that is now considered the birth of the pride movement.

“This was the first time a group a small group of people decided to fight back and essentially say this is enough we're not going to take this anymore we deserve more than this,” said Bartholemew

Bartholemew adds one of the many reason to celebrate on this anniversary is to honor those who fought for LGBTQ rights including the right for gay people to marry. She says they've come a long way. 

"I think there's certainly more awareness and more acceptance from the greater community and our allies," Bartholemew said. "Young people are expressing their gender and sexual orientation at a much younger age. So there's more confidence. I think that younger and younger populations.”

She adds with the recent deaths of transgender black women and the continued fight to change laws that will protect the rights of the LGBTQ community, there is still a long way to go. 

Bartholemew hopes younger LGBT generation can be inspired by events like Stonewall.

“And be able to look at our elders and say to some of these—that  these folks survived some pretty awful times,” she said. “And Perhaps I can get through whatever I'm struggling with today.”

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