The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village is the heart and soul of the modern LGBT rights movement. More than 40 years after the Stonewall Riots and one year after the historic Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage, President Barack Obama will declare the Stonewall Inn a National Monument—the first one in the United States dedicated to the LGBT community, ABC News reports.
The Stonewall Inn was the site of the Stonewall Riots in 1969. The New York Police Department regularly raided and harassed LGBT customers who drank at gay bars. In fact, gay people were not allowed to drink or to dance with members of the same sex. Women were even required to wear at least three pieces of “feminine” clothing to the Stonewall Inn, otherwise they risked arrest. Harassment was a commonplace occurence for members of the LGBT community in the ’60s. When the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, customers decided not to put up with the abuse. They stayed behind and rioted, throwing bricks and fighting back. The riots continued to grow over the following few days, sparking a sort of “Rosa Parks” moment for the modern LGBT movement.
The Inn has seen times of great celebration, like when same-sex marriage was legalized last year. It has also seen times of extreme grief, especially after the horrific attack on Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, that killed 49 and injured dozens more.
And now, the Stonewall Inn will be designated as a new National Monument by President Obama. Advocates have long fought to make this historic site a National Monument, citing the importance of the site to the modern LGBT movement. According to The New York Times, this monument designation will consist of 7.7 acres, including the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park (across from the Inn), and other historical streets and sidewalks.
President Obama said in a press release, “I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System. Stonewall will be our first National Monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”