Has the Stonewall Riot Led to Peaceful Acceptance?

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Has the Stonewall Riot Led to Peaceful Acceptance?

Brynn Cook, Sophomore Staff Writer

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June 28, 1969, was an extremely important date for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community. 50 years ago, the Stonewall Riots took place. These were a series of impromptu riots  and violent confrontations initiated by LGBTQ+ people against the N.Y police outside of the Stonewall bar in the city’s Greenwich village area. The intention was to grow the gay rights movement and push for equality. 50 years later, this community is still fighting for equality. On June 26, 2015, gay marriage became legal all over the United States, but apparently it is still completely legal to discriminate against people of the LGBTQ+ community in most states. There isn’t much I can do as a high school student about discrimination in the public, but I can bring attention to the lack of complete acceptance in schools. 

Coming out in high school is really scary. You never know how your friends and peers are going to react. Everyone hopes they’ll be completely accepted, but that’s not always the case. When asked if she feels accepted because of her sexual preference, a closeted senior said: “By my friends, yes, I feel accepted. I really couldn’t answer about others since I didn’t go around the halls screaming ‘I’M GAY!’ From my outfit choices, I dress more masculine, and dressing more masculine is a female’s  stereotypical way of indicating her sexual preference.” 

I believe that often people in the LGBTQ+ community are likely to hide their true identity in fear of being alienated and bullied. Acceptance in school, particularly high school,  is so important. When asked her views on acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in school, Mrs. Deborah Wack, a freshman history teacher, said, “For a young person who is LGBTQ to come to terms with who they are, as opposed to who they are expected to be, is a very difficult undertaking. Being true to one’s self can be very challenging and difficult, especially when there is no emotional support. This realization can result in many different situations, including the loss of acceptance from family, lifelong friends, being shunned socially or bullied, and feelings of insecurity, isolation and self-loathing for failing to meet the expectations of others. Being armed with information and facts and practicing tolerance can go a long way in helping these young people succeed and excel in order to be the intelligent, creative and amazing people they are. Nobody deserves to be hated or vilified because of his or her sexuality or gender. To be LGBTQ is not an illness or a condition to be treated or cured, nor is it contagious. Kindness and tolerance, on the other hand, can be contagious.”  Wack is in the process of starting an LGBTQ+ acceptance group here at Hubbard High School.

According to the online site, DoSomething.org, “Almost 3⁄4 of LGBTQ students with no supportive staff feel unsafe attending school.” Students at Hubbard got pretty lucky with an accepting staff. When asked if she feels that the staff is welcoming, Brooke Myers, an openly gay sophomore, said: “The staff at Hubbard, as far as I’m concerned, has never given me a reason to believe that they aren’t accepting.” Knowing that your teachers accept you no matter what is honestly a life-saver. Mrs. DelMonte, a health teacher, stated: “Everyone should live their life with whomever makes them happy.” 

Fifty years after this significant Stonewall event, it is helpful for us to remember that true acceptance means giving an equal status of respect to all, and the more we practice this quality, the more it will become a natural part of our personalities. Let us continue to recognize the beginnings that Stonewall set into motion.

Source:  https://www.history.com/topics/gay-rights/the-stonewall-riots