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June 28: Jews and the Stonewall Uprising

June 28, 2013
stonewall_gallery_10Patrons of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village resisted arrest and police harassment in the wee hours on this date in 1969, setting in motion a weekend of rioting, protest, and organizing that gave rise to the modern gay liberation movement. Several Jewish women were among the organizers of the Gay Liberation Front, which immediately extended the energy of the Stonewall mobilization in political directions. Gay Pride Week was organized by Brenda Howard, another Jewish activist, who would die on the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in 2005 after building Gay Pride into an annual observance. Other Jewish pioneers of LGBTQ liberation include Frank Kameny, co-founder of the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, who was the first person to petition the U.S. Supreme Court with a civil rights claim based on sexual orientation; Harvey Milk (and his campaign manager, Anne Kronenberg), the first openly gay person to be elected to political office in the U.S.; Barney Frank, the first Congressional representative to come out as gay; Avi Rose and Christie Balka, coeditors of Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian, Gay, and Jewish; Rabbis Sharon Kleinbaum and Yoel Kahn, long-time spiritual leaders of LGBTQ synagogues in New York and San Francisco, respectively — and many other rabbis and activists too numerous to name. (And a Jewish cop, Seymour Pine, led the raid that sparked the Stonewall Uprising.) “The perspective of California kids of gay dads: getting married is something your parents do every few years.” —Avi Rose, “2: The Art of Marriage.”