An online journal celebrating the joys of living bare with pride! This site usually publishes every Monday and Friday. I may be irreverent but I am no way irrelevant! My preferred personal pronouns are he, him, his.
The term “Friday Footnote” confuses some people. Please don’t be misled. I am not endorsing a “foot fetish” obsession – nor am I condemning one! A “footnote” is a brief notice or explanation for clarification. To enhance comprehension and understanding of the subject material. Our man above is ReNude Pride’s visual indication of a footnote.
In my posting earlier this month, September: New Beginnings, (click title to view) I presumed that everyone understood the correlation between January 1, and September 1. A “new beginning” isn’t really happening just because it is the start of another month and another calendar season. However, as early as we are into the current month, “new” has already enveloped us. The most obvious being the ascension of Charles III as the Head of Commonwealth on the death of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Another event happened to me, personally, just this past week! A most welcome occurrence!
Returning to my classroom after the Labor Day holiday (Monday, September 5), I was totally surprised and thrilled to receive a response from one of my oldest (acquaintance wise) blogging buddies with the accurate and current address of his blog! This lifted my spirits after the day off and made me excited about this long overdue reunion!
His new site is: Gaytekeeper’s Blog. Click on the title and visit the blog. He is very impressive and will keep you entertained, informed and current!
I appreciate everyone who corrected my connectivity link above. It was a typographical error on my part. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience!
In the Northern Hemisphere, this approaching weekend is the final official one of the Summer of 2022. The season of fun, surf and sun will – within a few short days – disappear as autumn brings a chill into our lives.
Aaron and I are on the roadways away beginning today (early in the morning). This is our bidding farewell to the season and to the comfortable temperatures outside. We have no definitive destination for our weekend jaunt although an ocean and waves are always appealing!
This is our tribute to the summer of 2022 – our method of saying “thank you” and good-bye” as the season draws to a close. It was both fun and remarkable, a combination that unfortunately doesn’t happen to often recently.
I wish to everyone reading and/or visiting here the best for the weekend! Be careful and safe!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for Monday, September 19, 2022, and the proposed topic is a brief tribute on the funeral and burial of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Posing bare, happy and together! A tribute to nude photography and all naked posers!
This posting here on ReNude Pride is dedicated as a tribute to all of us bare practitioners who take the energy and the time to share all of ourselves – without any guilt, regrets or shame – with others who look at our photo albums or our walls where we hang pictures! We know for a fact that there is absolutely nothing wrong or vulgar about being “as we are” – naturally! Our lives are honest and open so why bother with concealment and deceit?
Our comfort with our nakedness is not an aspect of perversion as much as it is a basic characteristic of our lives and our comfort level. For us, clothing and covering is a bother and an inconvenience. It may be required by law in public but in honesty and privacy, it is simply who we truly are! There is no reason for any discomfort, guilt or shame in enjoying ourselves clothes free!
“I like me better naked. I don’t mean that in a vain way…When you put clothes on, you immediately put a character on. Clothes are adjectives, they are indicators. When you don’t have any clothes on, it’s just you, raw: you can’t hide.” ~ Padma Lakshmi, Indian author ~
Our man above wants to remind us all of his bold and proud assurance of his nakedness. He has the word “unashamed” in a tattoo in his groin area, just above his pubic hair. Good job. Nice work! Confess your confidence, man!
Some simple advice and thoughts on posing as a bare practitioner in today’s often chaotic and hectic world. Have fun and remember to smile for the camera!
We are all bare practitioners here (GLBTQ+ naturists/nudists) so everyone act, look and pose as natural as you feel. Be naked. Be proud. Be proudly nude!
There is absolutely no need to be ashamed or embarrassed over any part of your physical anatomy.
Nudity is a significant aspect of our bare practitioner lives. Casual and close contact happens in life as well as spontaneous photography. Accept it and move along in happiness!
Sometimes, a “planned” pose enhances our life – and makes us all laugh. Remember: laughter is, after all, the best medicine!
Natural reactions are basically just what they are labeled – natural. It is just a part of life, so just be normal.
Just a few observations to pass along to everyone. With slightly less than a full month left in the Northern Hemisphere’s 2022 Summer remaining, grab your camera and your friends and Make Memories today!
FYI: My “dearly beloved” (Roger) has asked that I do another post in September. I’ve picked a subject and am already working on a draft!
Aaron Michael Peterson-Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: My spouse, Aaron, composed this post entry here today. Thank you, Aaron, for your effort! The next entry here is planned for Wednesday, August 31, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Bottoms-Up! August, 2022”
Every year during the traditional gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (GLBTQ+) pride celebrations, this question is continually posed to members of our community and culture, mainstream society, politicians and social commentators. The responses vary as to the background, political and religious leanings and social opinions and views of the persons asked.
Unfortunately, each year the replies increase in the expression of negativity. Aside from our community and cultural populations, the consensus grows as to the useless need for any GLBTQ+ pride commemoration. Many believe that equal rights have been obtained and flourish for all of us, regardless of our identity. However, recent actions and events indicate otherwise.
It is important to note that the visibility of our display of our pride frequently varies from individual to individual. Some feel the need for a prominent unfurling of our confidence by waving a flag or painting our bodies. Others are comfortable and content with merely publicly demonstrating their affection within our community by physically touching our otherwise engaging themselves and their nudity. There exists no concrete standard to be observed by all. My spouse, Aaron, and I use whatever method we find appropriate and available for the occasion.
Immediately following the SIR (Stonewall Inn riots) in June, 1969, the emerging same gender loving communities recognized the need for celebrations in honour of all the newly “liberated” people to acquire acceptance, identification and recognition of themselves as a confident and proud culture within the mainstream population. Having survived the “closet” lifestyle for the vast majority of their secreted lives, these individuals needed to embrace themselves and build their new identity.
Pride celebrations were seen as a tool to encourage this need and in June, 1970, exactly one year after the SIR uprising, “gay liberation” events were held in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles to honour the occasion and to promote a fostering of community. These first observances attracted sizeable crowds of the growing community and their supporters – as well as protestors!
The initial events were determined to be successful and by the second anniversary of SIR, other municipalities were planning and staging their own festivals and parades to mark the occasion. Stonewall riots had most definitely captured and inspired our attention and our dreams for eventual equality!
The first “gay liberation” observances soon evolved into pride festivals in order for people to celebrate their sexual freedom and identity. These witnessed the growing confidence that we felt as a community experiencing the first steps toward self-identification. We no longer accepted the archaic and derogatory label of “homosexual.” We welcomed the terms gay, lesbian and bisexual as appropriate titles of distinction and identity as constituents of the emerging culture that now entailed all of us. The decade of the 1960’s opened the doors for change and we became inspired by a new identity and hope for an improvement in our collective future. Freedom from centuries of condemnation, isolation and oppression was finally underway!
The popularity of pride events and the audiences they attracted made us aware of the fact we now numbered more than just an isolated “few.” There were now a sizable group of us and we were no longer alone. This awareness opened our eyes to the reality that we had much more in common than just our sexual situation. Others existed with similar abilities, attributes, ideals and interests. Community-building was now another development happening!
Our discovery of pride – within ourselves, in what we are and in who we are – became a solid foundation. It enabled us to become a working movement to initiate change, enhancement and growth, not only within our own society in general but throughout the world.
Despite our many differences, we acknowledge shared goals, ideals and objectives. In order to emblaze and empower our recognition and visibility, the Rainbow flag was selected to represent us. Each colour represents a common behaviour, belief and/or standard. The flag was designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker and was first used in 1978. It was rapidly adopted across the globe.
The Progress Rainbow flag was first unfurled in 2017 and was designed by Daniel Quasar. It includes the original banner plus the addition of insertions to represent the components of both racial and sexual diversities as well as representation of persons living with HIV/AIDS and those who died from the virus. The Progress flag is considered by many to truly reflect the majority of all persons within the GLBTQ+ culture. Many persons, both within our culture and from the outside, have commended Dan Quasar for incorporating the original Rainbow flag as a part of his design.
Author’s note:This flag is my personal favourite as I believe it is entails a greater representation of all of us – no matter what or who we consider ourselves.
In 1988, the GLBTQ+ culture launched National Coming Out Day on October 11, annually, in support of all people taking a “giant step” out of the closet and making themselves an example of pride. The concept is based on the personal being political – a popular idea. The emphasis is the basic form of social activism as openly acknowledging oneself to family, friends and colleagues and living life as a confident bisexual, gay or lesbian person.
The fact that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of ignorance and silence, once people know they have loved ones – family or friends – who are themselves bisexual, gay or lesbian they will be less than willing to engage in homophobic or hateful behaviours. The goal being making the world a less repressive place.
The examination of the title question here today, Is Pride Necessary?, provides mewith the simple response: yes! Not every one of us are raised to maturity in an environment that is accepting and supportive of a person’s prerogative to become the person that they indeed are. Not all of us are able to make that determination in our lives. Therefore, I feel that pride is not only necessary but essential.
If at least one person questioning her/his sexual identity is answered, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one suicide over sexual identity is averted, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one despondent and lonely person finds acceptance and friendship, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one ideal is met and achieved, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one person reaches out and helps another, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one dilemma or problem is solved, then yes, pride is necessary.
A community is based on determination, purpose and through person-to-person contact. A culture is built upon communities interacting and working together. A cultural dynamic often opens doors and initiates a positive development for humanity, then yes, pride is necessary.
This year, on June 13, 2022, police in the state of Idaho, in the USA, arrested 31 people who had face coverings, white supremacist insignia, shields and an “operations plan” to riot and open gunfire on an GLBTQ+ Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a city of about 50,000 people near the border with Washington state. Police identified all those arrested as members of Patriotic Front, a white supremacist group already known for extremist tactics.
The organizers of the GLBTQ+ event said it was a family-friendly community event celebrating diversity and building a stronger and unified community for all. The sponsoring group is the North Idaho Pride Alliance and the event was entitled “Pride In The Park.”
In another incident related to the same Pride In The Park, police conducted a similar action against the Panhandle Patriots, a local motorcycle club. The cyclists were organizing a “Gun d’Alene” event to disrupt and openly assault the Pride In The Park “queers.” Firearms were seized in the motorcyclists arrests.
If law enforcement need to take actions such as the above, then yes, pride is necessary.
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for Monday, August 29, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Making Memories #2!” This post is composed by my spouse, Aaron.
A salute to all bare practitioner photographers everywhere!
As we enter into the final half of the month of August, 2022, it is appropriate to acknowledge all of those of us who help the rest of us recall and ponder the wonderful events and friends that have made our lives so much fun! Thank you for enabling the cold and frigid days of the winter to become somewhat enjoyable and filled with fun and laughter and photographs of our bare times together!
I apologize for the confusion here. Last Friday I published today’s post entry as “Is Pride Necessary.” I had completely forgotten about today’s post entry as being already scheduled. “Is Pride Necessary” will publish this upcoming Friday, August 26, 2022, and once again, I regret the confusion on my part!
I especially want to commend my spouse, Aaron, for all of his work with his camera in capturing the images of myself and our families and friends. They may not all be bare practitioners with the both of us, but they do liven up our photo albums at home! Aaron will author a post one week from today dealing with posing clothes free and creating a bare practitioner photo album.
For the bare practitioner community, there is no mandate or rule that our photographers must be just as bare as we are. However, it is a common courtesy that in order to make everyone comfortable and relaxed, a naked camera operator is a welcome addition to any gathering. Her/his presence with a camera and without clothing encourages everyone to concentrate on the company and the purpose – taking pictures, posing and having a good time!
Creating photographs and images while totally naked eliminates the distinction between the photographer (camera operator) and those being photographed (posers, subjects). All of a sudden, removing all clothing, everyone becomes equal and relaxed. A separation (clothing versus nakedness) is eradicated and is easily replaced by trust.
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Friday, August 26, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Is Pride Necessary?”
My spouse, Aaron, and I were having lunch with some friends and somehow, the topic “solitude nudes” emerged. Upon later reflection, I recalled several of the comments and the idea for this post entry here was developed. I’ve published quite a number of issues involving social nudity here, but recent features covering solo bare practitioners have all but disappeared. Hopefully, that reality will change!
The bare practitioner community is as diverse as our general society. There are some bare practitioners who prefer solitude over companionship, just as that preference extends to mainstream society. All of us have different personalities and levels of comfort and this is exemplified in our natures related to body and clothes freedom.
Human beings, by a majority, are a very social species. We tend to function and thrive when in the company and interacting with others. Individually and collectively we strive for acceptance and encouragement from our similarly oriented cohorts. Recognition enables optimal achievement and performance for our associates and for ourselves.
Like other living species, there are exceptions. Among humanity, not all of us react identical to social interaction. For most of us, socialization is no problem, whatsoever. For others, it may be an inconvenience and not always welcome. A few see it as a serious blunder that causes anxiety and dread. We all need to be aware of these feelings and the concerns they create. Our sensitivity in this matter enables bare practitioners of different levels of comfort with socialization a degree of respect and tolerance. It is also an example of consideration and cooperation.
There are a number of bare practitioners who plan and project daily to enjoy and take full advantage of their solitary life. They have no desire to socialize with others during their leisure or personal time. Their needs for companionship and interaction with others is totally satisfied in their work and commercial contacts. No need is felt to extending this any further.
These same persons have no inclination to invite others to join with them and to participate in their solitary body and clothes freedom undertakings. Some of them may relish being naked around others, individually or as a group. The mere presence of other bare practitioners indeed satisfies the concept of socialization with no additional interaction necessary.
Some bare practitioners prefer the company of just themselves – alone. Whatever their feelings for companionship and camaraderie, personal preference is the priority and the absence of others within their general vicinity is their choice. Many of us often may not understand this decision but we all need to respect it. No law or rule exists that mandates nudity must occur in the company of two or more persons.
There are many of us without any socialization issues or preferences who, for one reason or another, find a day when it is beneficial to contemplate decisions alone while away from others. This one day desire for solitude allows us time to work through particular choices that we may face in our personal and/or professional lives. We utilize this time for promise or reassurance of facets while considering all available options. This alone time is important and helps us sort our reaction or response to the particular situation. Again, it is vital that we offer respect of our needs and allow space when necessary.
It is important that we, as bare practitioner advocates, all recognize the needs and rights of individual circumstances in attaining our comfort level within the realm of our nakedness and nudity. We are all distinct individuals and few, if any of us, are identical. Awareness, respect and tolerance is essential for the harmony of everyone in our community and our culture!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Monday, August 22, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Is Pride Necessary?”
The printed sign in the lower left corner of the window above really needs no additional explanation. Along with the Rainbow flag draped over the window, this is obviously a bare practitioner supported establishment. To receive exceptional treatment, keep in mind the advice for the best available service. August evidently is the perfect month of the year for clothes freedom!
Keep the message clear and make certain that you qualify for the guaranteed benefits. Before entering the the facility, take care of the service regulations:
If there is any consolation necessary, please keep the following summation in your mind. It summarizes what we all know to be true!
In other words, take it all off and be so very glad and proud that you did!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Nudity = happiness and pride!
Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for Monday, August 15, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Aaron & Roger: Number 7!”
After having focused on the “pride” theme for the entire month of June of this year, I realize that many reading this may ask themselves: What? More pride? Again? First, I’m not apologizing or composing an excuse for repeating the “pride” message. June is, after all, the traditional month, at least in the USA, when gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer + (GLBTQ+) celebrate and honour their confidence and pride about and within their community and culture.
Second, as the author of ReNude Pride, yes, I most definitely am trying to justify using these “rainbow flag” skinny-dipping pictures in conjunction with today’s post entry. I acknowledge feeling neglectful of the skinny-dipping subject in my blogging topics over the past couple of years. Nude swimming and bare culture are synonymous during the month of August, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Why ignore the topical and visible compatibility?
Aaron, my beloved spouse, differs with me on this subject. He feels that I do not need to validate my selection of images and theme here. This site’s dedication to the bare practitioner community and culture is self-explanatory. His reasoning is based that as this blog’s creator, editor and writer it is my “natural” (both figurative and literal) prerogative. Thus, as devoted as we both are to one another, we have our disagreements of opinions!
The large majority of us – bare practitioners as well as those who wear clothes – fully understand that there are no codes, laws, protocols, regulations or rules that limit our engagement in pride exclusively to the month of June only. Without restriction, we are entitled to act and behave with pride and respect whenever possible. Confidence is not a limited attribute.
Ideally, confidence and pride were instilled in all of us since the moment we were born. However, given the turbulent times in which we live, a growing number of us are not afforded this luxury and opportunity. Whatever the cause or reason, some of us need additional patience and tolerance as we strive to achieve this within our own lives.
Not everyone of us need or require a “rainbow flag” to remind us of our pride in being precisely what and who we are. A gentle reminder from time to time is often all that’s necessary for us to experience happy and productive lives. However, we all need to be reminded of this responsibility we all share. Together, we can make a positive difference in our everyday lives and in our world!
A gentle reminder here, the rainbow flag was replaced by the Progress banner in 2017 as a symbol of our community and culture march towards equality. The Progress version is depicted below.
A personal example of not needing a rainbow or Progress flag to demonstrate one’s self-assurance are Aaron (my spouse) and I strolling along the beach in complete body freedom (bare, naked, nude) and holding hands together. Our bare practitioner (same gender loving and clothes free) status is blatantly visible to everyone around. We are doing this in public, without any embarrassment or shame – confident and proud. No apology, excuse or reasoning necessary!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for Monday, August 8, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Home With Mom!”
As are most observances within the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer + communities (GLBTQ+), Bare Practitioner’s Day (today) is a recent celebration that is slowly gaining acceptance and recognition within both the naturist/nudist culture and the GLBTQ+ world. Prior to 2008, there were few, if any, references to “homosexual” – GLBTQ+ – naturist/nudist events outside the limited number of social organizations promoting same gender loving nudity.
Before I progress any further on this topic, I should explain or remind everyone that “Bare practitioner” is the term that I prefer to use for self-identification as well as describe who and what we are. I believe the overwhelming majority utilize the term “gay naturist/nudist.” In most social settings, sexual actions are not permitted. That’s the reason I’d much rather be a bare practitioner as opposed to gay naturist/nudist. “Gay” (unfortunately) has simply too much sexual baggage or innuendo.
There is a paucity of information available on the existence of a social nudity movement within the homosexual/same gender loving community before the June, 1969, Stonewall Inn Riots. There is no doubt individual interest in the practice, but societal norms and restrictions prevented any acknowledgment and the development of any support within our culture. Religion and society created, empowered and enabled a legal system that fanatically and zealously prohibited and severely punished any semblance of sexual deviancy.
The 1969 Stonewall Inn Riots (SIR) opened the door and introduced the concept and ideal of equality to our same gender loving clothes freedom community and culture. Soon, “homosexual rights” and “gay liberation” were prevalent and relevant themes to our growing list of actions and concerns that needed to be addressed. Our “time” in history had arrived!
July 14, annually, is observed as Bare Practitioner’s Day here on ReNude Pride. This date is also known as Gay Naturist Day, Gay Nudist Day and as Gay Naturist/Nudist Day. Just as there is no need for us to feel any disgrace or shame as being body and clothes freedom enthusiasts, there is likewise no reason to remain closeted or secretive as bisexual or same gender loving. We should all be proud of ourselves every day!
“Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start.” ~ Jason Collins ~
Jason Collins, professional basketball player (retired). Jason is the very first openly same gender loving man to play not only in the National Basketball Association (NBA) but also for any of the four professional American sports leagues. He retired from the Brooklyn Nets team in the NBA.
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Monday, July 18, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “In Memory of: E. Lynn Harris!”
June 28, 1969, is a date that has become chiseled in stone for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (GLBTQ+) people worldwide due to SIR (Stonewall Inn Riots). What happened on that night first erupted and shortly exploded into a global movement for dignity, equality and respect for GLBTQ+ persons specifically and in general, everyone. The Stonewall Inn Riots were an unplanned reaction to centuries of abuse, discrimination, intimidation, oppression and violence waged against people considered as “homosexual” (man sexuals). This protest served as a flame that quickly ignited into raging fires worldwide.
The robust and spirited social settings in the 1920’s post-Great War (World War I) era often overshadowed the climate of hatred and ridicule of the then “homosexual” (same gender loving) community. For the most part, they were largely publicly ignored. However, disdain and discrimination didn’t cease or end. It was simply temporarily replaced by the emerging “good times.”
The economic crisis and worldwide depression of the 1930’s prolonged the disregard that society held for all “homosexuals” no matter their gender. Everyone was focused on survival and the source of their next meal. Few, if any, had any curiosity, interest or time to devote to social deviants.
World War II followed the global financial situation and suddenly “homosexuality” again temporarily lost notoriety. What better way to rid humanity of this disgusting condition than to send “homosexuals” off to fight and die for freedom? The need for bodies to sacrifice trumped denying “homosexuals” the right to serve their country.
After World War II, the Cold War/Iron Curtain mentality emerged and harsh judgments on all persons and things viewed as abnormal abounded. “Homosexuals” soon became as notorious as communists as enemies of the state. Government, law enforcement, the press and society were quick to label “homosexuals” as misfits, outcasts, pariahs and perverts.
“The door of the Stonewall had wrought-iron bars across this little peephole, a little wooden thing that slid open. And the man inside would look at you and, if you looked like you belonged there, he would let you in.”
Chris Babick, describing the entrance to the Stonewall Inn, 1969
The Stonewall Inn (it was never a hotel) opened as a bar catering to the “homosexual” community in 1967. Prior to that, it had been a stable (for horses), a French bakery, a tearoom and lastly, a restaurant that had burned out of business. It opened as a bar under Mafia-affiliated management and was very connected to organized crime. The establishment consisted of two main rooms, each with its own dance floor. The front room was popular with the older clientele and the back room attracted the younger ones.
At the time of the Stonewall Inn Riots (SIR), it was unlawful for “homosexuals” to gather together in public and same gender intimacy was illegal in every state in the USA except Illinois. Same gender loving persons could and were fired from their jobs without any legal recourse. They were ridiculed and attacked publicly often without any consequence. Simply being a “homosexual” was considered an antisocial and criminal act. Everyone was required, by law, to wear clothing appropriate to their birth gender. The only exception allowed was for Halloween.
The Raid and Ensuing Riot:
Friday evening, June 27, 1969, was a hot and humid start to a weekend. Most of the patrons gathered inside the Stonewall Inn were looking forward to a night of dancing, partying with friends, relaxing with cocktails and enjoying a summer’s night in New York City. They had no idea that they were about to witness a historical event that would change their lives – and the “homosexual” world – forever.
Both the dance floors at Stonewall Inn were full of dancing “homosexual” couples. It was now after midnight and June 28, 1969, was now in its infancy. Suddenly, the surging music stopped. The lights that were dimmed to enhance the atmosphere came back on in a bight glare that caught everyone by surprise. Almost at once, the realization dawned on the festive crowd: the police were raiding the bar.
The New York City Police Department was long familiar with conducting raids on gay and lesbian bars. It was a frequent occurrence and standards rarely varied in all boroughs throughout the city. Their process was fairly routine and all officers recognized “homosexuals” as a relatively compliant and passive population. For this reason, only one police transport vehicle (paddy wagon) and one marked police squad car were involved in the raid on the Stonewall Inn. Less than a dozen officers were assigned the tasks of managing and segregating the patrons, confiscating all the alcohol and arresting the Stonewall Inn employees.
“The police weren’t letting us dance. If there’s one place in the world where you can dance and feel yourself fully as a person and that’s threatened with being taken away, those are fighting words.”
Tommy Lanigen-Schmidt, Stonewall Inn patron and riot participant
The arrival of the police raiding force caused pandemonium to erupt inside the Stonewall Inn. Customers searched in vain for an escape route or for a place to hide. Law enforcement immediately began confiscating both beer and liquor as evidence against the establishment and segregating the crowd: bar employees, cross-dressers (transgender persons) and then the “regular homosexuals.” The bar employees and the cross-dressers were to be arrested for their violating the law. The “regular homosexuals,” once they showed officers their proper identifications, were to be given citations and then permitted to leave.
The year, 1969, was at the end of a decade that had witnessed massive social unrests. The African-American struggles and protests for civil rights, the birth of the feminist and women’s rights movements, the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and the equal pay marches for primarily Latino immigrant farm workers were underway during this time. The “homosexuals” who had participated in some of these public unrests were energized and many wondered when their time for equality would happen. Little did they, and the police raiding the Stonewall Inn, realize that particular moment was actually upon them.
As the police began checking the identities of those inside the Stonewall Inn, those with proper credentials were released and herded outside the bar. Only this time, instead of simply leaving the premises, they congregated on the sidewalks and at a nearby park. Once law enforcement attempted to disperse them, they grew confrontational and belligerent.
The police, completely unaccustomed to “homosexual” defiance, continued to press the order to vacate the area. The crowd, emboldened by their frustration with being treated as “deviants” and second-class citizens, began to chant and to empty trash cans and hurl the garbage at the officers.
By this time, passers-by, curious as to what was happening, joined the vocal and upset “homosexuals” to express their dissatisfaction with the raid. The crowd outside the Stonewall Inn began to grow in number, anger and frustration. Once the word of what had transpired inside the bar began to spread, even more “homosexuals” started to descend into the neighborhood and amass in the bar’s vicinity.
“There was no gay pride before Stonewall. Only gay fear and gay isolation and gay distrust and gay self-hatred.”
Edmund White, gay author
Law enforcement, confused and distracted over the reaction to the raid, soon had a very sobering moment. The gathering outside the bar had them surrounded inside the bar with little, if any, relief in sight. Those “homosexuals” who were kept inside were fast becoming as bellicose as were those gathered outside.
By now, the police trapped inside the facility understood that the situation had gotten beyond their control. They tried to call for reinforcements but were unable to reach any source for assistance. They had secured the bar but were trapped inside and the crowd outside was swelling in both fury and size. A few hundred patrons had now grown to an angry mob of several thousand and more were joining by the minute.
“You could hear screaming outside, a lot of noise from the protesters, and it was a good sound. It was a real good sound that, you know, you had a lot of people out there pulling for you.”
Raymond Castro, a Stonewall Inn customer being detained inside the bar during its siege
No one in the New York City Police Department had anticipated the “homosexuals,” always perceived as being meek and mild, to fight back. The years of abuse, oppression and ridicule had taken its toll and the frustration now became revolution, and the time for retribution was at hand. Unfortunately for the police, the pent-up anger at law enforcement was now being released and returned in kind. The officers were now prisoners inside the Stonewall Inn.
Slightly over two hours after the raid had started, the police and their detainees were trapped in the Stonewall Inn and no relief was in sight. The two-way communication devices between the raiding party and their office weren’t working inside the bar and the only commercial phone in the facility couldn’t connect with any local police stations. The passive “homosexuals” had finally achieved a “first” in their spontaneous riot: the raiders were contained, surrounded and all very nervous. By this time, the crowd outside the Greenwich Village bar now numbered several thousand with a full-fledged riot underway.
In an effort to relieve the inflammatory predicament, the trapped police decided to send the detainees and half the officers in the two police vehicles to the closest local precinct. There, the detainees would be formally charged with arrest and the officers could make arrangements for a police riot force to assemble and rescue the remaining law enforcement personnel. This relief effort finally returned to the bar and eventually dispersed the angry crowd of “homosexuals” and curious onlookers several hours later.
Despite damage to the Stonewall Inn and the loss of the license to sell alcoholic beverages, the bar opened for business (dancing) the following night. By Saturday evening, word of the incident had spread throughout the city’s closeted “homosexual” community (primarily by word-of-mouth). A larger than usual crowd gathered both inside and outside the Greenwich Village establishment. Most didn’t expect a repeat of the raid the night before and a significant number of those present mainly wanted to inspect the damage.
The police, however, had different ideas. They were strictly outside the bar in full force with a large number in riot gear. They had learned their lesson and were determined to remain in full control should the patrons become unruly again.
The “homosexuals” had been empowered by the riot the previous evening and weren’t about to be bullied into submission again. As the large police presence attempted to disperse those gathered outside the Stonewall Inn the second night, they were confronted by verbal assaults and an array of street-savvy tactics that saw law enforcement chase off onlookers, only to have them run around the city block and return again. Silent obedience to uniformed policemen was no longer a fact of life for New York’s “homosexuals.” They were tired of suffering abuse, disrespect, ridicule and treatment as second-class citizens.
The second night of the Stonewall congregation wasn’t as disruptive as the one before. No further damage was done to the bar facility. However, an awakening consciousness was raised within the municipal “homosexual” community that would change the way society viewed them and – most importantly – the way they perceived themselves.
For the first time, the often assumed passive community stood up for their rights and demonstrated that they, as a full community, had “had enough!”
Happy Stonewall Inn Riot day!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for Thursday, June 30, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Bottoms-Up! June, 2022”