SIR: 1969! Stonewall Inn Riots!

Rainbow clenched fist: power!

Introduction:

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 Stonewall Inn, circa 1969!

Background:

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.

Belligerent stance!

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 Stonewall Riots: actual photographs!

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.

Stonewall Inn and sidewalk at night!

“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.

Pride!

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!

Naked hugs!

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”

Reference Sources:

Ann Bausman: Breaking Out for Gay Rights

Martin P. Duberman: Stonewall: A History

Image Sources:

Historic photographs: Google Images

Pride Time!

Paul: halfway to destiny!

Paul is the older brother of Aaron – my spouse. Paul is also a practicing Roman Catholic and was born almost three years before Aaron. While an early adolescent, my Aaron was exploring both his nudity and his sexuality, Paul continued to adhere to the dogma endorsed and taught by his church.

By the time that Aaron reached his fifteenth birthday, he had already accepted and announced to his family and close friends that he was gay. Just prior to his high school (secondary) graduation, he disclosed his preference for social nudity. Paul remained comfortable and compliant in his religious exercise.

Relaxation!

When marriage equality became legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2014, Paul had already “come-out” as bisexual to Aaron and I. Once that was accomplished, he gradually began attending clothing optional gatherings with us. Just prior to our actual marriage (August 15, 2015), Paul acknowledged his comfort with his public nakedness (social nudity) and amended his sexuality status to exclusively same gender loving.

For the past several years, Paul has lived with the same partner, named Sudhir. Together, they’ve created a very informal bare practitioner community near where they live in the western part of this state. Now that the coronavirus COVID-19 seems to be in recession, they’re planning their first potluck pride picnic on land owned by an acquaintance they share.

Skinny-dipping!

Aaron and I are leaving Arlington tomorrow and going to visit them and be with them as they host this Pride social event. The owner has a small lake on the property so, weather permitting, we can all skinny-dip and picnic while we socialize together. It should be a summer fun-time (hopefully) for us all!

Please refer to the author’s note below for the next publication date here!

Take care and stay bare!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Monday, June 27, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “National HIV Testing Day!”

Deaf Pride!

“I Love You” handsign body painted on his bare chest!

My brother, Alex, and I are monozygotic (identical) twins. We were both conceived of the same egg inside our mother’s womb. We share all the same physical characteristics, including our DNA. We’re both ardent and enthusiastic bare practitioners. In fact, the only distinguishing physical difference between us are our fingerprints. We are both Deaf from birth.

Even our sign language (manual communication) skills are, for all intents and purposes, identical. Whether interacting in American Sign Language (ASL), Canadian Sign Language (CSL) or Greek Sign Language (GSL) – our primary language – our hand-shapes, rhythm and speed reflect minimal variation. The only discrepancy appears when professional concerns or issues transpire.

Our Deafness, along with our same gender loving nature and our preference for living bare, is a part of what makes us unique. Surprisingly for some people, it does not cause us embarrassment or shame. It is also a trait that we share with others throughout the world. It is most definitely not a reason to run and hide from others nor to deny it in any way.

Me sharing the “I Love You” handsign totally natural!

Alex and I both recall the times that while at university, we seemed to create confusion and chaos when others learned that were both gay and nudists. Many seemed to wonder how we, being Deaf, could be publicly naked. (Interesting question: all you need to do is to remove clothing)!

Others were even more obsessed with the fact that as Deaf men, how did we know that we were gay. (I guess Deaf men are completely unaware of their individual physical attraction)!

Obviously, the notion that whatever inspires the hearing population is totally useless within the Deaf community never entered their minds. After all, it is simply a much too defiant and radical concept! How can it be possible for the Deaf and the hearing to be influenced in the same way?

Deaf pride: personified!

We may have divergent methods of communication; but the emotions and feelings have very little variance. What works well for one world generally does the same for another. After all, we are all human!

Naked hugs!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Tuesday, June 21, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Summer, 2022!”

Bare Practitioner Pride!

Bare Practitioners Trail entrance!

As bare practitioners (same gender loving naturists/nudists) we wholeheartedly embrace, encourage and endorse the following character traits of our community and our culture:

Acceptance: of our body and clothes freedom nature and our sexuality.

Belief: in our inalienable and natural right to determine and to be ourselves.

Confidence: in all of us to be what and who we basically and honestly are without any apology, guilt or shame.

Dedication: in advocating and supporting these principles for everyone, no matter who they are and where they live.

Pride: our shining star!

As bare practitioners we all know that we are entitled to and experience our pride throughout the entire year. Confidence and self-expression are not limited and/or restricted to just the month of June, annually. Pride month is when we, as both a community and a culture, remind the the rest of humanity of who we all are and to celebrate our collective accomplishments and achievements! This is the time of the year for all of us to join together in celebrating, demonstrating, exhibiting, representing, sharing and showing our confidence and pride in being ourselves!

Unknowingly for many but consciously for a few, our pride in ourselves as bare practitioners casts us into the status of role model. Unwittingly, countless numbers of others exploring our community and culture may look upon each one of us as an example – a role model – of a life they find appealing. We may never be aware of this service to others. Simply being who and what we truly are often can and does inspire other.

Back-up plans!

As an accidental as well as an unintentional bare practitioner example, our “option for action” is to continue to live our life. Our nakedness and our sexuality combined have determined us as “unique.” This uniqueness, in turn, awarded us the unsolicited position of role model to anyone observing our community and our culture.

If someone is curious about our lifestyle as same gender loving and as a naturist/nudist, we should all strive to be as welcoming as possible and reply to their questions. It is also beneficial to know someone of our community who is very receptive and has the dedication and the patience to spend with those seeking knowledge of our lives. The vast majority of us can recall our own exploration of the community and what proved helpful and informative for us.

Coming together as a community!

When Alex, my identical twin brother, and I first began exploring the openly nude skinny-dipping riverside site in the city where we grew up, we were the youngest there in a group of primarily university ages and older. As we are both Deaf, no one around seemed bothered by reading our questions and writing their answers. The major problem for all of us seemed to be reading the handwriting! All the guys there were patient and ready to respond. No one appeared to resent our “joining” their beach!

Bottoms-up!

Twin and I always remembered to thank our role models for both their patience and their tolerance. We had already acknowledged our sexuality so the majority of our questions regarded interacting among the same gender loving (gay) nude community. There were two of so, so we were often laughed at as being the groups “class.” Neither of us are able to recall if any of our “tutors” had shared with us their major as being education.

As bare practitioners, we recognize the importance of our service as role-models. In order for future generations of bare practitioners to be happy and succeed, it is our duty to explain and represent our community and culture as best as possible. Our level of comfort in being a role-model often is seen by others as a determination of our dedication to our lifestyle. Nothing could be further from the truth. The personal interaction between role-model and the person we’re mentoring is often the determining factor as to level of comfort.

All of us, as either role-model or as the one being tutored, cooperating together for our common good are making for a better and stronger bare practitioner movement, a community and culture based on confidence and pride!

Naked hugs!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for Monday, June 13, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “World Naked Bike Ride Pride!”

Photo-Essay: Pride!

Celebration!

June, 2022: A month to celebrate ourselves!

The gentlemen above attempt some genital modesty with the traditional rainbow flag that for many years represented GLBTQ+ pride!

The colors and the symbolism of the traditional rainbow flag. Many complaints were received because the diversity of the GLBTQ+ community wasn’t reflected.

Traditional rainbow flag with two gay men emblems!

The customary “header” for my Pride month post entry. On the rainbow flag he’s holding are emblems representing two gay men together. I used this image for my initial A Guy Without Boxers site as well as here on ReNude Pride.

Daymin Voss (left) kisses Beaux Banks.

Same gender love (SGL) at the very best! Daymin Voss (left) passionately kissing his fellow SGL actor, Beaux Banks! A foreplay scene from their film: Vice!

Self-explanatory logo!

ReNude Pride observes GLBTQ+ pride month and bare pride month simultaneously. I did the same when publishing A Guy Without Boxers. The Stonewall Inn Riots happened on the night of June 28, 1969.

We can all follow adult SGL film legend Francois Sagat’s example and “strip off” our clothes for the entire month of June. Pride with absolutely nothing to hide!

A nocturnal dive!

While we’re all bare, we can take advantage and skinny-dip dive into the pool! Every effort earns a reward!

“Pride is the confidence, contentment, joy and satisfaction that we feel being the real and true person that we are!” ~ Roger Peterson-Poladopoulos ~ June 1, 2022

Compiling pride!

Our confidence and pride extends to ourselves, our community and all of humanity. We are not limited in what we attempt to accomplish. Working together, we achieve our goals!

Our pride: our Progress flag!

Our pride commemorates the challenges we have overcome and the lessons we have learned. It includes the pain we have felt, the lives we have lost and the grief that we have mourned. Our successes and triumphs are celebrated and cherished.

Our pride continues forward! The Progress flag (image above) is our new banner that incorporates our collective past and our hope for the future. It retains a part of our rainbow heritage and elements of our progression into acceptance, diversity, equality, inclusion and respect!

Happy nakedness and pride to everyone, every day of the entire year!

Naked hugs!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post entry planned for here is for Friday, June 3, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “World Naked Bike Ride!”

June Gallery: Bare Pride Month

The Stonewall Inn riots happened in New York City during June, 1969 – for many gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) people, that event led to the modern growing trend towards the equality of GLBTQ populations all over the world. Although many of our community are still awaiting for their complete freedom from oppression, the New York City riots indeed created a recognition of our struggle for human rights. The”rainbow flag” is considered by all to represent our struggle.

Continue reading June Gallery: Bare Pride Month

Friday Footnote: GLBTQ Proud Veteran

I remember the day well. It was December, 2010, and the breaking news of the day was that then-President Barack Obama, the 44th president of the USA, had just signed an important piece of historical legislation. When his signature was affixed to the act, the centuries-old ban of allowing gays, lesbians and bisexuals to openly serve in the U. S. military forces was officially ended. Keeping to his campaign promise, President Obama put an end to another chapter in government sanctioned discrimination.

Continue reading Friday Footnote: GLBTQ Proud Veteran