— NationalParkService (@NatlParkService) June 24, 2016
Finally, after so many years, The Stonewall Inn has officially been recognized by the White House and the National Park Service as a national monument. This announcement comes as we’re about to head into Pride weekend. Stonewall is the latest in a line of 121 sites considered national monuments in the United States, and the first whose history is directly linked to LGBTQIA history. The primary benefit of being named a national monument is that the chosen site will be preserved as it stands for as long as humanly possible in order to provide a glimpse into the history of our country. That is, of course, how a monument works.
It’s particularly significant here because even though you and I both know that LGBTQIA history is a major part of this country’s history, this gesture by President Obama on behalf of the White House cements how critical and important the works of trans women like Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera are.
For those of you unaware: The Stonewall Inn is culturally significant as it is the site of where the Stonewall riots began. In 1969, as police tried to raid the Stonewall Inn, members of the LGBTQIA community revolted, fighting back against the police, who at the time represented the strongly anti-gay political climate of the time. These riots are widely cited as the beginning of the gay rights movement as we know it today.
It’s kind of interesting to think that this was a place that the government once wished didn’t exist; now here it is, offering it protection. The movement for the rights of LGBTQIA people has indeed come a long way, to be sure, but there’s still a long way to go yet. All the same: happy Pride weekend, everyone. Enjoy the lovely celebration.
Now if only we could get them to change Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall, we’d be sitting pretty.
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