Produced in 2010, the documentary "Stonewall Uprising," a Pride Month absolute must-see, recounts the three days of riots in 1969 that followed a police raid of New York gay bar the Stonewall Inn. It also tells the story of decades of oppression of homosexuals leading up to the event.
Today, the riots are seen by many as the beginning of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
The documentary tells of a police raid on June 28, 1969, that led the gay community to stand up against their oppressors. While actual footage of the police crackdown on the Stonewall Inn is scarce, what happened is told in the film by witnesses, including a police officer who would later regret his actions that night.
The film also establishes what America was like in the 50s and 60s, and abhorrent anti-gay propaganda. At one point, the doc shows a segment hosted in 1967 by popular broadcaster Mike Wallace called "The Homosexuals," which openly declares gay people as deviants.
In similar segments, the documentary shows how the LGBTQ+ community had zero rights under the law. Same-sex intercourse at the time was illegal in 49 out of 50 states. As well, a 19thcentury statute called "Masquerade" made acts of dressing up like the opposite sex punishable by law.
By all accounts, the actual Stonewall Uprising, where the gay community said no more, and stood up to police harassment, was a pivotal event that rings through to our modern era. Over the course of three days of riots, gay people stood up in the thousands against their tormentors.
Through articulate interviews, individuals explain how equal human rights for gays at that time was unfortunately a radical notion. The "Stonewall Uprising" which rightfully demanded them is described by one interviewee as the "Rosa Parks" moment for the movement.
Pride Month Connections
The documentary is essential viewing, especially for those unaware or only slightly informed about its events, and everything that preceded them. "Stonewall Uprising" is a story that brings up disgusting discriminatory attitudes that some will see as foreign, but the history must be remembered. This isn't the distant past. In the last hundred years, and today, too, much prejudice exists. Audiences need to know what caused these protests. We are all human beings worthy of respect and equality and liberty.
Why You Should See It
If you've never heard of the "Stonewall Uprising," this must-see Pride Month documentary will be a revelation. For those familiar with the subject matter, the not-so-long-ago, legally enforced prejudices will be reminders to stay focused on advocacy.
Did You Know
Police raids of gay bars in the '60s were not an uncommon occurrence. Most of the time, the gay community accepted the raids as part of their normal everyday life. However, the 6 police-officer raid of the mob-run Stonewall Inn on June 28 arrived without advance notice. That wasn't the usual m.o. And on that night, the deviation from the usual routine was enough to say…enough is enough.
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.