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Stonewall 40th Anniversary
By Howie Holben Published: 01/13/2010
Forty years ago this June, the Stonewall Riots happened in New York City. Police raided a bar in New York City's Greenwich Village named the Stonewall Inn. Homosexual gathering place raids were common in the 1950's and 1960's and persecution of homosexuals were a fact of the times.
The police got quite a surprise when they raided the Stonewall Inn on June 27, 1969. This time instead of just running or hiding, the patrons of the bar, joined by many others, stood their ground. Standing outside the bar, the crowd began yelling and soon began throwing bottles and trash cans at the police. The Stonewall Riots have become known as the first time gay people fought back as a group against their persecution.
Several people were arrested, some were injured and some police were also hurt. The riots were repeated the next night with even a larger number of people participating in the revolt. The Riot Squad needed to be called in to bring it to an end; the Gay Rights movement had begun.
In the years since the Stonewall Riots, the LGBT community has come a tremendous distance in the fight for our equal rights and acceptance. We have fought hard to become accepted by, and even welcomed into, our neighborhoods. We have spent years showing the world that we are no different than anyone else. And the efforts have paid off immensely.
We are now represented, mostly positively, on TV shows and in movies. We have almost come to expect there to be (http://www.spiritjourneys.com) gay couples in a new TV show or in a movie. Domestic partners are now recognized at many companies and cities. At the state level, domestic partners, civil unions and even marriage has been legalized. Advertisers now direct marketing directly to the LGBT community.
This does not mean that our work for acceptance is at an end. Homophobia still exists not only in the United States, but also in countries all over the planet. Gay teenagers still kill themselves and gay hate crimes are even on the rise. We still have ignorance and hatred to overcome.
We have made great efforts to be accepted and to show the world that we are no different than anyone else. But the fact is we were Created different from most other people and in our Creation we were given talents and gifts to offer the world. Let us not hide these talents and gifts.
Being gay, we walk between the worlds of typical male or female gender roles. We are more keenly aware of both our masculine and feminine attributes. This awareness allows us to more easily see, and be open to, many aspects of life that others cannot see. Thus, many of us are known as being unifiers; people with the ability to bridge gaps between others and heal relationships of all kinds. Walking between worlds can also make us more receptive to the "unseen" things in life and we become healers and shamans.
We are known to be intensely creative and many of us are involved in the arts. We are musicians, dancers, poets, singers, teachers, painters, song writers, actors, and yes, hair stylists and fashion designers! We are also world class athletes and Nobel Prize scientists. There seems to be an innate need in us to "give back", to help others and in general make the world a better place for everyone.
I love the following quote from Marianne Williamson. Even though it is not directly addressed to the gay community, I think it speaks deeply to the gay experience of hiding ourselves and our gifts from the world:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
So, let us acknowledge and celebrate our differences. Every person on this earth is different; there are no two of us that are exactly alike. All people, gay and straight, and no matter what skin color or religious beliefs, have been given talents and gifts unique to them. Let us all shine together. - 28385