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Teenager smashes window of LGBT rights landmark Stonewall Inn

Ella Braidwood July 9, 2018

Wood marched at gay rights protests, years before the Stonewall Riots in 1969. (Creative Commons)

A teenager has reportedly been charged with smashing the iconic front window and neon sign of the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City, widely regarded as the birthplace of the gay liberation movement.

William Gomez, 19, from Coney Island, allegedly vandalised the gay bar with a baseball bat at around 4am on Saturday morning after being kicked out, reports the New York Post. 

He caused about $6,800 worth of damage to the property in Greenwich Village, according to police.

The 19-year old has been charged with criminal mischief, criminal possession of a weapon, and reckless endangerment.

However, the incident is not being treated as a hate crime.

The New York Post reports that Gomez was arrested in October over an assault in Brooklyn.

Both the window and the neon sign have reportedly now been repaired.

Stonewall Inn is often regarded as the birthplace of the gay rights movement.

Former US president Barack Obama designated Stonewall Inn as a National Monument in 2016, saying: “Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights.”

The status of the site looked to be threatened by President Donald Trump, when he announced a “review” of national monuments designated by Obama – however, it was later revealed that the bar would be exempted from this revision. 

Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, who led the Stonewall riots in June 1969. (Netflix)

The gay bar played a key role in LGBT history as the location of a series of riots in June 1969 by members of the community in response to a police raid.

Led by prominent activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who were gender non-conforming, the riots sparked an entire civil rights movement, and are the reason Pride Month is celebrated in June.

Some of the first Pride marches began on the anniversary of the riots in 1970, and in many countries Prides are still often known as Christopher Street Day Parades in honour of the pub’s location.

More: New York, Stonewall Inn, US, USA

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