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The Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the LGBT+ rights movement, pleads for help as it ‘struggles’ for survival

Lily Wakefield June 24, 2020
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The Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 riots that fuelled the modern LGBT+ rights movement. (Angela Weiss / AFP)

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to save the historic Stonewall Inn, where the modern LGBT+ rights movement began, as it struggles during the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2016, the Stonewall Inn became the first LGBT+ national monument in America, honouring its unique part in the history of the LGBT+ rights movement.

But, after being shut down for three months, the historic New York venue is struggling.

The venue said that because of its “uncertain future” it was desperately in need of “community support” to  “help to save one of the LGBTQ+ communities most iconic institutions and to keep that history alive”.

Organisers have launched two crowdfunding campaigns — one which aims to raise $50,000 to support keeping the venue open, and another working to raise $60,000 for the Stonewall Inn staff who are out of work during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, owners said: “We are reaching out because like many families and small businesses around the world, The Stonewall Inn is struggling… Even in the best of times it can be difficult to survive as a small business and we now face an uncertain future.

“Even once we reopen, it will likely be under greatly restricted conditions limiting our business activities.”

They added: “We resurrected the Stonewall Inn once after it had been shuttered – and we stand ready to do it again – with your help.

“We worked diligently to resurrect it as a safe space for the community and to keep the Stonewall Inn at the epicentre of the fight for the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

June is recognised around the world as LGBT+ Pride month, dating back to the Stonewall uprising of June 28, 1969.

That night, approximately 200 queer folk, among them trans women, lesbians, gay men, drag queens and queer youths, largely of colour, had gathered in the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City.

At the time, police in New York were cracking down on the city’s queer venues, but that night the LGBT+ community fought back, fuelling the queer rights movement we know today.

The Inn’s owners added: “It has been a community tavern, but also a vehicle to continue the fight that started there in 1969.

“Stonewall is the place the community gathers for celebrations, comes to grieve in times of tragedy, and rally to continue the fight for full global equality.”

 

More: coronavirus pandemic, Greenwich Village, New York, Stonewall Inn, stonewall riots, stonewall uprising

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