Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising at Rally Tonight in NYC

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Photo Credit CNN

Tonight from 6pm to 9pm, WorldPrideNYC is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising with a rally at Christopher Street and Waverly Place in downtown Manhattan, near the historical landmark of Stonewall Inn.

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People gather near the Stonewall Inn Thursday, June 27, 2019, in New York. The original Stonewall Inn didn’t survive the 1969 police raid and riots that made it famous as a birthplace of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, but the current version will be a focal point of this week’s celebrations marking the uprising’s 50th anniversary. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

On June 28th, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was subject to a police raid, not an uncommon occurrence at bars — especially bars where the patrons were LGBTQ; in a nutshell, if a bar failed to give corrupt police their “dues,” the bar was raided. The evening of the Stonewall Uprising, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn acted together to resist the police, an act that ultimately was quashed law enforcement… until the next evening when the community began to stage rallies outside of Stonewall Inn. These rallies grew into what became the first “Gay Power” rally at Washington Park nearby, a month after the uprising, and a full-on Pride march a year after the incident. 

Stonewall riots 1969
Grey Villet/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

This year’s rally, as always, is free of charge and open to people of all walks of life. Barbara Poma, the owner of Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, is a featured speaker of the rally. This June marks the third anniversary of the mass shooting that took the lives of 49 people. Since the tragedy, Poma has become an especially active advocate for the LGBTQ community. She founded the non-profit onePULSE Foundation to memorialize the lives lost in the shooting through events, scholarships, education, and a brick-and-mortar museum and memorial. 

Harnaam Kaur is also a featured speaker. The proud owner of a jet-black beard, the offshoot of having polycystic ovaries, Kaur has embraced her unique gift as a “bearded lady” and become one of the most recognizable and inspirational figures in body positivity. “I live by the phrase ‘My body, my rules.’ If keeping your hair makes you uncomfortable or depressed, then get rid of it; otherwise, if you’ve got it, rock it,” she told The Guardian in 2016. She shared with the paper that she doesn’t believe in gender as we known it; rather, she has put herself forth as a model and advocate who wants to show the world that our physical attributes and sex organs don’t actually define who we are.

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Photo Credit FB Harnaam Kaur – @catalinababs

New York City is jam-packed with Pride events all weekend leading up to the big NYC Pride March and World Pride 2019 party on Sunday, June 30th. The march is free, of course, and will be led by some of the cast members of Pose, including Indya Moore, MJ Rodriguez, and Dominique Jackson. The Trevor Project and the Gay Liberation Front will also be represented as grand marshals; as well as Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, the founder of UK Black Pride which celebrates and supports the black and brown members of the LBGTQ community of the United Kingdom; and Monica Helms, a transgender activist and military vet who created the Transgender Pride Flag 20 years ago. 

And in case you forgot, Madonna is headlining at World Pride on Pride Island aka Pier 97 on Sunday evening. The musician released her single “God Control” earlier this week, a track whose lyrics and new music video pay homage to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.