such nice thoughts, donna. you're a dear
What I love about the Stonewall riots (aside from the whole start of the movement, standing up for their rights, etc), is that it was a basically it was a bunch of drag queens that fought back That'll teach 'em to think of 'em as nothin' but nelly queens
For those that dont know, Stonewall Inn was a dingy, Mafia-run "private club" on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village with a predominantly gay clientele. Because it was illegal to serve alcohol to homosexuals, the police would often come in and shake the bar down for $, arrest those not dressed in attire suitable for their gender, collect names of others and then publish them in the newspaper, etc. This particular night, they arrested three of the 'girls' and the bar staff. When that happened, pandemonium erupted. Which, arrests had happened in the past, but this night (perhaps because of Judy Garland dying the night before, perhaps because of simply being 'tired', perhaps because the raids usually happened in the early evening, thus allowing the bar to get back to business as usual but on this night it was late at night, perhaps because of the particular individuals that were arrested that night, or perhaps all of the above), they fought back.
During the melee, the police retreated into the bar for safety, so the angry crowd used a parking meter as a battering ram on the door of the bar, while another part of the crowd tried to set the bar on fire.
Throughout the night, police all the around the area often singled out gay men and beat them. While only 13 people were arrested the first night, it's estimated that as many as 2,000 did battle with over 400 officers.
Rioting and protests continued for 5 days (with most being the first two nights and then again on the 5th night) and started what we now know today as the gay revolution.
Some stories say it happened on the first night, others say it happened on the second night, but regardless, at one point out in the street, in front of the ravaged bar, there was a chorus line of queens, out in the street facing off with the Tactical Patrol Force (riot police), kicking their legs up and singing:
We are the Stonewall girls
We wear our hair in curls
We have no underwear
We show our pubic hair
We wear our dungarees
Above our nelly knees!