[EPISODE] The Stonewall Uprising and the Beginning of the Modern Gay Rights Movement
Join me for our first special episode in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the beginning of the modern gay rights movement in the United States, and the neighborhood where it took place.
My guests will be Michael Venturiello, founder and owner of Christopher Street Tours, and Stonewall veteran and longtime village resident Michael Levine.
Jeff starts out the show by talking about the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and introduces his first guest, Micheal Venturiello. The two talk about the start of gay life and gay communities before Stonewall dating back to the 1800s. Michael goes from 20s and the expression of drag in Harlem to the 40s and 50s to when President Esienhower made in clear in writing that the queer community could be discriminated against. Michael discusses gay advocacy and gay bars before Stonewall, and the power of being in a public place.
Michael starts this segment by talking about the types of tours they offer at Christopher Street Tours. Michael continues by talking about the night of Stonewall and why the gay community felt 1969 was the time for their uprising. Michael and Jeff talk about LGBTQ life in the village before the 6 nights of Stonewall. Michael talks about the way that several LGBTQ organizations started up because they were inspired by New York. Michael tells of how the LBGTQ community has changed through the years.
Jeff kicks off this segment by introducing his second guest Michael Levine. Michael talks about his move to Manhattan in 1967 and his start in urban planning. Jeff and Michael talk about Michael being closeted at work and his first few nights going into Stonewall. Micheal remembers his nights at Stonewall very fondly and talks about the “urban legend” that was the death of Judy Garland causing part of the riots.
Michael talks about the actual night of Stonewall and how it started for him as a date. Michael continues about the moment the police showed up at the bar and his main fear of being discovered as a gay man. He notes the main difference of this raid from others– people weren’t leaving, and instead decided to dance in the street. Michael discusses night three, which was the first night the tactical police force showed up and news hit the papers. Michael tells Jeff how Stonewall truly affected his life positively, made him proud, and made him no longer a closeted gay man.