Interactive Stonewall Monument Shines a Light on LGBTQ History
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of protests led by members of the LGBT activist community in response to police raiding the Greenwich Village, New York, gay bar the Stonewall Inn. In the intervening years, “Stonewall” has become shorthand for a turning point in the battle for LGBTQ rights, a moment when an entire community rose up to demand an end to anti-gay discrimination.
In honor of the anniversary — and of the World Pride parade, which is being held in New York later this month — the city’s LGBT Community Center and Google.org have partnered to create Stonewall Forever, an interactive Stonewall monument highlighting the individual stories and memories of LGBT activists throughout the past 50 years. The interactive monument, which walks visitors though the history of the gay pride movement, allows people anywhere in the world to visit the historic site; most notably, it features archival images from LGBT history and interviews with prominent LGBT activists like Melissa Sklarz and Dick Leitsch. The interviews trace the trajectory of LGBT history in New York from the early days of the Mattachine Society, a pre-Stonewall gay rights group founded in 1950, to the pre-Stonewall rebellions at various gay bars throughout the United States, such as the 1967 Black Cat tavern protests in Los Angeles, through the first years of Pride, and into the modern LGBTQ movement. Visitors can also contribute their own memories or testimonials to the website.
The collaboration, which was the result of a $1.5 million Google.org grant to the LGBT Community Center, is intended to “broaden the story of the Stonewall Riots and provide a richer, more diverse narrative about one of the most influential events in the fight for LGBTQ equality,” said Glennda Testone, executive director of the Center, including the voices of people of color and those from the transgender community. It’s one of a number of pro-LGBT rights initiatives on behalf of the giant tech platform: in 2012, for instance, Google spearheaded a Legalize Love campaign, which advocated for marriage equality and prompted a call for a boycott from the the right-wing American Family Association.
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