On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, and the patrons fought back.
To understand the magnitude of this event, one must understand the social conditions that the LGBTQ+ community had been living under prior to this evening. Very few public businesses welcomed openly queer patrons, and those that did were often the site of police raids, vandalism, and ridicule. The community at the time lived in fear and persecution, with even the accusation that one was in the LGBTQ+ community was enough for one to lose friends, jobs, everything.
We are very lucky to be living in a time when people, such as myself, can live their lives openly and with less fear (though not quite “none”) as before. Since the riots, we have seen a push for protections in the workplace, legal rights for adoption, and the rights of marriage (I happily married my husband in 2011, though we still count ourselves as being together since our first date, 22 years ago on the day of this writing). There are many victories that have been hard won, both large and small.
But, we still have a long way to go.
Everyday, countless members of the LGBTQ+ community are harassed, marginalized, and attacked or killed for living their true selves. We must remain vigilant. My hope is that one day, we, as a human race, truly see that we are all one heart, one soul, one love.
Lastly, I want to thank Chris Green and the LGBA Band Association, The Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band, the Tampa Bay Pride
Band, and the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble for trusting me with this commission, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the day that Marsha P. Johnson broke a mirror and, thus, a ceiling for all of us. If someone tries to make you feel ashamed of yourself, as Marsha would say, “Pay it no mind.”
Peace, Love, and Music.