Project Description

The struggle for LGBT rights that began with Stonewall is still happening.  Many still remember the historic event that took place in Greenwich Village on June 28, 1969.  New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan.

According to police, the bar didn’t have the necessary license to sell alcohol. But the frequent police raids leading up to that night suggested a pattern of discrimination and persecution. This raid – and the patrons’ resistance to it – laid the groundwork for one of the most important movements of the LGBT civil rights in the United States.

In November of the same year, at the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) meeting in Philadelphia, Sargent Roswell, Ellen Broidy, and Linda Rhodes organized the first march in NYC evoking people to understand the struggles LGBT people were – and still are – going through and to advocate for the fundamental rights of the gay community.

On that same weekend of November, people from many cities organized marches with the same goal, creating much greater awareness of gay rights and a sense of unity for the growing gay liberation movement.

Although 48 years have passed since that historic event at the Stonewall Inn, the struggle for gay rights still continues.
Members of the LGBT community are still attacked and killed, and the worst part is that many governments and churches still endorse discrimination.

Conservative groups misinform their members on the meaning or the reason of the marches, pointing out the outfits worn or the behavior. They question the word “pride” forgetting that the word encompasses equity, equality and freedom.

In May 2017, the World Congress united worldwide in protest marches against homophobia in Chechnya and against Putin’s anti-gay politics.  But on a positive note, there are also communities where people know that gay people are more than just their sexual orientation, and where diversity is encouraged and respected.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against the Russian gay propaganda. Everyone – except for the Russian judge – voted that Putin’s law is discriminatory, ordering Russia to pay to each of the activists the amounts of €8,000 to €20,000 in damages.

We also see more and more open gay people in politics such as the nomination for Prime Minister of Ana Brnabic in Serbia, Leo Varadkar in Ireland or the introduction of Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Battel’s husband, who was the first gay partner to be introduced as his official partner, becoming the first first gentleman.  Also, in New York, Paul G. Feinman will take the seat as the first openly gay judge on the New York Court of Appeals.

On a darker note, in a country where the motto is “free speech” and “the land of the free”, three members of the Jewish LGBT community were ostracized in the Chicago’s Dyke March due to their rainbow Star of David flag.  They were told the march was pro-Palestinian, and that their flag made other marchers feel unsafe. They were asked to put it away or to kindly leave the march.  It is sad to see and hear, that religious discrimination still exists within our LGBT community.

The Chicago march and its organizers seem to forget that Jewish LGBT people have advocated for inclusion in Islamic countries, and have fought and given shelter in Israel to people fleeing homophobic persecution in Islamic countries.
This should be a united front, where our differences in culture and customs are our strongest asset. How can we ask of the world equality and respect if we don’t respect each other?

– Alicia Ronay is currently living in Mexico City. She is a part of Guimel, the LGBT Jewish group there. She volunteers on the Steering Committee of the World Congress of GLBT Jews