The Stonewall rebellion marked the start of the contemporary LGBTQ civil rights movement. This entry discusses the historical context for the rebellion and how it established the groundwork for a political movement that continues to this day.


During the 1950s and 1960s, nonheterosexual orientations and gender nonconformity were crimes in the United States. Such legal stigma drove many LGBTQ into the closet, where they would hide their identities from others, particularly from colleagues at work but also from their families of origin. Some of the places where LGBTQ people might be able to congregate were the unofficial gay bars. Unfortunately, given the criminal status of LGBTQ people, many bars were targets by the local police. What typically happened when a gay bar was raided was that ...

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