HISTORY NEWS NETWORK -- Marc Stein is the Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History at San Francisco State University and the author of “The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History” (NYU Press, 2019). He wrote this essay for the History News Network.
“The Stonewall uprising was a turning point in gender and sexual activism, setting in motion a wave of demonstrations, marches, and sit-ins that changed the country and the world. But contrary to what many people believe, the rebellion was not unprecedented and it was not the first time that LGBT people fought back,” Stein writes. “Historians have now documented more than 30 direct-action protests in which LGBT activists challenged their mistreatment in the years leading up to the New York riots. And this spring, we have the opportunity to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a series of violent episodes that contributed to the anger that fueled the summer explosion.”