Let us be inspired by the Stonewall Riots

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46 years and 2 months ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

Six years later, on June 28, 1969, gays and lesbians in New York City heeded those words in an uprising that would be known as the Stonewall Riots.

For the first time, the queer community fought back against the persecution by the government and law enforcement.  Though perhaps not as eloquent as Dr. King, an anonymous participant in the riots remarked:

When did you ever see a fag fight back?… Now, times were a-changin’. Tuesday night was the last night for bullshit…. Predominantly, the theme (w)as, “this shit has got to stop!”

40 years later, the times are still a-changin… and the shit, as it were, has not stopped.  We still sit around and we wait.  We wait for our rights to be handed to us.  We are expected to trust Obama and those who supposedly favor our interests, despite the lack of progress we continue to see.

Let us remember those that said enough is enough.  Let us put our words into action and demand that we be treated respectfully for who we are as a community.  Let us work to educate and resist religious intolerance so that others might better appreciate the very nature of our lives.

I see no point in waiting any longer.

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