There Wouldn’t be Pride without the Stonewall Riots

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While we celebrate June for pride month it’s important to remember where we came from and those who have fought for the freedoms we have today, including the activists who continue to fight today. Some people question why there is a need for a gay pride and I have to respond why not? In reality that answer is much deeper. When you are an oppressed class of society safety is huge and the way you get that is to find your own tribe. Being LGBTQ it’s sometimes tough to find others like you, other than online or in the bars. Pride offers another venue to connect to others but also celebrate who we are and the strides we’ve made. It’s also to show that more work needs to be done, to advocate for change. More importantly it’s to honor those before us who have paid our way to where we are today, as we are doing for future LGBTQ generations. There is so much work left to be done in terms of LGBTQ equality. LGBTQ pride is not only a celebration but a declaration that our community isn’t going anywhere. We have fought with blood, sweat and tears for the rights we have today, and we refuse to let anyone take them away. We also stand up for those who are having to endure hate and discrimination currently. So many LGBTQ people live in hiding in fear of rejection, hate and harm, including murder for many. Until all of the LGBTQ is free, none of us really are. It’s important to stand up and fight for those who aren’t able to, in the hopes that one day they will have the courage to do the same.

Many people don’t realize that pride started from the Stonewall Riots. It was the inciting incident for LGBTQ equality and June is Pride month because of Stonewall. The Stonewall riots were a series of demonstrations by the members of the LGBT community in New York city. The demonstrations were against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn that was in Greenwich Village of NYC. It is well know that these events led to the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the fight for LGBTQ rights in the USA.

Gay people weren’t accepted in most establishments the 1950’s and 1960’s. During this time the LGBTQ community faced an anti-gay legal system. Many anti-gay groups in the United States were out to prove that gay people couldn’t be integrated into society. Various social and political movements in the late 1960s like the civil right and anti-Vietnam War movement server as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.

The Stonewall Inn was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, African Americans, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth. These marginalized groups were at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots. The raids by the NYC police department were routine in the 1960s. The police’s treatment of the Stonewall Inn and the LGBTQ partons inside the club was the inciting incident that incited the riots. The gay residents of Greenwich Village organized into activist groups who sought to establish places for the LGBTQ to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested.

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Martha P. Johnson was an outspoken advocate for trans people of color. She played a large role in the Stonewall Riots and co-founded the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR) alone with Sylvia Rivera, a group committed to helping homeless transgender youth in New York City. Martha found joy as a drag queen amidst the nightlife of Christopher Street. She designed all her own costumes and quickly became a prominet fixture in the LGBTQ community serving as a drag mother by helping homeless and struggling LGBTQ youth. She also traveled the world as a successful drag queen with Hot Peaches. Martha was known for her outlandish hats and glamorous jewlrey. She was fearless and bold. Often times people would as Martha what the “P” in her name stood for, to which she replied “pay it no mind.”

Tragically, at the age of 46, Martha’s body was found in the Hudson River. Her death was ruled as a suicide, despite claims from her friends and other members of the local LGBTQ community that she was not suicidal. The New York City Anti-Violence Project has re-opened this investigation. In 2015, The Marsha P. Johnson Institute was established. Its mission is to defend and protect the human rights of transgender and gender nonconforming communities.

Marsha P. Johnson Photo

Even after the Stonewall riots, the LGBTQ community in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Six months later, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for the LGBTQ community. Over the next few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the United States the and the world. The first gay pride marches took place in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago on June 28, 1970. They commemorated the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were in other cities. In 2016, the Stonewall Inn was honored as a national monument. So it’s important that remember the activists who sacrificed so much in order for equality.

It feels strange looking at pride differently as in the past when I identified as a gay male. Now that I realize I’m transgender pride has taken on a new meaning. Though until I can transition more it won’t feel as natural or satisfying. I still look mostly male especially because I have a beard for the homeless shelter. I still remember my first gay pride. It was at the Lansing (Michigan) gay pride when I was in my early 20’s. I don’t think I have ever felt more free and accepted in a group before. It was sea upon sea of the rainbows. This was back during my dancing days so of course I went to the pride dance that night at the Paradise nightclub in downtown Lansing. I loved that place. They had a huge dance floor and my favorite thing was their gogo cage that they had. Most of my time was spent in that cage whenever I danced there. Sadly it closed years ago. Lot’s of great memories that I will not ever forget.

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I organized and MC’ed the Join the Impact rally in Columbus, Ohio on Nov 7, 2008. Which were rallies held across America and the world in response to Proposition 8 (which legalized same sex marriage) being overturned in California.

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This is me at the National Equality March in ‎October 11, 2009. 

I have also been to some bigger city prides, which are fantastic and so much fun. My first one was when I was living in Chicago. Their parade was massive and went through boystown and parts of downtown. There were spectators all over. One of the years I rode on a double decker bus, on the top level. It was so much fun. They also had a festival with entertainment. I love the big city prides because usually it’s a week full of pride events leading up to the actual day. Columbus, Ohio really knows how to pride it up. One of my favorite drag queens Nina West always holds a pride drag show the week before. There are various other drag shows and other events prior.

Their festival is massive, taking over a whole park. There are lots of vendors and fun things to buy. They also have multiple stages for various live acts. My favorite part of pride weekend is on Sunday when they have their annual fundraiser Bat n’ Rouge. The Columbus Lesbian and Gay Softball Association raise money for various LGBTQ non-profits around the area. The best part of it is that the players dress up usually in drag as various celebrities and characters. It’s a lot of fun. Their tag line is that it’s the only time softball is a drag. 🙂

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One of my favorite parts is there are cheerleaders for both time, many of them are drag queens. Hygiene’s and Monistat’s are always a hoot to watch as they usually are up to no good. Columbus is one of the cities I miss the most and it’s due in part to Bat’n’Rouge and Pride. I really miss Bat’n’Rouge it’s just a blast and fun to hang out with friends while you eat and drink. One year I worked the beer tent for charity. Over 2k people show up each year, they even have tents that you can rent out.

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Me during Bat’n’Rouge 2009

One trend lately that I’ve struggled to accept is requiring an entrance fee to the festivals. It’s the one place many people have to be accepted and around those like them. Teenagers are one prime example and many of them couldn’t afford the money, so they would miss out. We should rob anyone of pride. I get that the organizations need to pay for the costs of running an event such as this but there should be something in place in case people won’t able to pay.

While we do finally have marriage equality we still have so far to come. For so many LGBTQ people grow up in areas that aren’t accepting. Children and Adults are still being rejected for being different. Things are better for many but not all. The one nice thing about the popularity lately with pride events is that smaller cities and towns are holding their own. Yonkers Pride in Yonkers, NY just had their first pride this past weekend. The cities population is over 200k. There are also other LGBTQ pride events across the globe, even in places like Russia where it’s dangerous to be out of the closet. Even though we have marriage equality gay people still can be fired from their jobs or losing housing.

The transgender community lately has been getting hit the hardest in terms of discrimination from the Trump administration rolling back the protects of trans students and Trump trying to ban transgender service people. Not to mention the various states who have tried to ban transgender people from using the bathrooms in the gender they identify as. In addition there are states like Oklahoma who are passing laws where organizations can discriminate against LGBTQ families who want to adopt. It’s almost weekly you hear about another hate crime against the LGBTQ community, especially those who are transgender.

One of the latest victims of a hate crime was the killing of Blaze Bernstein, who was home visiting his family on winter break. Blaze was gay and jewish. He’s now being honored by a movement called Blaze it Forward. It a movement where people do good things for strangers and say to them to Blaze it forward, a take of the pay it forward ideology.

Image: Blaze Bernstein

One of the most well known victims of a hate crime is Matthew Shepard. He was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998. Following her son’s murder, Judy Shepard became a prominent LGBT rights activist and established the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Shepard’s death inspired notable films, novels, plays, songs, and other works. Matthew Shepard’s murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels. In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law.

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This administration is working hard to overturn every advance for LGBTQ equality. Even marriage equality could be at risk with this administration. Not to mention the conditions for LGBTQ communities in the world, who are much more harsh towards their population. It was reported that more than 100 male residents of the Chechen Republic, a part of the Russian Federation, have been abducted, held prisoner and tortured by authorities targeting them based on their perceived sexual orientation. An unknown number of the men, whom authorities detained on suspicion of being gay or bisexual, have reportedly died after being held in what human rights groups and eyewitnesses have called concentration camps.

The fight for equality is long from over.

Some people might understand why there are pride festivals and that’s okay. These celebrations aren’t for them. As the country becomes more accepting of those who are LGBTQ things will continue to improve, which has increased the attendance of many pride celebrations both in queer people feeling they can come out in public without ridicule and our straight allies who want to celebrate us. I say go ahead and hate us. These bigots are missing out on some very fabulous and fun people.

Even though I don’t go to pride every year, mostly due to my mental illness, I still makes me feel safe that I have a place to go if I so choose. I’m happy that our current and future LGBTQ generations will have a place to go for acceptance and to celebrate all the colors of the rainbow. So happy pride month. I’m excited to be able to go to Lansing Gay Pride again this weekend.

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Pretty In Pink #RealEqualityWearsPink

So yesterday was pinkalicious success. There were people from all over the country who took to the streets in pink, including overseas! It was wonderful to see so many different walks of life come together to support and stand up against gay violence and hate. Yesterday showed to the world that we aren’t going to take this sitting down, that we have the numbers on our side. Even the mayor of Columbus, Michael B. Coleman, wore pink in support of our cause! As you can see by the sea of pink below we have a lot of pink support! Rock on. Let’s remember to continue this conversation and help to spread awareness that that everyone stays safe. Remember Love always conquers hate!!!

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Take To The Street in Pink Tonight Meet at 6pm at Southbend Tavern

“Hey Facebook Friends! I hope you can join me or send some positive energy out into the world starting at 6pm this Friday, June 14 as I “Step Out” against crimes against the LGBT community. I am walking a total of 5 miles, making four stops at the scenes of four hate crimes. It’s time to throw some positive karma back into our world and let the thugs know that we will FIGHT BACK!”


I found this on the event PINK FRIDAY page and I wanted to share it to you because I think it’s important to make a statement!!!

At 6pm tonight in Columbus Mark Buckingham and friends will be walking from Southbend Tavern (126 East Moler, Columbus, Ohio 43207)!!!

It would be great to have a bunch of people in PINK walking the streets to STAND UP AGAINST GAY VIOLENCE AND HATE!!!

Renewed Spirit and Fight #RealEqualityWearsPink


I have to admit that this whole experience with the wearing PINK on Friday has really awoke something deep inside of me. This has been an extremely tough year for me with the death of my Mama in September, which caused me to spiral into a deep depression where I hid from the world…

To see so many people (from all over the world) come together to support and rally for David, Christopher A. and Christopher K. It is tragic and a fact of life that bad things happen all the time to really good people, and in this case to three young men who didn’t do anything to warrant being attacked. When people are knocked down it is so very important for others to help lift them back up and our community has surely done a great job of that.

You can only get pushed around so much before you say wait a minute… NO MORE!!! Personally I also have gotten to that point in my life as well, where you say enough is enough. As a survivor an important and empowering tool to use is our VOICE but often times it is something that is difficult to use. For a very long time I have struggled with my own voice, knowing when and how to use it. Wanting to stand up but not having the courage to verbalize it. Feeling so defeated that I didn’t think anyone cared to hear my voice. I no longer feel that is the truth because this experience has helped me see that there are those who need to hear my voice.


Plus when you stay silent those who promote and spread hate win and I am determined to conquer their hate. I believe our community feels the say way. While at times we may risk our personal safety, standing together united we form a solid barrier that even the strongest hateful force wouldn’t be able to knock down!

Wearing Pink today shows the world that we aren’t going to take this abuse sitting down anymore, that we have many supporters on our side. The great thing about the pink event is that it helps to start conversations and creates awareness about gay violence and hate. These three tragic events were a wakeup call for many of us, that taught us that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

I have to admit that I really wished I was in Columbus now. I feel so energized that I want to be on the forefront making a difference. I also feel rather guilty that I wasn’t able to find a pink tshirt in my size (3xl). Though in the end, as long as we are using our voice and helping to spread the message matters most. You don’t have to wear Pink to make a difference, though it doesn’t hurt! Honestly for as much as I love pink, I am surprised I don’t own anything pink.

Someone on the wear Pink facebook event wanted to know why we were using Pink when it is associated with Breast Cancer. My first thought was to let her have it but then I thought about what often is needed for those outside of the LGBTQ community is education. I believe that is how we will get people to turn to our side is with fact, information and knowledge.


For those who don’t know Pink has long been associated with the gay community. It started out in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s when every prisoner in the concentration camps who were labeled as homosexual had to wear a pink triangle on their jacket. It is estimated that between 50,000 to 63,000 men were convicted for homosexuality during that time. Even after the camps were liberated at the end of WWII, many of the pink triangle prisoners were often re-imprisoned by the Allied established Federal Republic of Germany. The nazi amendments which turned homosexualityfrom a minor offense to a felony remained intact in both East and West Germany after the war for a further 24 years.


During the 1970’s the pink triangle was adopted as a symbol for gay rights protest. Some have linked the reclamation of the pink triangle with a publication of a concentration survivor Heinz Hegaer memoir, The Men with the Pink Triangle. 

It was until the early 1990’s that pink began to be associate with Breast Cancer when they started to pass out pink ribbons. Honestly I believe you can never have too much pink and there is enough love to go around for both worth causes!


While it was originally intended as a badge of shame, the gay rights movement reclaimed it, inverted its direction and made it one of the biggest symbols of the movement! As with the pink triangle, the time has come for us to reclaim what has always been ours. You can’t take away our pride, love and spirit! We are turning something negative into a positive. Love will always conquer hate! Always!!!


LATRICE ROYALE will be at the PINK Party at Axis! #RealEqualityWearsPink



Amazing news people!!! Latrice Royale from RuPaul’s Drag Race will be performing at the PINK Party at Axis Fri June 14th at 9pm!!! She is donating her time in support of Columbus!!! Latrice is a class act and fitting of the title of QUEEN!!!

So now you all have to be there!!! I would if I still lived in Columbus!!!

Click here for more information about the PINK Party!!! Is Live #RealEqualityWearsPink

The new website for this Friday’s event where everyone will be wearing Pink is live. You can find up to date information on this Friday’s event, as well as post your pink pictures! Let’s all stand  up to gay violence and hate, and paint the town PINK!!!

You can also find tips on how to stay safe while out in public here!

As well as find how what businesses are doing something special for Friday!


Need Some PINK For This Friday June 14? #RealEqualityWearsPink


If anyone knows any other businesses doing something special for Friday please comment on this post with the information. Thanks

Get your pink on this Friday. FCKH8 is making the official Pink shirt with 100% of the profits going back to BRAVO. They will have a stand with sizes from S to XXL available on the sidewalk in front of Union (782 North High Street, Columbus, OH) all day this Friday.




Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties

Free Sugardaddy”s Tee Shirt. Like Sugardaddy’s FB page at and private message for Columbus location to get your free tee. Retail value $20.


Skreened, a Columbus business, that creates custom apparel has stepped forward and offered the donation of 500 t-shirts to help those who don’t own a pink shirt. The founder of Skreened, Daniel Fox has graciously offered up the service of his company to provide shirts for Friday to help those take a stand against gay violence.


Skreened will be giving away pink shirts at Outlook Columbus Magazine at 11:30 am this Friday June 14 at 815 N High St, Ste Q, Columbus, Oh 43215. The shirts will be first come, first served. Donations accepted will go to BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization).



For men who need to dress up for work, PURSUIT, located at the Campus Gateway, would like to help you and your pink needs this Friday. Pursuit would love to show our solidarity and support for the victims of the recent attacks. We have pink ties and bow ties. The ties will be sold at regular price ($32 bow, $38 long tie) and Pursuit will donate 100% of the proceeds to BRAVO. (


The Jury Room (22 E. Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215) is proud to stand with Columbus’ LGBTQ Community for PINK Friday – June 14th! Their famous Mound Street Mule will turn pink for the day, and $3 from every Mule purchased will be donated to BRAVO to help fight LGBTQ violence. Please join us Friday, have a Mule (or two or three) and support this awesome organization and our LGBTQ Community here in Columbus!


Wear pink to Surly Girl Saloon and Grass Skirt Tiki Room on Friday and 10% of your food sales and $1 of our drink specials goes to BRAVO.

Surly Girl Saloon- Pink Tacos ~ Salmon Tacos with cilantro-lime slaw and citrus salsa, served with rice and beans. Pink Lemonade Cupcakes. Pretty in Pink Spritzer.

Grass Skirt- Pink Curry Coconut Rice Bowl ~ pink steamed rice with stir fried bok choy, carrots, red peppers, snow peas and house-made curry coconut sauce – all our steamed rice will be pink that day! Pink Paradise cocktail. Pineapple Napoleon with Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt.


Alison Rose wants to do their part to support the GLBT community. So they will have a few of our most popular designs printed on pink tees! 100% of the proceeds will be donated to BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Association).

Look for them in the shop (3039 Indianola), Thursday evening and all day Friday.



Lucky 13 Hair Salon (3131 N High St) believes that good people need to be rewarded.

Wear pink to your appointment on Friday and mention “Real Equality Wears Pink” to receive $5 off your service.


Shadowbox Live (503 S. Front St., Columbus, Ohio 43215) is offering a deal if you wear pink to the 7:30p or 10:30p performances of Best of Shadowbox Live 2013 on Friday and you’ll receive a $5 Shadowbox Live gift card to use on your next visit (not valid toward your tab that evening). You’ll be presented your gift card by your waiter at the end of the evening!



Whit’s Frozen Custard in The Short North will have Pink Cotton Candy as our Daily flavor in Support of Wear Pink on Friday!! Eat Pink!!


There is also special benefit this Friday at 9pm (doors open at 8) at Axis Nightclub (775 North High Street, Columbus, OH) in Columbus, Ohio that proceeds will go to BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization). Donations at the door, with a suggest donation of $5!

I will continue to update this post as I get new information. Thanks

Pink Party w/ LATRICE ROYALE FRI June 14 at 9pm A Benefit For BRAVO at AXIS in Columbus



Amazing news people!!! Latrice Royale from RuPaul’s Drag Race will be performing at the PINK Party at Axis Fri June 14th at 9pm!!! She is donating her time in support of Columbus!!! Latrice is a class act and fitting of the title of QUEEN!!!

This Friday everyone should be wearing pink, painting their facebooks pink and attending a special benefit Friday night at Axis Nightclub (775 North High Street, Columbus, OH) in Columbus, Ohio that proceeds will go to BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization).

Donations at the door ($5 is suggested)!

This event will be hosted by the wonderful Nina West and features some of Columbus’ best entertainers including Viva Valezz, Paige Passion, Freesia Balls, Maria Garrison, Selena T. West, Kiley Dash West, Cassandra Terrace, Vivian Von Brokenhymen, Drew Terrace, Cookie Crumbles and many more! Doors open at 8pm, with the show starting at 9pm. Take your PINK to the streets and take a stand, and make a difference!


BRAVO, as many of you know, does a great service for our community as they provide a link to survivor advocacy and assistance regarding hate crimes, discrimination, domestic violence,and sexual assault. BRAVO is a founding member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP). Each year, they document incidences of hate crimes and domestic violence along with similar agencies across the United States.

To make a donation online directly to BRAVO you can do so here via the Network For Change.

If you live in the Ohio area and have been a victim of a hate crime contact Bravo, 866-862-7286. BRAVO also has a helpline available for resources at the number above. Their helpline is staffed weekdays from 10AM to 4PM, and Sunday through Thursday from 6PM to 10PM. BRAVO also has self-defense classes available at various times. If you are interested in taking a class or having a safety workshop for your local group (whether its a euchre group, softball league or any other group) contact BRAVO. Services provided at BRAVO are free of charge.

Rajesh Lahoti from Union Cafe also posted some amazing news! Dr James Ford DDS (51 North High Street, Suite 100, Columbus, Ohio 43215) is going to match another $1000 in donations on Friday at the PINK EVENT for BRAVO, so if we can raise $2000, then BRAVO gets $4000. A big thanks to James, this is very generous, and continues to show that our community is strong, resilient and will unite against anyone or anything that tries to attack or take advantage of us.

“Many businesses are also donating merchandise, funds and sending out blasts for the fundraiser. Our allies are with us. We will get a list of those groups and individuals and post them. We must make a point to support the businesses that are here for us at times like these.”

Get your pink on Friday. FCKH8 is making the official Pink shirt with 100% of the profits going back to BRAVO. They will have a stand with sizes from S to XXL available on the sidewalk in front of Union (782 North High StreetColumbusOH) all day this Friday.


As well as Skreened, a Columbus business, that creates custom apparel has stepped forward and offered the donation of 500 t-shirts to help those who don’t own a pink shirt. The founder of Skreened, Daniel Fox has graciously offered up the service of his company to provide shirts for Friday to help those take a stand against gay violence.


Skreened will be giving away pink shirts at Outlook Columbus Magazine at 11:30 am this Friday June 14 at 815 N High St, Ste Q, Columbus, Oh 43215. The shirts will be first come, first served. Donations accepted will go to BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization).


Continue to watch my blog on any further updates about this event and others.

Thanks. Derek. Huggs 🙂