Stonewall 25 March and Rallies Are Held in New York City Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion saw a march on the United Nations and rally at Central Park, a Spirit of Stonewall march from Greenwich Village to Central Park, and other social and political actions and events in New York City.

Summary of Event

Although there were many events associated with Stonewall 25, the march on the United Nations (U.N.) was the focal point. On Sunday, June 26, 1994, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, drag queens and kings, and transgender individuals marched to the United Nations. The six-hour march included a mile-long rainbow flag, members of the Stonewall Veterans’ Association Stonewall Veterans’ Association (those involved in the original Stonewall Rebellion), and participation by many other groups of supporters. The march culminated in a Central Park rally with various speakers, including AIDS activists, transgender activists, and international politicians. Performers at the rally included Liza Minelli, which was especially appropriate, given that Minelli is the daughter of Judy Garland, whose death, it is thought by some, was one of the events that triggered the original Stonewall uprising. [kw]Stonewall 25 March and Rallies Are Held in New York City (June, 1994) [kw]March and Rallies Are Held in New York City, Stonewall 25 (June, 1994) [kw]Rallies Are Held in New York City, Stonewall 25 March and (June, 1994) [kw]New York City, Stonewall 25 March and Rallies Are Held in (June, 1994) Stonewall 25 March Protests and marches;Stonewall 25 Political activism;marches [c]Marches, protests, and riots;June, 1994: Stonewall 25 March and Rallies Are Held in New York City[2380] [c]Civil rights;June, 1994: Stonewall 25 March and Rallies Are Held in New York City[2380] [c]Government and politics;June, 1994: Stonewall 25 March and Rallies Are Held in New York City[2380]

The rally also included a moment of silence to remember those who had died of AIDS-related complications and from hate-crime violence. There was also a moment for expression of anger and rage at the injustices experienced by gays, lesbians, transgender, and bisexual people.

On Monday, June 27, events continued with a focus on global human rights. Individuals from more than forty countries met with their U.N. representatives to raise awareness about human rights violations affecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

March documents included the following set of demands:

•That the promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights not be denied to gay, lesbian, bisexual, drag, and transgender people, or to those with HIV or AIDS.

•That the global effort to combat HIV-AIDS be intensified.

•That the U.N. proclaim an “international year” of lesbian and gay people.

•That funding for U.N. activities be increased to implement these issues of concern.

•That the U.N. and its affiliates denounce and seek the elimination of travel, immigration, and other cross-border restrictions based on HIV-AIDS status.

•That the U.N. and people of the world join in affirming the dignity and legitimacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and drag/transgender people.

Significance

The significance of the march may be best summarized by a statement by one of the Stonewall 25 cochairs, Pat Norman. Norman said that “Stonewall 25 brought more of our grass-roots organizers from around the globe to one city at one time with the purpose of planning our future than ever before. We gathered to fight the [Christian] right, to fight for AIDS services, to fight for a cure and to fight for our freedom of expression.”

Many younger gays and lesbians were unaware, at the time, of the history of gay and lesbian activism, much of which stemmed from the original Stonewall Rebellion. Stonewall 25 did several things, including bringing attention to the historic event, showing how diverse groups could work together for a national and international goal, and setting forth measurable goals for the U.N. and its affiliates.

The effort to produce and organize the march and other activities was not without controversy. Documents produced during the planning meetings show evidence of racial strife, concerns about representation, and dismay with the organizing committee by the original Stonewall Veterans’ Association.

Still, the march involved also a massive effort on the part of many diverse groups: Amnesty International, Members for Lesbian/Gay Concerns; BiNet USA; Forgotten Scouts; Gay/Lesbian Arab Society; Gay Male S/M Activists; International Gay/Lesbian Archives; International Gay/Lesbian Human Rights Commission; International Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Appointed & Elected Officials; Lesbian & Gay Bands of America; Log Cabin Clubs of America; National Black Gay & Lesbian Leadership Forum; National Gay & Lesbian Task Force; National Gay Officers Action League; Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians & Gays; U.S. Student Association; Universal Fellowship of the Metropolitan Community Church; War Resisters League; and the World Congress of Gay/Lesbian Jewish Organizations.

Stonewall 25 was a historic set of events, much more than just a march. It was a concerted focus upon human rights issues that used a variety of approaches (for example, forums, conferences, hearings with the United Nations, and the march and rally) to make sure its messages were heard. In terms of lasting impact, the groups who had collaborated on Stonewall 25 continue to seek support for the demands that were presented at the march. GLBT pride weeks (held annually, beginning mostly in June) continue to draw more and more people in many cities across the United States and the world. Segments of the mile-long-rainbow flag have appeared in many rallies and events in the years after Stonewall 25.

The question, Has the march inspired lasting political change at the global level? remains unanswered, but for those who participated in Stonewall 25, and for those who planned it, there certainly has been a personal impact. Additionally, the consciousness-raising, as well as the strife, that was generated through the working together of so many different and divergent groups and organizations has made LGBT communities stronger and more aware and sensitive to the differences, and similarities, among communities. Stonewall 25 March Protests and marches;Stonewall 25 Political activism;marches

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Adam, Barry. The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement. New York: Twayne, 1995.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Miller, Diane. Freedom to Differ: The Shaping of the Gay and Lesbian Struggle for Civil Rights. New York: New York University Press, 1996.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Miller, Neil. Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Nelson, Lisa. “Marches and Parades.” In Gay Histories and Cultures, edited by George E. Haggerty. New York: Garland, 2000.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Scott, Janny. “Gay Marchers Celebrate History in 2 Parades.” The New York Times, June 27, 1994, p. A1.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Stewart, Chuck. Gay and Lesbian Issues: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2003.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Williams, Walter, and Yolanda Retter. Gay and Lesbian Rights in the United States: A Documentary History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003.

July 2-August 28, 1963: Rustin Organizes the March on Washington

August, 1966: Queer Youth Fight Police Harassment at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco

June 27-July 2, 1969: Stonewall Rebellion Ignites Modern Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement

June 28, 1970: First Lesbian and Gay Pride March in the United States

October 12-15, 1979: First March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

October 11, 1987: Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

1990: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission Is Founded

April 24, 1993: First Dyke March Is Held in Washington, D.C.

April 25, 1993: March on Washington for Gay, Lesbian, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation

September 16, 1994: U.N. Revokes Consultative Status of International Lesbian and Gay Association

June 19, 2002: Gays and Lesbians March for Equal Rights in Mexico City

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