LGBT Pride: Professor Stein on How a Struggle Became a Celebration

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Photo of Cesar Chavez Student Center at night

PATCH -- Violent attacks on LGBT establishments by civilians have also taken place across the country, just as they did in Orlando. In 1973, a gay bar in New Orleans was set on fire in a case of suspected arson, and 31 people were killed. No one was ever charged, and there was very little national media coverage about it at the time.

"There’s a lot of attacks on gays bars, sometimes by individual or groups, often street violence against people who are coming and going to gay bars," said Marc Stein, professor of History at San Francisco State University.

LGBT businesses, health centers, community centers and other public sites have also been targeted for attacks over the years. Stein himself worked at a LGBT newspaper that had been targeted with violence.

As Stein noted, there were demonstrations, riots and protests pressing for LGBT rights, especially throughout the 1960s. Influenced by other growing radical groups, including those for civil rights for blacks, women’s rights and the anti-war movement, groups advocating civil rights for gay people saw the importance of more public activism. Each year on July 4 from 1965 to 1969, protesters marched in support of LGBT rights in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, an event known as the “Annual Reminder.”

Photo by Mario Flores