Forty-seven years ago, Martin Boyce had just come out and was living in New York City. It was a hot, hazy summer’s night and he was headed to the Stonewall Inn, a hole-in-the-wall bar down on Christopher Street, deep in the heart of Greenwich Village. Outside the bar a police officer was losing a battle with a drag queen he was attempting to stuff into a paddy wagon.
The cop took one look at Boyce and his friends and sneered, “Get out of here you faggots.”
“It looked like it was going to be a rough summer,” Boyce recalls on the line from New York where he still lives. “Police were antagonizing [the gay community] and raids had increased. Everybody knew someone who was in trouble in some way or another. It was this gathering feeling of concern, there were too many people who had a story to tell.”
Led by the queens and the transgender community – largely people of colour – the crowd fought back against the police, sparking what came to be known as the Stonewall riots.
That night, in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, marked the start of the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for the LGBTQ community worldwide. After years of living as the unjust targets of both police and mainstream society, the LGBTQ community fought back.