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Still fighting 50 years after Stonewall riots

A pedestrian crosses Christopher Street on Thursday in

A pedestrian crosses Christopher Street on Thursday in New York.  Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

Fifty years ago this weekend, New York City police raided a small, seedy club on Manhattan’s Christopher Street — and a movement gained its voice.

In the early hours of June 28, police barged into the Stonewall Inn, a place that had been a refuge for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals. Patrons mobilized and a riot broke out.

Reaction to this raid rapidly coalesced into a determined fight for recognition and equality.

Fifty years later, Stonewall remains a marker.

In the decades since, there has been tremendous progress, from the legalization of same-sex marriage to equal rights in employment.

But there also have been many setbacks. In the last two years, LGBTQ rights have come under fire. Despite vague words of support from President Donald Trump, his administration has shown a blatant, ugly disregard for LGBTQ individuals. Transgender individuals are now banned from serving in the U.S. military. HIV and AIDS research funding has been slashed. Under the guise of religious freedom, adoption agencies and health care providers can deny services and care to LGBTQ individuals. The Department of Health and Human Services has taken steps to narrow the definition of gender, so that the government’s recognition of those who are transgender would be all but eliminated.

What’s more, 30 states still lack basic anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ people in employment, housing and more, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

So, even as there is much to celebrate during WorldPride week events, there also is work to be done. But unlike on that late June night five decades ago, the LGBTQ community no longer has to go at this alone. Millions of allies are ready to join them in the cause.

 — The editorial board

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