The upcoming theme for Boston Pride is “Looking Back, Loving Forward.” In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the theme points to how far the fight for LBGTQ+ rights has come. The theme also highlights the importance of the Stonewall Riots (also sometimes called the Stonewall Uprising or the Stonewall Rebellion) as one of the catalysts of the gay liberation movement. The gay civil rights movement of the early 1970's helped provide a foundation for modern LGBTQ+ rights efforts. Early activists paved the way for the efforts toward full civil rights that are ongoing.
Perhaps you're interested in learning more about this part of U.S. history. Or maybe as a modern activist, you're interested in learning more about the roots of the LGBT rights movement. The Boston Public Library has a number of events happening during Pride month that focus on Stonewall including:
- A film screening and discussion of the documentary Stonewall Uprising
- An author talk with public health advocate John Manuel Andriotte about his book Stonewall Strong
- A Stonewall themed panel discussion hosted by Gay and Lesbian Review
- A glimpse at Boston's particular role in LGBTQ+ history with Russ Lopez, author of Hub of the Gay Universe
If you can't join us at an event, reading firsthand accounts such as those found in The Stonewall Reader and the photographic documentary Love and Resistance can give you a particularly vivid account. Poetry written in the Stonewall era can also give you a window into the spirit of the time. These LGBTQ+ poets wrote in the aftermath of Stonewall, as the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement was just beginning. While not explicitly about Stonewall, the poets address many of the themes and concerns of the young gay rights movement.
LGBT poetry of the Stonewall era
Ask a librarian for more ideas for learning about this powerful moment in U.S. history. Happy learning and happy pride!