Earlier this June we launched Stonewall forever to celebrate Pride Month and the history of LGBTQ+ people fighting for their rights and broader acceptance.
For those who are unfamiliar with the history of Stonewall Inn, it is a gay bar located in Greenwich Village in New York City. Police frequently raided the bar and brutalized LGBTQ+ people during the late 20th century, specifically black trans women, often throwing them in jail. At the time, dressing in drag was criminalized and grounds for imprisonment. A “Three-Item Rule” was in place, which stated that if a person wore three or more items of clothing belonging to the opposite sex, it was basis to be brutalized and arrested.
On June 28, 1969, a police raid began in the early morning at the Stonewall Inn. It was a tremendously violent event, and those at the bar fought back. A black trans woman, Marsha P. Johnson, made the first move by throwing a rock at the police. Sylvia Rivera, her close friend, followed behind, and a rebellion began. This riot was critical to the gay rights movement and is widely considered the most important event to fuel the gay liberation movement. It was both a physical rebellion and a social one whose influence spread around the country and encouraged others to fight back against the systems marginalizing them. Many lost their lives during this fight, and it is thanks to them that LGBTQ+ people have the rights that they do today.
This is why Stonewall Forever is such an important and necessary monument. It is a digital monument created by New York City’s own LGBTQ+ Community Center and was funded by a grant by Google. Google’s Creative Lab also volunteered its time to help the center bring the monument to life in honor of the 50th anniversary of the riots. In addition to the monument, we also launched a campaign called Pride Forever, which celebrates the history of Pride and all those who fought so that those today could live as their authentic selves. The benefit of this monument being online instead of physical is accessibility. Those from all over the world can access the monument without having to physically travel to Stonewall Inn.
It was an absolute honor for Google to have a part in this project, and to continue to advocate for and honor the LGBTQ+ community. Although so much has been done already, it is necessary to remember that we still have so far to go for complete equality, acceptance, and safety of the LGBTQ+ population. Google, of course, will continue to advocate for full equality and is inspired to do so. To access the monument, click here.