On the 6th July this year, the streets of Central London will once again be painted in glitter, leather studs and rainbows. Soho will come alive like no other time in the year, with the LGBTQ community and their allies out in full force. This year however, will be different: 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of WorldPride; 50 years since a violent police raid in a New York City gay bar sparked riots and kickstarted the Gay Liberation movement.
At 1:20am on the 28 June 1969, the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, one of the few openly gay bars in New York City at the time. The raid didn’t go as planned, and the police lost control of the situation whilst they tried to arrest all of the approximately 200 people. Some escaped but instead of fleeing, as was usually the case during routine police raids, they stayed. Quickly a group of 150 people had gathered on the street outside the bar. Tensions between the police and LGBTQ community flared up into protests that continued throughout the night and several nights following. These demonstrations and riots by the members of the LGBTQ community became the catalyst for various crucial gay rights organisations being formed across the world. A year later, on June 28 1970, the first gay pride marches took place in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. London followed two years later.