The Stonewall Inn, the most famous LGBTQ bar in the world, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help it survive.
Like so many other gay venues, the business has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. New York City was an early hotspot for the virus, leading to the venue’s temporary closure.
The Stonewall launched its GoFundMe last week, which is in addition to an earlier fundraiser launched in April to help staff impacted by the venue’s closure. That earlier fundraiser, which is still active, has only reached a third of its $60,000 goal. However, the longer that the businesses closure has continued, the direr the situation has become
The latest fundraiser has raised just over $5,000 of a $50,000 goal after being launched last week. In a message on Stonewall’s website, a spokesperson says, “We are reaching out because like many families and small businesses around the world, The Stonewall Inn is struggling.
“Our doors have been closed for over three months to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of patrons, staff and the community. Even in the best of times it can be difficult to survive as a small business and we now face an uncertain future. Even once we reopen, it will likely be under greatly restricted conditions limiting our business activities.”
It goes on to reflect on the history of the Stonewall as the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. A police raid on the bar in June 1969 led to several days of rioting. An anniversary march a year later is regarded as New York City’s first Pride march.
The Stonewall has changed ownership since the late 1960s. The original Inn went out of business shortly after the uprising. A bar named Stonewall returned to 51 Christopher Street between 1987 and 1989.
Another bar, Jimmy’s Stonewall Place, opened in 1990 at 53 Christopher Street, and a year later, changed its name to Stonewall. The current management has run it as the Stonewall Inn since 2006.
“We resurrected the Stonewall Inn once after it had been shuttered – and we stand ready to do it again – with your help. We worked diligently to resurrect it as a safe space for the community and to keep the Stonewall Inn at the epicenter of the fight for the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
“Today, we are asking you to help Save Stonewall! The Stonewall Inn faces an uncertain future and we are in need of community support.”
The building’s place in history has long been acknowledged. In 1999, the Stonewall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2000 it was named a National Historic Landmark. In 2016, the bar and its neighboring Christopher Park became the first designated US National Monument dedicated to the LGBTQ equality movement.
The gay scene around the world has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and many bars have turned to crowdfunding to help them survive. In an incredible show of support, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London – the city’s longest-running gay bar – recently managed to raise over $66,000 from crowdfunding.
Other bars have not been so fortunate. Earlier this month, San Fransico’s oldest surviving gay bar, The Stud, announced it was shuttering its premises because of the pandemic had made it no longer viable to continue.