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The Stonewall Riot Was Not, In Fact, the Gay Community’s Uprising

fred-mcdarrah-stonewall-shot

So says gay author (and grandson of the World War II Army General) Lucian King Truscott IV, who was there that night and, among other things, lays claim to setting up this photo the late Fred McDarrah shot that night at the Stonewall Inn.

A prominent Stonewall myth holds that the riots were an uprising by the gay community against decades of oppression. This would be true if the “gay community” consisted of Stonewall patrons. The bar’s regulars, though, were mostly teenagers from Queens, Long Island and New Jersey, with a few young drag queens and homeless youths who squatted in abandoned tenements on the Lower East Side.

“I was there on the Saturday and Sunday nights when the Village’s established gay community, having heard about the incidents of Friday night, rushed back from vacation rentals on Fire Island and elsewhere. Although several older activists participated in the riots, most stood on the edges and watched.”