Jun 28, 2009

The 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots

Forty years ago today, the Stonewall riots started in New York City. Those riots marked the birth of the modern gay rights movement, one that is characterized by militant activism and pride consciousness. The Stonewall anniversary (June 28) has been romanticized to such a degree that it has become the most important “holiday” among gay men and women (World AIDS Day, December 1, and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia [IDAHO], May 17, being two others). Stonewall was so important that I consider them to be one of the three landmark moments in the history of gay people (the other two are the AIDS pandemic and the rise of the Internet).

Just so you know, Stonewall is the reason why we have the (in)famous White Parties during the last weekend of June in Malate and elsewhere. Unfortunately, this year’s White Party in Malate has been canceled due to budgetary constraints. So, individual clubs and bars have organized their own mini White Parties, like the foam party that I think happened last night at Queeriosity Palace.

I’ve attended a White Party once in Malate (just to try it), but that was years ago. While I support the idea of “gay pride” in principle, I went to the White Party just to party a bit (and possibly meet other guys) and not really to participate in the larger pride movement. As I blogged back in December, I don’t feel proud to be gay nor do I feel it is necessary for me at all. Despite going out to gay-oriented places, I’m still very much in the closet to the vast majority of people I know: colleagues in the office, friends from college, batchmates in high school, and especially family and relatives. With my mostly closeted status, gay pride is a concept that I certainly can’t embrace (at least for the moment).

Forty years is a nice round time period deserving of attention. But June 28, 2009 for me is just another day, with this post as a celebratory token of sorts. Will I be more un-apathetic come the golden anniversary? I guess time will tell. But then, I’m not inclined to lean one way or the other.

How about you? What is June 28, 2009 for you?