Where gay pride began 50 years ago

On 28 June 1969, events at New York City’s Stonewall Inn sparked a multi-day riot that birthed the modern gay rights movement and the inaugural pride parade in 1970.

Fifty years ago, in the early-morning hours of 28 June 1969, a police raid at a Mafia-run dive bar in New York City changed the course of history. The Stonewall Inn didn't have a liquor license, running water or fire escapes, but in an era when being gay was viewed as a crime, this scruffy Greenwich Village pub was one of the few sanctuaries where members of New York's LGBTQ community could openly express themselves without fear of harassment.

So, when police burst through the doors just after 01:00 and demanded to see 200 patrons' identifications and physically verify their gender, one drag queen wasn't having it. Instead of accompanying officers to the police station, Marsha Johnson, an African-American trans woman, fired the first shot – literally: she picked up a shot glass, threw it through a mirror and sparked a multi-day riot that birthed the modern gay rights movement and the inaugural pride parade in 1970.

As people around the world take to the streets to revel in pride marches this June and July, it's easy to forget that these early public demonstrations weren't parties, they were defiant feats of resistance. In honour of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, BBC's The Travel Show returns to The Stonewall Inn to meet Mark Segal, who was just 18 years old when police confronted him inside the bar and had no idea that the world would still be feeling the effects of that steamy summer night 50 years later.

For more on this and other stories, watch The BBC Travel Show – every weekend on the BBC News Channel and BBC World News.

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