Summer 2019 marks 50 years since the iconic rebellion against the police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The LGBTQ patrons and locals, many of them people of colour, and most of them working class, fought back against the police in 6 days of rioting. Then they organised, revolutionising the LGBTQ rights movement, and sparking Pride.
In honour of Pride month, WCH are releasing a series of episodes about LGBTQ history. We begin with a double episode telling the story of the Stonewall rebellion, in the words of participants.

After the rebellion, participants in it, along with others, set up the Gay Liberation Front, and then organised a protest on its first anniversary, 28 June 1970, which became Pride.

Our patreon supporters can listen to both parts now, as well as a bonus episode. You can support our work and listen now at

They are part of our new wave of episodes we are spending a lot more time on. We are doing this for all of 2019, but we will only be able to keep spending this amount of time beyond this point if we get more support from you, our listeners on patreon, so do please consider supporting us if you can. If you can’t, no problem, please just share our episodes on social media!

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Bonus episode – with more info about homophobia at the time, about Martha’s activism before Stonewall, about Martin’s time hanging out at the Stonewall and more is exclusively for our patreon supporters.


We’ve produced a range of merchandise commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, and the ensuing Gay Liberation Front and Pride. Proceeds help fund our work, as well as activism today by original participants in the riots and the GLF. Check it out here:

Stonewall 50 T-shirtlavender menace T-shirt mockup


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In addition to the photograph used above, this is one of the only photographs taken during the riots, by Fred McDarrah –

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Message painted on the front of the Stonewall Inn after the first riot by the Mattachine Society calling for calm. It was ignored! – Photograph  by Fred McDarrah –

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Martin Boyce with his friend Bertie Rivera, c1969
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John O’Brien, c1969
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Martha Shelley, c1969
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Martin Boyce, recently
John O’Brien with Dolores Huerta at an exhibition of John’s archive of United Farm Workers materials, 2015
Martha Shelley, right, with colleagues at the lavender menace action, 1970



  • In part 1 we mistakenly refer to the US government as “post-colonial” instead of “post-independence”
  • We also refer to “gender reassignment surgery” as opposed to “gender affirmation surgery”.

We apologise for these errors.


Here are other sources used in addition to the links already given in the More information section:


As always, huge thanks to our patreon supporters who make this podcast possible.
Theme music for this episode was Stand up for Your Rights by The International Gay Society courtesy of Chapter Records from their excellent album from the gay liberation movement. You can stream it here or buy it here.

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