Art exhibit marks 50th anniversary of Stonewall riots, beginning of LGBTQ rights movement

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A new photo art exhibit is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the beginning of the LGBTQ+ movement.

The photographs depict same-sex couples taken from the back. They were taken in the 1960s and 1970s by photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies. They are on display at the New York Public Library in an exhibit named “Love and Resistance: Stonewall 50.”

“They're very sorrowful pictures in a way because you see the love in the relationship. But people can't risk having their identities known,” says curator Jason Baumann.

The Stonewall Inn is a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village. In 1969, the bar was operating illegally and sparked a police raid on June 28. The raid led to six days of angry clashes between the community and police. It helped to galvanize the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.

“There's this spirit in the air that people are really tired of their oppression and ready to fight back in a whole new way,” Baumann says.

The exhibit also features historical gay publications from the library's archive – “about half photography, half periodicals, posters and leaflets,” according to Baumann.

Baumann says that he spent three years putting the exhibit together.

The Stonewall Inn is still operating as a gay bar on Christopher Street in Manhattan. It has opened and closed several times. It is designated as a historical site. The Inn also held an anniversary event this week.

Christopher Park across the street from the establishment is a national monument and New York tourist attraction.

The photo exhibit is free and open until July 13.

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