Cover Marty Robinson left addresses a rally commemorating the Stonewall riots, July ,Weve got to stand up, he urged This is our chance Members of the Gay Activists Alliance help form a human chain across the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey to demonstrate their support for gay rights, May , East Village rambler, New York City, November ,The faade of the Stonewall Inn still marked by the graffiti of recent events , SeptemberUnrest three months earlier converted this spot in Greenwich Village into ground zero for gay rights history The door of the Stonewall had wrought iron bars across this little peephole, a little wooden thing that slid open And the man inside would look at you and, if you looked like you belonged there, would let you inRIS BABICK, describing the entrance to the Stonewall InnFOR STARTERS, THERE WAS A FULL MOON AND IT WAS beastly hot Plus it was Friday night in New York City A party night A night to hit the bars, dance, and hang out with friends, even if the friends were gay Especially if the friends were gayIn the summer of , the Stonewall Inn served as a space for gays to meet, dance together, and express their physical attractions It provided a showplace for cross dressers to camp it up in their finery It was a spot to hang out with other people who understood what it felt like to be gay on the cutting edge of changing timesOn the street gays kept alert, wary of police officers in uniform and mindful that the next attractive stranger posing as a homosexual might in fact be an imposter packing a police badge Every state except Illinois carried sodomy laws that prohibited nonvaginal sexual intercourse, chiefly directed at gay men People caught defying these lawsespecially in public but even at homecould expect to land in jail and receive verbal abuse, or worse, on the wayIn the workplace gays lived on edge, too With the exception of a few careers, such as theater work, most gays had to mask their sexual identities or risk being fired It was perfectly legal to dismiss someone from a job because of perceived sexual deviance, and then homosexuality topped the list of so called abnormal behavior Federal employees, including armed service members, faced automatic discharge if they failed to conceal their sexual orientations Prospects for employment elsewhere, and even for finding housing, became grim Why they dont just round us all up and kill us I dont know, lamented one discredited military veteranAt home gays might not find much refuge, either Most young gay men and lesbians felt compelled to live with the secret of being different Perhaps they faced rejection, even being disowned, for admitting their attraction to same sex partners These youths often left home, either by choice or by order of disapproving parents, and they headed to urban centers in search of companionship and a hint of tolerance Older gay men and lesbians might marry people of the opposite gender, either in an attempt to combat their same sex urges or because they sought the legitimizing shelter of marriage, but peace of mind could rarely be found in such relationshipsWhether on the street, at work, or at home, gays confronted the reality that acting on their sexual orientations constituted illegal behavior Any portrayal of homosexuality in the media tended to reinforce these negative stereotypes After all, such actions ran counter to the teachings of organized religion A homosexual life was a sinful life, many clergy members preached Anyone living openly as a homosexual could expect eternal damnation in the afterlife and was unlikely to be welcomed to worshipMeanwhile, the medical community condemned homosexuals as mentally ill To overcome thoughts and behaviors judged to be deviant, doctors advised intensive talk therapy, even electroshock treatment Some gay men were castrated against their will, a procedure that removed their testicles and deadened the sex drive Others were lobotomized, a medical practice that destroyed the connections between the frontal lobes and the thalamus of the brain, deadening just about all aspects of behaviorGays who settled in such urban centers as New York City and San Francisco knew that the best place to find understanding and camaraderie was with other gays In New York City, the southwestern neighborhood of Manhattan known as Greenwich Village served as a magnet for many gay men and lesbians Its reputation pulled gay runaways and adults alike to a city where many found the closest thing that could pass for a safe communityGay bars served as natural places to meet in such neighborhoods, and, as hangouts went, these establishments felt relatively safe No one performed lobotomies there, and no one condemned the patrons as sinners If gays were lucky, no one arrested them either For all the plusses, during the s gay bars in New York City came with plenty of negatives Many were run by the organized crime syndicate of the Mafia Bouncers might refuse to let patrons enter Overpriced drinks featured watered down alcohol to boost profits Sanitary practices might be nonexistent, from the bar counters to the bathrooms Police routinely raided the bars, both to enforce laws that prohibited various aspects of homosexual behavior and to reinforce a system of payoffs by Mafia owners to corrupt police officers But something was better than nothing, so gays who wanted to socialize flocked to the bars that sheltered them from public scrutiny and offered them the comfort of camaraderieThe Stonewall Inn which was a bar only, not a hotel, despite its name had a rough and tumble character from the time it opened inIt stood on Christopher Street, a vibrant east west corridor that cut through the heart of the West Village Its building had housed everything from a stable to a French bakery to a tearoom to a burned out restaurant before it debuted as a gay barBouncers at the Stonewall literally screened patrons by peering through a vertical slit in the door The three dollar price of weekend admission included two free drinks, albeit ones of suspect cleanliness and integrity Weekday admission cost one dollar The grungy bathrooms drew use only from patrons in desperate need of a toilet Its bars didnt even have sinks to wash dirty glasses The whole place had a subterranean, primitive feel Barricaded windows Black walls Minimal furnishing Dark Smelly, with whiffs of cologne and perfume and body odor wafting off of patrons And, like all bars then, a film of cigarette smoke clouding the airNone of that mattered, though, because the Stonewall Inn had something not always found at gay bars music Plenty of music, and twin dance floors Few bars in New York, even gay bars, permitted same sex dancing, but the Stonewalls dance floors were open to all Patrons dropped coins into the jukeboxes and lost themselves in the beat of a popular song, the crush of bodies on the dance floor, and the freedom of physical interaction between same sex couples For many of the patrons, the Stonewall offered one of those rare places where they felt like they belongedThe late s pushed all sorts of social boundaries in the United States, especially for young people A vibrant youth subculture arose, and its followers experimented with illegal drugs, fed the development of popular music, protested an unpopular war in Vietnam, and embraced, literally, the sexual freedoms fueled by the whole scene Thousands of young people had frolicked in San Francisco duringin what was dubbed the Summer of Love Gays were as interested in the grand experiment as straight people, and the Stonewall Inn offered the homosexual equivalent to many heterosexual hangouts Rich with grunge Loose in spirit Full of bodies, a relentless drumbeat, and abundant alcohol A participant in the Summer of Love in San Francisco, June ,The Stonewall Inn had opened as a gay bar just months earlier Two years later, thanks in part to the countercultural influence of events such as the Summer of Love, the Stonewall would explode with activismWho went to the Stonewall Representatives of the full spectrum of gay expression Closeted males with respectable jobs and reputations seeking a discreet way to express their same sex preferences Married men acting on their desires to be physically involved with other men Runaway youths, drawn by New Yorks gay scene, who hung together on the streets of Manhattan and partied together at the Stonewall Artists, performers, and intellectuals who lived openly as gays A few straight friends of gays Inthe legal drinking age in New York was eighteen, so plenty of the young people who frequented the Stonewall either were legal or could pass for it Most Stonewall patrons were in their teens and twenties Few were over forty Men constituted the vast majority of patrons at the Stonewall, but lesbians visited it sometimes, too So did men who proudly called themselves queens, adopting feminine mannerisms and, on occasion, wearing womens clothing Such individuals were labeled transvestites or cross dressers during an era before the existence of theinclusive and broader term transgender Cross dressing males might strap on padded bras, don wigs, slip on party dresses, and hit the townIt was the best place we ever hadDICK KANON, describing the Stonewall Inn in Time passed in three minute intervals at the Stonewall, give or take a few seconds Cue Satisfaction by the Rolling Stonesminutes,seconds Maybe Diana Ross and the Supremes sang Stop In the Name of Loveminutes,seconds Or the Beach Boys harmonized on I Get Aroundminutes,seconds Song by song, dance by dance, the evening spun awayVisitors split their time between the bars two main rooms The front room, adjacent to Christopher Street, drew the older andconventional customers This space housed the main bar plus side tables A dance floor dominated the room, driven by a jukebox stocked with pop tunes Ten cents bought one song a quarter paid for three Dancers weaved in and out of spotlight beams, performing for the crowd Men danced with men, often for the first time in their lives By , a pair of scantily clad go go boys had added their professional moves to the dance beat from within the set of matching cages that bookended the barThe Stonewalls back room held a dance floor, too In fact, the dance floor served as the main feature of the back room, although the space did have its own small bar and limited perimeter seating This room drew the younger patrons, perhaps in part because the back rooms jukebox offered a playlist of raw blues, Motown hits, and gutsy soul music that addressed conflicts relevant to their youthful lives The greatest ethnic and visual diversity appeared in the back room, too, with African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and whites, some in drag, mixing into an exotic canopy of free expressionOn June the Stonewall Inn pulsed to the beat of the music, pulsed to the beat of hundreds of hearts, pulsed to the beat of the final year in a tumultuous decade There was a generally up mood in the place, one chronicler later recalled An up mood as friends who hadnt seen one another for at least twenty four hours were reunited in deeply felt embrace, as newfound lovers exchanged meaningful kisses on the dance floor or across a table, while others sipped their drinks waiting for Prince Valiant to comeWaiting and dancing Waiting and dreaming WaitingAn up mood A hot night A full moon hanging outside The pulse of changing times Times when anything could happen Midnight Twelve thirty One twenty amAnd then the overhead lights came alive Dancers froze in the brightness as the jukeboxes ceased to blast the nights beat Person by person, awareness dawned through the fog of smoke and sweat and boozeR a i dRAID Early gay rights activists Randy Wicker and Barbara Gittings participate in an Independence Day protest for gay rights in Philadelphia, When you left bars you always had to stiffen up and look straighter and try to be always on your guard Just walking with my friends down the street from one bar to another was a heavy thingRRY BRASS, recollecting the gay bar scene in New York City during the sCRAIG RODWELL WASNT AT THE STONEWALL INN DURING the raid on that hot night in June , but he could have been Rodwell had arrived in New York City a decade earlier, one of countless displaced young men drawn to Greenwich Village Initially he had visited the clubs and hangouts popular with the citys gay community By , though, at age twenty eight, he had become an outspoken critic of the gay bars in Greenwich Villageor at least the Mafia run gay bars, which pretty much meant all the gay bars in the areaBeing outspoken had become one of Rodwells trademarks His outspokenness had gotten him arrested and jailed inafter he objected to police harassment over his wearing a skimpy swimsuit popular with gays His outspokenness had put him on protest lines sincein support of fair treatment for homosexuals And his outspokenness had led him into found the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, the nations first bookstore devoted to gay literature Craig Rodwell at Riis Park beach in New York City, circa Rodwell had arrived in New York to become a ballet dancer Instead hed become a radical In between hed tried to find his fit in the world as a gay man Many of his early experiences took him out on the streets of New York City In the late s and early s hed run with a crowd of other gay teens He and his friends wore the eras signature fashion for rebellious youths blue jeans For Rodwells crowd, the tighter the jeans the better We couldnt have them tight enough Literally We used to wash our jeans, he explained, soak them in hot water, to shrink them down for a snugger fitOften when they went out on the town, Rodwell and his friends added eyeliner and mascara to their eyes, deliberately marking themselves as gay It was a gesture of defiance Going wrecking, they called it Rodwell and company enjoyed the shock value their behavior had on the groups of straight teens who likewise toured the streets of the city Just holding hands in front of them, swishing by them, and being outrageous, upsetting them, explained Rodwell Such daring behavior could have provoked attacks or arrests, but the reward of startled reactions among straight bystanders made up for the risks Acting out also probably helped to release some of the anger and frustration that built from being treated as outsidersPraise for Stonewall Powerful, well researched An essential purchase School Library Journal,starred review Readers coming of age at a time when state after state is beginning to celebrate gay marriage will be astonished to return to a time when it was a crime for a man to wear a dress Enlightening, inspiring, and moving Kirkus,starred review A powerful and moving account Bausum s conversational storytelling whisks readers back to an era when homosexuality was criminalized Publishers Weekly,starred reviewBausum writes with the precision of a journalist there is never any doubt as to what she wonders, what she conjectures, and what she knows The resulting narrative integrity makes her observations and her conclusions about the persecution and resilience of the LGBTQ community all thepowerful Horn Book, starred reviewThis sobering history easily accommodates the complexity of a turning point in LGBTQ history, documentingyears of dramatic social change San Francisco Chronicle Comprehensive in its coverage, filled with important information, and compassionate in its tone It sheds welcome light on a subject that deserves greater coverage in YA literature BooklistThe writing is concise and clear, with a narrative style that is both compelling and passionate This important book by an award winning author is an essential purchase VOYAThis illustrated history lifts Stonewall from its customary footnote or chapter status into the YA book length treatment it deserves BCCB Stonewalltells an important story, and does it with style and passionmy favorite kind of nonfiction Steve Sheinkin, National Book Award Finalist and Newbery Honor winning author of Bomband The Port of ChicagoDo not read this book unless you want to learn about the oppression of gays and lesbians, discriminatory laws, and police who abuse their power Do not read this book unless you want to read about the pent up anger that ignited the Stonewall riots in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City Do not read this book unless you want to be swept away by the gay revolution that ultimately led to a strong, political cohesive community Ann Bausum gives us a gripping account of the Stonewall riots in this authoritative narrative Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Sibert Medalist and Newbery Honor winning author of Hitler Youthand Black Potatoes A driving beat pulses throughout Stonewall, propelling the narrative forward Bausum masterfully grounds readers in historical context while dropping them right in the heartand the heatof the moment Tanya Lee Stone, Sibert Medalist and NAACP Image Award winning author of Courage Has No Color Told with skill and humanity, this story of the Stonewall uprising and its aftermath adds an important piece to the annals of social justice history in young adult literature Sue Macy, award winning author of Wheels of Changeand Sally Ride Life on a Mission Awards and Accolades for Ann Bausum Sibert Honor Jane Addams Childrens Book Award Carter G Woodson Award SCBWI Golden Kite Award A triumph on three fronts educational, emotional, and inspirational Booklist,starred reviewof Stubby the War Dog Bausum s narrative style is fresh, engrossing, and at times heart stopping School Library Journal,starred reviewof Freedom RidersBausum makes the history live as she explains, exhorts, and lets nothing drop by the wayside Excellent Kirkus,starred reviewof With Courage and Cloth Bausum is one of my absolute favorite nonfiction writers, for both her politics and her impeccable prose The YALSA Hubon Marching to the Mountaintop From the Hardcover edition