“Where were you during the Christopher Street Riots?” asks a Mattachine Society poster displayed on the wall of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.
Don’t think too hard. They are better known as the 1969 Stonewall riots, when a routine police raid of the Stonewall Inn gay bar sparked an unprecedented week of riots protesting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer discrimination. You probably were not born yet when they occurred. But 50 years later, the New York Public Library’s (NYPL) new exhibit “Love and Resistance: Stonewall at 50” invites us to look back on decades of LGBTQ history and consider where we are today.
The exhibit is divided into four sections: “Resistance,” “In Print,” “Bars” and “Love.” They center around stills taken by photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, who largely documented the events of the Stonewall era. Sprinkled among their work are letters, pamphlets, magazine covers, drawings, invitations and posters that create a vivid portrait of the decade that inspired the form of modern LGBTQ movements.