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7 LGBTQ Uprisings Before Stonewall

The Stonewall Riots of 1969 are arguably the most famous and impactful uprisings for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) rights. But they are not the first LGBTQ+ uprising by far. Various smaller uprisings preceded Stonewall—some by over a decade—to push back against harassment, often from police, and inequality.

1. 1958: Los Angeles – Cooper Do-Nuts Riot

After nearby bars closed, a 24-hour Main Street donut café became the site of a large riot one morning in May 1958. “Two cops, ostensibly checking ID, a routine harassment, arbitrarily picked up two hustlers, two queens and a young man just cruising and led them out,” novelist and one of the hustlers John Rechy said in his book City of Night.

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