*The documentary ‘Beyond Stonewall’ airs Thursday, July 4th at 10 pm on the Smithsonian Channel and rebroadcasts Thursday, July 25th at 7 pm ET.
By Shantae Taylor
This week marked 50 years since the LGBT community took a stand against the police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. This historical event took place on June 28, 1969 and was followed by riots known as the Stonewall Riots.
Philadelphia native and Philadelphia Gay News founder, Mark Segal, was present during the raid and says The Stonewall Inn would serve gay individuals when the community was not supported.
“I was inside the bar when it was raided and was there for the riot,” Segal said. “In the state of New York, you could not serve to a known gay individual. They knew that openly gay people were coming to this bar. The police came in and roughed up patrons.”
In retaliation, the LGBT community decided to protest and demand inclusion.
“Once I got outside the bar, we started to fight back,” Segal continued. “We imprisoned them and they couldn’t escape. We were invisible and considered immortal. We were a new generation and demanded inclusion.”
Segal said that there were only around 100 gay people officially out at the time.
“Within the first year, we took the entire community from 100 to 1500,” he said. “Before the Stonewall Movement, our community was segregated. This created a new gay rights movement.”
New York City held their first Gay Pride parade in 1970, and the month of June was declared as Pride Month to recognize the LGBT community throughout the country.
Segal not only served as a marshall in the first march, but he also founded the Philadelphia Gay News, the oldest, weekly LGBT publication in the United States.
“My goal was to report news that affects our community,” he said. “My mission has been the same — to give voice to every segment in our community. I have a passion for what I believe in.”
To find out more information about the Philadelphia Gay News publication, please visit: http://www.epgn.com/.