Stonewall_Inn_1969
Stonewall Inn, June 27, 1999
by Andrew Jeter

It took me a long path
to get there—
sitting on a bar stool
clouded with the mildewy
haze of spilled opportunities
and lost drinks,
pulling at a watery beer
as midday’s sun hunkered
over revelers on the street,
cauterizing all the dark
that once protected us
from the greedy eyes
of men in blue
who pushed until
we said,
“Enough.”

Although I rarely feel it
anymore, that day with
the bad beer and
daytime pilgrimage
to the nighttime place
nerved my skin like the first time
I told someone,
“I’m me.”

PHOTO: Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher Street, New York City by Diana Davies (courtesy of the New York Public Library).

EDITOR’S NOTE:
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the LGBT community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Patrons of the Stonewall Inn, as well as other lesbian and gay bars, along with neighborhood street people, fought back when the raid turned violent. The riots are considered a critical event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States. Pride Month takes place in June to commemorate Stonewall. (Source: Wikipedia)

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Being stuck at home means I’ve spent a lot of time traveling in my memories. This Pride Month reminded me of another June when I was made mindful that Pride isn’t just about parades and flags, but about our journeys and destinations.

PHOTO: The author during his travels.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew Jeter has taught high school writing and film for 17 years and holds a BA in English and Creative Writing, a Masters in English Education, and a PhD in English Composition & Applied Linguistics. He has lived on four continents with five dogs and one husband and currently splits his time between Chicago, Illinois, and Saugatuck, Michigan. Visit him at andrewjeter.org.