The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets

The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets

This book is about the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous, often violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBTQ+) community in reaction to a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The Riots are attributed as the spark that ignited the LGBTQ+...

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Title:The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets
Author:Gayle E. Pitman
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The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets Reviews

  • Seema Rao

    Powerful ~ Informative ~ Compelling

    tl; dr: A well-written, thoroughly researched book about the Stonewall Riots, a 50-year-old police action against an LGTBQ+ space in New York City.

    This is an incredibly important book that I hope finds its ways into schools and libraries as well as homes. For many urban library children inclusion might be the norm, but fifty years ago, America was much less accepting. The story of Stonewall is told here in clear detail, with all the prejudice and sadness is st

    Powerful ~ Informative ~ Compelling

    tl; dr: A well-written, thoroughly researched book about the Stonewall Riots, a 50-year-old police action against an LGTBQ+ space in New York City.

    This is an incredibly important book that I hope finds its ways into schools and libraries as well as homes. For many urban library children inclusion might be the norm, but fifty years ago, America was much less accepting. The story of Stonewall is told here in clear detail, with all the prejudice and sadness is stark display. For LGBTQ+ middle schoolers and teens who perceive that acceptance is the norm, this book helps explain the struggle.

    Much of America, however, has not moved past the prejudice of 60s New York. And, this book is equally important for people in those communities. Their struggles are not alone. There are important, historical people, who struggled like them.

    I was particularly surprised by the quality of the writing. Often non-fiction is written in an unpalatable manner, particularly when academics write text for all ages. This book is very well-written. The prose feels compelling, though be warned, the problems and tragedy of Stonewall are not obscured. Stonewall was an American tragedy, and this book is ideal for anyone seeking a better understanding of how the 20th century was an era where Civil Rights were very much a struggle.

    I highly recommend this book for everyone, but particularly schools, libraries, and anyone who is or cares for an LGBTQ+ person. In other words, I recommend this book to everyone.

    Thank you to NetGalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Amy Layton

    I've read books about the Stonewall Riots before, but this was a whole other ballpark.  Instead of the usual dry, ambiguous factual information that authors tend to present alongside maps, Pitman presents the lead-up and aftermath of the Riots through pieces of evidence she calls "Objects".  Those objects are news clippings, photographs, buttons, testimonials, and even more. 

    She discusses movements such as the GLF and the Mattachine Society, and how they failed lesbians and trans folks and drag

    I've read books about the Stonewall Riots before, but this was a whole other ballpark.  Instead of the usual dry, ambiguous factual information that authors tend to present alongside maps, Pitman presents the lead-up and aftermath of the Riots through pieces of evidence she calls "Objects".  Those objects are news clippings, photographs, buttons, testimonials, and even more. 

    She discusses movements such as the GLF and the Mattachine Society, and how they failed lesbians and trans folks and drag queens.  How much of the liberation movement was focused on white, middle-class gay folks.  She discusses ambiguity of the Stonewall Riots, such as when Marsha P. Johnson showed up, and whether Storme Delarverie was actually present.  Not only that, but she discusses the lingo of the time, and how terms such as "transgender" were not really in existence, though those experiences were.  

    Filled to the brim with photographs and an additional timeline and citation section, this book certainly asserts its validity, and is written in a way that neither shies away from the difficulties nor overly dramatizes them--after all, this is a book perfect for middle grade students, and if they're part of the lgbt community, this book should inform and comfort them, not scare them!

    It's overall just a really great and informational text.  I learned a lot from it, and makes me even more excited for this coming June!

    Review cross-listed

    !

  • CrabbyPatty

    Geared for young readers, this history of the Stonewall Riots and the events leading up to them is fascinating. The author does a wonderful job of clearly setting out the history of the gay rights movement and its earlier incarnations (The Mattachine Society, the Gay Liberation Front, The Daughters of Bilitis, etc.). Slowly, but surely, the reader sees just how pivotal the Stonewall Riots were in creating public awareness of gay rights. I also like how the pictures of various objects give reader

    Geared for young readers, this history of the Stonewall Riots and the events leading up to them is fascinating. The author does a wonderful job of clearly setting out the history of the gay rights movement and its earlier incarnations (The Mattachine Society, the Gay Liberation Front, The Daughters of Bilitis, etc.). Slowly, but surely, the reader sees just how pivotal the Stonewall Riots were in creating public awareness of gay rights. I also like how the pictures of various objects give readers a picture of the times (old matchbooks, pictures of the early Stonewall Inn, protest posters, etc.)

    My only comment is that at times the text is repetitive with events described several times. But overall, this is an very good non-fiction book for young readers (and readers of all ages) who want a good understanding of the Stonewall Riots and their importance in our nation's history. 4 stars.

  • Kristen

    This was superbly done. Building a non-fiction LGBTQ+ section in my middle school library is somewhat of a challenge, but this book will go into the collection as soon as it's released.

    In 2008 my family and I visited New York, and my aging-hippy father desperately wanted to visit Greenwich Village and Bleecker Street--to walk where musicians he loved walked. When I explained to him the we could absolutely do that, but he s

    This was superbly done. Building a non-fiction LGBTQ+ section in my middle school library is somewhat of a challenge, but this book will go into the collection as soon as it's released.

    In 2008 my family and I visited New York, and my aging-hippy father desperately wanted to visit Greenwich Village and Bleecker Street--to walk where musicians he loved walked. When I explained to him the we could absolutely do that, but he should know that Greenwich Village was also a community full of LQBTQ+ businesses, bars, and restaurants. He replied, "Oh, right. We need to go check out Stonewall." (RIP, Daddy.)

    So I know a little bit about the Stonewall Riots (and not just because I also watched that one

    episode), but I learned so much from this little book. Focusing on photos, clippings, and other items from LGBTQ+ activism, Pitman gives us a pretty comprehensive history accessible to all. And it's not just Stonewall--Pitman goes back to the turn of the 20th century when brave men and women began standing up for themselves and takes us beyond the Stonewall Riots to the activist groups that paved the way.

  • Shauna Yusko

    Written like a museum curation walk-through.

  • Lou

    The Stonewall riots were a crucial, era-defining moment in the struggle for equality. In the early hours of June 28 1969, The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the West Village of Manhattan, became the epicentre of an event that changed the course of LGBT history.

    As the world celebrates 50 years since the riots and as Pride month (June) approaches, Pitman has compiled the known details into a book which is a lot less dry than its competitors. There is plenty of colour and the way it is structured keep

    The Stonewall riots were a crucial, era-defining moment in the struggle for equality. In the early hours of June 28 1969, The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the West Village of Manhattan, became the epicentre of an event that changed the course of LGBT history.

    As the world celebrates 50 years since the riots and as Pride month (June) approaches, Pitman has compiled the known details into a book which is a lot less dry than its competitors. There is plenty of colour and the way it is structured keeps youngsters engaged. Not only are there bold and beautiful illustrations throughout but there are newspaper clippings, photographs and interviews with some of the people who were key players in the LGBTQ+ movement.

    Although targeted at youngsters this is the perfect introduction to the mood leading up to the riots and what came after. It is an important topic, and despite not being part of the LGBTQ+ community myself I have many friends who are and I support the notion of equal rights for all. The book is a great way to see how far we've come in terms of acceptance, but we still have so much further to go.

    I feel strongly that children should be introduced to the existence of LGBTQ+ issues from a young age due to the horrendous prejudice I have witnessed when spending time with friends. This is an essential addition to the bookshelf in schools, libraries and home collections. Many thanks to ABRAMS Books for Young Readers for an ARC.

  • saskia

    This was my first active introduction to The Stonewall Riots and it was extremely engaging. Pitman contextualised the riots through recognising disturbances prior to Stonewall by detailing events leading up to the riots, the riots themselves, the aftermath as well as liberation. The most compelling aspect of this writing were the pieces of evidence presented by way of newspaper columns, accounts of individuals who witnessed the riots, images of gay power signs and leaflets advertising protests,

    This was my first active introduction to The Stonewall Riots and it was extremely engaging. Pitman contextualised the riots through recognising disturbances prior to Stonewall by detailing events leading up to the riots, the riots themselves, the aftermath as well as liberation. The most compelling aspect of this writing were the pieces of evidence presented by way of newspaper columns, accounts of individuals who witnessed the riots, images of gay power signs and leaflets advertising protests, etc.

    Pitman notes the divisive nature of many of the gay rights movements, excluding women and trans women especially. She highlights how the 1960s was a time of radical change, people no longer compelled by traditionalism disseminated through television adverts and laws that depicted the nuclear family as quintessentially moral and perfect. The civil rights movement had been kick-started decades earlier, women's liberation coincided alongside this movement and the lgbt movement too. While the details on the involvement of people of colour is not extensive where I would like to have seen more, Pitman identifies how little is factually known of exactly what happened on 28 June 1969; due to the tendency of memories to focus on the big things and to blur the details, which are always crucial, and not a lot of newspapers willing to cover the events, the basics are known but whether someone actually threw a brick, or who was actually there is not known.

    This was an engaging read told in a multi-media form, and while I cannot compare it to or documentations of the riots, I believe it to be very educational.

  • Brianna Carrasco

    As a person who's read almost every book and watched almost every movie imaginable about the Stonewall Riots, along with taking sexuality studies classes in college, a physically visiting the Stonewall monument myself, I wondered what new information I could possibly learn from this book. The answer was: absolutely nothing about the actual riots. But I was surprised to learn a few things about the state of the gay com

    As a person who's read almost every book and watched almost every movie imaginable about the Stonewall Riots, along with taking sexuality studies classes in college, a physically visiting the Stonewall monument myself, I wondered what new information I could possibly learn from this book. The answer was: absolutely nothing about the actual riots. But I was surprised to learn a few things about the state of the gay community before the Stonewall riots. It was interesting to learn about the history of Greenwich Village, various "homophile" groups, and tactics that activist groups would use to bring awareness to their causes. I loved how there were pictures, unfortunately--and I'm not sure if it's because this book was ARC--I couldn't see the majority of the pictures. There were just large white spaces where pictures were supposed to go.

    My complaint was how short the book was. The book talked about the gay community pre-Stonewall, the riots themselves, and then post-Stonewall. The part where the riot was actually discussed was incredibly short and underwhelming. The book also went off on small tangents, moving away from the timeline and talking about random figures in the community that were of "importance." I put important in brackets because some of these figures were just not important to me. One example is the small section of the book that talked about a man who was impaled on a fence outside a gay bar. The section literally ended with a sentence along the lines of, "Well, nothing more is known of this person... so yeah." The fact that I don't even remember this man's name signifies how insignificant I felt that piece of information was when the book should have been focusing more on describing the riots themselves.

    Overall, the book wasn't bad. It is a good book if you want to know more about Stonewall and don't know where to start. But it was a bit underwhelming, and besides the pictures, I don't think it brought a lot of new ideas to the table.

  • Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

    Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, New York City, so it's great to have a new middle grade title that does such a fantastic job of explaining the events of that week along with background information of the social constructs that lead to the riots.

    While there have always been LGBTQ+ individuals, society has dealt harshly with that population. There are still problems with how US society particularly deals with any number

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

    Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, New York City, so it's great to have a new middle grade title that does such a fantastic job of explaining the events of that week along with background information of the social constructs that lead to the riots.

    While there have always been LGBTQ+ individuals, society has dealt harshly with that population. There are still problems with how US society particularly deals with any number of different groups, but today's young readers probably do not realize how truly harsh the treatment has been in the past. A clear overview of this is presented, with an emphasis on how the 1950s saw an increase in the number of groups that formed to deal with the challenged the LGBTQ+ community faced.

    This was the first surprise for me. While my high school history classes ended with the Cold War, I am fairly well versed in history. Still, I had no clue that groups like the Mattachine Society (Gay men who wanted to work for their inclusion in mainstream society by adhering to very conservative rules regarding dress and behavior) and the Daughters of Bilitis (a Lesbian group dedicated to helping women find friends and promoting self-acceptance. Because society was so unaccepting, it was important for the LGBTQ+ community to help each other deal with society and also their own feelings of self worth. These were the only major groups that formed until the late 1960s.

    San Francisco was a rare place in the US that had laws that were more accepting of this culture, and Gay bars and clubs could operate legally there. This did not mean they weren't harassed by law enforcement, however. The general practice for raids on these clubs was to arrest people who did not have political connections and publish their names and addresses in the newspaper! This lead to the practice of not providing one's real name when joining organizations or having memberships; this becomes important later on.

    Pitman does a good job of not only describing historic events, but the cultural bias at the time and explaining how the convergence of these things led to the riots. Since the 1960s culture became increasingly more accepting of differences, the LGBTQ+ community felt frustrated at always being forced into the closet in order to be safe from harassment, and this frustration escalated into the events at the Stonewall Inn.

    Here's where it got REALLY interesting to me. While mainstream news media covered this event, even the Village Voice was very insensitive about the wording it used, and there didn't seem to be the video coverage we're so used to today. People were not interviewed immediately after, and Pitman points out that we are still not entirely sure what exactly happened during this time. Imagine! An event of this importance, during my lifetime, and we can't really prove a timeline of events or a roster of those involved! Once people started to discuss this event more openly, in the 1980s and 1990s, many of the participants known to be there had passed away. If for no other reason, the importance of recording historical events makes this book worth reading.

    Any LGBTQ+ issues are seen by some people to be inappropriate for middle grade, and this is such a hurtful stance. The Stonewall Riots is an important book covering previously ignored history, and is crucial in understanding the growing intersectionality of movements that we see in the news every day, and middle school and high school libraries have a responsibility to include it in their collections. There are only two things that might be of concern; at one point, the term sodomy is defined as "having sex with another man". In my experience, all middle schoolers have heard the phrase "have sex". Some of them know what it means; others have no clue. As long as the phrase is used and not explained, this should offend no one. The only other matter of concern would be the transcript of Sylvia Rivera's speech at the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, which mentions rape (but again, offers no description) and has many words bleeped out. This was not essential to understanding the Stonewall Riots themselves, although it did show their impact, and would not have been the way that I would have ended the narrative. Again, is not offensive or instructional and should not keep this book from being included in middle school collections. Still, it is important to know what is included in books in case parents or teachers have questions.

    My students have a great interest in LGBTQ+ issues, and it is important to have a variety of books that discuss current as well as past issues that face this community. If students are not able to find books like these, it sends a message that these are issues that cannot be discussed openly, which would take us right back fifty years. Our students deserve better.

  • Tucker

    Perfect timing for Pride Month!!

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