Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the first out lesbian elected to Congress, recognized on Thursday the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in a speech on the Senate floor that reflected on major progress of the LGBT rights movement.
“When we look back at the Stonewall uprising and activism that grew out of that moment, even the most basic progress seemed like it would take a revolution to achieve,” Baldwin said. “So we had one.”
The riots came about, Baldwin said, after “a few brave individuals” at the Stonewall Inn tired of police raids in the heat of the turmoil of the 1960s decided to take action.
In particular, Baldwin named Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, transgender women of color who were key figures in the riots.
“The Stonewall uprising empowered thousands of LGBTQ individuals to emerge from shadows and come out publicly as they stood up for their community the night of June 28, 1969 and beyond, putting their lives and their safety at risk,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin delivered the speech after introducing a bipartisan resolution to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). In the House, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) introduced a companion resolution this week.
“This resolution commends the bravery, solidarity, and resiliency of the LGBTQ community in the face of violence and discrimination, both past and present,” Baldwin said. “And it condemns violence and discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community and recommits itself to securing justice, equality, and well-being for LGBTQ people in our country.”