>> Obama declares Stonewall Inn the first national monument to LGBT rights
Le président américain Barack Obama a déclaré vendredi monument national le site historique des émeutes de Stonewall à New York, considérées comme le catalyseur du mouvement pour les droits LGBT aux Etats-Unis.
Situé dans le quartier de Greenwich Village, le bar d'origine a fermé en 1969. Mais en 1990, un autre établissement a ouvert dans la moitié ouest (53 Christopher Street). Rénové en 2007, il sera renommé en « Stonewall Inn ».
"Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights." —President Obama https://t.co/PhswSyKsub
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) 24 juin 2016
Le site, qui englobe ainsi le bar et ses environs immédiats sur quelque trois hectares, est le « premier monument national honorant les droits de la communauté LGBT », a précisé la Maison Blanche dans un communiqué.
C'est au Stonewall Inn qu'avaient en effet éclaté le 28 juin 1969 des émeutes, après une descente de police en pleine nuit pour faire appliquer une loi qui interdisait à l'époque la vente d'alcool aux homosexuels.
Les clients avaient refusé de montrer leurs papiers ou de se rendre aux toilettes pour qu'un policier puisse vérifier leur sexe. La foule avait grossi, refusé de se disperser et les émeutes s'étaient étendues aux rues voisines. Les jours suivants, manifestations et confrontations avec la police s'étaient poursuivies. Le petit parc voisin, Christopher Park était rapidement devenu le lieu de rassemblement pour exprimer les revendications de la communauté.
Il l'est toujours, ainsi que le Stonewall Inn. C'est là que des milliers de personnes se sont d'ailleurs rassemblées après le massacre de 49 personnes au Pulse à Orlando le 12 juin dernier, ainsi que pour fêter la décision de la Cour suprême américaine légalisant le mariage pour tous en 2015.
Christopher Park, le Stonewall et leurs environs immédiats étaient classés site national historique depuis l'an 2000. Le monument national Stonewall relèvera du service des parcs nationaux.
>> Barack Obama announced on Friday that the Stonewall National Monument will be created outside the Stonewall Inn in New York where gay men, lesbians and drag queens reacted to a police raid in 1969 with a riot that spread and turned into the gay rights movement in America and around the world.
Obama confirmed the widely expected news that he was designating the first ever national monument to the LGBT equality movement as many cities around the US are preparing for their annual Pride parades this weekend, while still mourning the massacre of 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando less than two weeks ago.
« The riots became protests, the protests became a movement, the movement ultimately became an integral part of America, » Obama said in a voiceover to a video released on Friday that includes the faces and voices of activists from both the Stonewall era and today.
He declared Stonewall the newest addition to the National Park system, which « should reflect the full story of our country. That we are stronger together, » he said.
The tiny public garden opposite the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park, has been officially declared part of the site of the new national monument, which also covers the surrounding streets and the bar itself, which has been protected and preserved as a National Historic Landmark since 2000.
Obama issued a statement on Friday describing the park as « a place for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to assemble for marches and parades, expressions of grief and anger, and celebrations of victory and joy”.
« It played a key role in the events often referred to as the Stonewall Uprising or Rebellion, » he added.
The statement recounted the events of the early hours of 28 June 1969, when a handful of openly gay patrons fought back against an especially aggressive raid on the bar by the police.
When days later a spontaneous protest march began outside the bar and went all the way to Central Park while many onlookers shouted slurs, the modern pride march was born.
New York, San Francisco, Houston and many other cities are holding their pride parades this weekend and security has been tightened amid threats and fear in the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub on Latin night in Orlando in the early hours of Sunday 12 June.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a leading national pressure group for gay equality, said that the announcement of the new national monument was « especially significant » in the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy.
« The Stonewall National Monument will pay tribute to the brave individuals who stood up to oppression and helped ignite a fire in a movement to end unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBTQ people, » said Chad Griffin, the HRC president.
He paid tribute to « Obama’s leadership » in recognizing the struggles and achievements of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
A statement from the White House on Friday included a prominent reminder that Obama had paid tribute to the gay rights movement alongside the fight for women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement for racial equality, when he mentioned Stonewall during his inaugural address in 2013.
« From major legislative achievements to historic court victories to important policy changes, the president has fought to promote the equal rights of all Americans – no matter who they are or who they love, » Friday’s statement continued.
However, Obama equivocated about the issue of same-sex marriage for years before finally coming out publicly in support in 2012.
But he pushed for the end of the ban on gays serving openly in the military, and supported and applauded the knocking down of the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013.
And when the supreme court made same sex marriage legal across the nation this time last year, the White House was illuminated in the rainbow colors associated with the gay equality movement and pride parades the world over.
That decision coincided with the annual season of pride marches in 2015.
In contrast, this year’s parades have been heavily overshadowed by the tragedy in Orlando, but the news of the Stonewall National Monument gave a fillip to activists still stunned by the massacre.
Fredd E Tree, widely known as Tree, was a bartender at the Stonewall Inn on the night of the police raid. He said he was in another iconic old gay bar in the Village, Julius, on Friday afternoon when he heard the news from the White House about the new national monument.
« It’s fabulous. There will be thousands outside the bar celebrating later. I’ll wear my sash that says ‘Stonewall veteran’. Pride is going to be absolutely huge this year. I’m so proud. Orlando was disgusting, but I love the fact that our president is so gay-friendly, » he said.
Interior secretary Sally Jewell visited the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park and the web of tiny streets around the area in the Greenwich Village, or West Village, neighborhood of New York City last month as word spread that the president had more or less made up his mind to designate the environs as a national park or national monument.