Journey to Pride with Vincent Astor

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Vincent Astor, who’s been an out gay man in Memphis for many years, is reporting from New York City this weekend for the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the World Pride Celebration. ‘Stonewall’ was a pivotal point in LGBTQ history. The event was one of the first big stances that the LGBTQ community made against police harassment in a time when it was illegal to be gay. The equality movement we see today all started in June of 1969 at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. For a better understanding of the history, take a look at this article by CNN  https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/28/us/1969-stonewall-riots-history/index.html. Then follow Vincent’s daily reports as he participates in the world celebration of Pride month.

Before New York: A Few Days in Washington D.C.

The tall woman is Frances E. Willard a temperance pioneer and the first women to have a statue here. The shorter statue is Rosa Parks, both in Statuary Hall in the Capitol. Next is the famous Portrait Monument to Suffrage in the Rotunda of the Capitol. Lucretia Mott, Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The fourth uncarved section is dedicated to their followers. All are portraits from life. Tennessee cast the final ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.Myself and Representative Steve Cohen. The House was voting but he found time to speak to me outside the House Chamber. I offered him a logo pin from OUTMemphis. He had me pin it to his lapel on the spot. He wore it on the House floor this afternoon.

New York

Day 4

Traveling to NYC. Arrived at Penn Station. Never seen so many rainbow flags in my life. Yes, some are mercenary, but what of it? Went down to the Stonewall to get the obligatory photos before it is mobbed.The Stonewall Inn. The window. The Historic Marker. The address is 53 Christopher St in West Greenwich Village.Me at the Stonewall for the 25th anniversary, 1994. Me at the Stonewall in 2019.The official National Park Service sign. The renaming of the park. The obligatory naked man–living statue. The actual memorial statues in the park.The Stonewall Inn is our nation’s first National Historic Landmark dedicated to our community of many letters. For other history buffs, this is Sheridan Square. The History of Sheridan Square – GVSHP | Preservation | Off the Grid. General Sheridan is still there but has been pretty much eclipsed by the Stonewall. I didn’t even take a picture.

Day 5The Rally & Other More Trivial Things

Ripley’s Believe it or not has this gorilla made out of tires and this car which is a high-heeled shoe. It runs (the car, not the ape). King Kong in a rainbow boa. Go figure. All right, girls, the AMC theatre lobby is the Empire Theatre which was moved down the street during the gentrification of 42nd St. It was originally named the Eltinge Theatre after the most famous female impersonator of the music hall era. Julian Eltinge

Got to the rally early at Waverly St. behind Sheridan Sq. Stood on the pavement for an hour waiting for it to start. Was right beside this women’s drum corps. Loud but extremely beautiful.

BTW, this date, June 28, is the actual anniversary of the first day of the riots, rebellion, or uprising. Take your pick. The organizers are calling it the Stonewall Uprising. Of course, they are also using a very long acronym LGBTQIA+. I’ll stick to “our community”. So sue me.Crowd pictures from down front. Some actual Stonewall veterans who were actually there. The Mayor of NYC Bill de Blasio, with a proclamation and also a serious warning about the rise of White Supremacy in the US. “Constant Vigilance!”, as Mad-Eye Moody would say. Our work is far from done.A drag trio, Stephanie’s Child, I believe, singing live. Audrey May and I found one another! Audrey May

Day 6 (Saturday): Chasing Rainbows

I rested up today but did take a turn around Times Square and 7th Avenue chasing rainbows. The Empire State Building was white tonight but is supposed to become rainbow. Maybe that was last night, several anniversaries are this weekend. Erm…something about the Mets and the World Series or something. Look for the signs. Macy’s is in here, Levis, T-Mobile (the longest rainbow right on the Times building) and others.Gotta get my beauty sleep–hope springs eternal….