The Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights Started 3 Years Before the Stonewall Uprising

The Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights Started 3 Years Before the Stonewall Uprising

We all know the Stonewall Uprising happened in New York City in 1969, but did you know there was a riot three years earlier in San Francisco? The history books seemed to have left that out.



Let's learn about the Compton Cafeteria Riots that happened in 1966 in San Francisco, which was an historic act of Trans resistance. Reporting from The Guardian:

In 1966, three years before the world-famous Stonewall riot in New York, a group of trans women in San Francisco stood up to police inside Gene Compton’s Cafeteria, an all-night restaurant in the Tenderloin neighborhood and popular queer gathering spot. A trans woman fed up with the harassment and abuse is said to have thrown a cup of coffee in an officer’s face, sparking a chaotic riot and unprecedented moment of trans resistance to police violence.

The Tenderloin is a downtown San Francisco neighborhood that was frequented by Trans women of color. It is about two miles from the well-known gay district, the Castro, which was a haven for gay white men.

The police would harass these women and arrest them for "crimes" like female impersonation or obstructing the sidewalk. They got fed up with the police and threw sugar shakers at them, broke all windows, and cause all heck to break loose. 

Collette LeGrande, who's a drag performer who visited Compton's as a teen, is quoted, "For the average LGB person … Stonewall is the beginning of the actual movement for them. But for the transgender girls, it’s Compton’s Cafeteria."

So, now we know that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is a story that's straight outta Compton.


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