This Symposium on the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion presents the opportunity to evaluate the regulation and deregulation of gender and sexuality in public space. In 1969, LGBTQ people erupted against policing, harassment, and exclusion in public spaces. While they had engaged in earlier, smaller protests and reforms, Stonewall ignited a mass gay liberation movement and sparked popular awareness of LGBTQ people’s civil rights struggles. LGBTQ activists demanded their rights to express identity, associate with one another, and engage in queer behavior. That same year, the newly burgeoning feminist movement also launched protests and called for women’s equality in public accommodations—the legal term of art for places open to the public.1 These groups shared a history of regulation. Customary business practices, the discriminatory administration of liquor licensing laws, and limited protections against discrimination all denied LGBTQ people and heterosexual women alike the freedoms that heterosexual men enjoyed in public space. As they resisted this regulation, LGBTQ people and cisgender women won mutually reinforcing legal reforms.
Elizabeth Sepper & Deborah Dinner,
Shared Histories: The Feminist and Gay Liberation Movements for Freedom in Public,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol54/iss3/5