Stonewall’s legacy on our political stage
The Supreme Court’s current overturning of Roe vs. Wade is a worst-case example of equality’s fragility. Lentz echoes that younger folks must be reminded that rights could be taken away without warning. “I would argue that the political stage has been set just for this moment, and we will see rights taken away from marginalized communities starting with women and going from there, so they need to get inspired by learning about their history.”
Following the spirit of honoring the shoulders our community stands on, five legacies were added to the 50 names and histories inaugurated with the Wall of Honor during its inception, including pioneers Wilson Cruz, Mandy Carter, Marsha Botzer, Rev. Troy Perry, and Stuart Milk.
What really makes this legacy project unique is the diversity of stories it immortalizes. This year’s honorees were the openly gay composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim; Indian American LGBTQ leader, attorney, and author Urvashi Vaid; philanthropist and the first openly LGBT person to represent the United States as an ambassador, James Hormel; Lesbian reporter and feminist Dolores Alexander; and lastly, Tyler Clementi, a gay 18-year-old Rutgers University student who died by suicide following bullying and cyberbullying. He captured worldwide media attention and the tragedy inspired his family to create the Tyler Clementi Foundation, dedicated to creating a safe environment for all individuals to thrive.
Through Clementi’s death, the world bore witness that despite all the progress, there are countless adults, teens, and kids who would rather die than face the consequences of being themselves. Through his remembrance on the Wall of Honor, his visibility might prevent others from following the same fate.
During the ceremony, Queen Mother Murray Ramirez urged the queer community to find happiness and light in all the darkness. Owner Lentz says she finds moments of queer joy when she is with her incredible LGBTQ chosen family and through activism work in the community. “For me, there is nothing more fun than mixing nightlife and fighting for our rights. It’s a cool intersection where you get to have fun and do good at the same time, which is pure joy.”
Cathy Renna, the Task Force’s Communications Director, echoed this sentiment. “I think what we need to do for Pride – no matter what’s going on in the world – is celebrate our joy, celebrate our resilience, celebrate our diversity, and celebrate our community.”
Thanks to individuals like Ramirez, Lentz, and Renna, activists eager to help carry the torch of change and do the work, the Stonewall Inn will continue serving queer joy and weaponizing history to build a better future.