50 years later, Farmington LGBTQ community commemorates Stonewall and looks to the future

Here's a look at upcoming Pride Month events

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
  • Shiprock's Chieftain Pride receives Sacredness Before Stonewall Award from Diné Pride.
  • Farmington's Pride Parade will be June 15 in downtown.

FARMINGTON — Students, college employees and community members gathered at the San Juan College student activities center on June 12 to create tie dye shirts.

The tie dye shirts were one of several events the college has planned to celebrate Pride Month. Some of the shirts will be worn during the annual Pride Parade, which happens on June 15.

June marks Pride Month, which is a time to recognize the contributions of LGBTQ people in the community and the world.

This year's Pride Month events reflect on the past as the country commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots.

Lucy Livingston tie dyes a shirt, Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at San Juan College.

Pride events include presentation about the history of Stonewall

The world has changed for LGBTQ people in the 50 years since the Stonewall uprising in New York City, however sexual and gender minorities still face challenges.

Farmington LGBT Pride co-chair MP Schildmeyer said the theme of this year’s Pride Month celebrations is “50 years since Stonewall: We’ve only just begun.”

Schildmeyer and Kath Browning will present a history of Stonewall at 6 p.m. June 13 at Identity Inc., 204 W. Main St. in Farmington.

LGBTQ Pride flags are displayed in the student center, Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at San Juan College.

Schildmeyer said in 1969 police raided a gay bar in Greenwich Village in New York City known as Stonewall Inn. These raids were not uncommon at gay bars throughout the country, she said.

Schildmeyer saw similar raids while living in Atlanta, Georgia, at that time.

“We were being raided constantly by the police at most of the bars in the city,” Schildmeyer said.

What made Stonewall unique was how the bar patrons responded.

“What they did was simply fight back against the police,” Schildmeyer said.

When police raided the bar in the early morning hours on June 28, 1969, the patrons refused to disperse. Instead, they threw objects at the police and began chanting. Police said they were raiding the bar because it was operating without a liquor license.

This violent uprising is considered the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, and Stonewall Inn is now recognized as a national monument.

Constance Taylor shows Faron Lewis how tie dye a shirt, Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at San Juan College in Farmington.

Diné Pride hosts celebration in Window Rock

The anniversary of the Stonewall uprising coincides with the largest Native American Pride celebration in the United States. Diné Pride will have a two-day celebration in Window Rock, Arizona.

Diné Pride Chief Operation Officer Alray Nelson estimates more than 4,500 people will attend the largest Native American Pride Month celebration in the country. Nelson said people from Canada and New York, as well as other parts of the United States, are flying in to nearby airports to travel to Window Rock for the celebration.

"You can really feel that excitement," he said.

This year's theme is Sacredness Before Stonewall. Nelson said Stonewall was an important milestone in the shared LGBTQ history, but people should not forget to acknowledge the LGBTQ and two spirit people who lived in Native communities before colonialism.

Nelson said even before Stonewall the Diné people and other Native American communities were honoring transgender men and women and respecting same-sex marriage. 

The two-day event on June 28 and June 29 includes a symposium, opening reception, Queer showcase, festival and an after party that features indigenous LGBTQ performers from around the country.

Nelson said the Navajo Nation Council Chambers will be lit up with rainbow colors similar to when President Barack Obama lit the White House up for Pride Month. The rainbow lighting will happen at 9 p.m. June 28.

Shiprock High School’s Chieftain Pride will be honored as a recipient of the Sacredness Before Stonewall Award during the celebration. Chieftain Pride formed in 2018 and provides a safe place for LGBTQ students at Shiprock High School.

Rep. Sharice Davids

Diné Pride will also celebrate champions like U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, who became the first openly gay Kansan elected to Congress as well as one of the first Native American women to serve in that capacity. 

More information is available at navajonationpride.com.

Other Pride Month events

Lip Sync Contest: The local members of “The Vagina Monologues” will host a lip sync contest starting at 7 p.m. June 14 at Identity Inc. The proceeds will benefit the LGBTQ community center. There is a $15 admission fee and songs must be from the early 2000s.

Fourth Annual Pride Parade: Parade line up begins at 10 a.m. June 15 near Church’s Chicken at the intersection of West Main Street and Lake Street. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. and the route will travel east on Main Street to the intersection with Butler Avenue. Parade entry is free.

Party in the Park: Following the Pride Parade, LGBTQ people and allies can gather in Berg Park from noon to 4 p.m. June 15 to celebrate Pride Month. Merchants and organizations are invited to set up vendor booths, however Farmington NM LGBTQ Pride Inc. will deny participation to vendors who are not LGBTQ friendly.

Queen’s Riot: Capacity Builders is sponsoring a drag show from 5 to 9 p.m. June 15 at San Juan Center for Independence on San Juan Boulevard.

Born this Way Pride Dance: Farmington Pride will host a dance from 8 p.m. June 15 to 1 a.m. June 16 at Artifacts Gallery, 302 E. Main St. Admission is $10 and there will be a cash bar.

Film viewing: People are invited to watch “Two Spirits” — a film about gender and sexuality in Native American culture — from noon to 2 p.m. June 20 in the Sun Lounge at San Juan College.

Drag show: The GLAMOURELAND drag review featuring Alice Glamoure will be from 8:30 to 10 p.m. June 22 in the San Juan College Little Theater.

LGBTQ panel: A question and answer session will be from noon to 1 p.m. June 26 in the Student Sun Lounge at San Juan College.

HIV Testing: Free HIV testing will be available on National HIV Testing Day from noon to 4 p.m. June 27 in the parking lot of the public health office located at 355 S. Miller Ave.

Be Proud Color Run: A 5K color run will be one of the Diné Pride events this year. The color run will start at 9 a.m. June 29 with registration at 8 a.m. in the Window Rock Veterans Memorial Park. The color run will be followed by Pride Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the same location.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.