The Stonewall Riots

WARNING: Some of the information you’ll learn about The Stonewall Riots is sensitive in nature. This block might not be appropriate for everyone. If you are young or easily upset by references to violence, then you should check with your grown ups before going any further.

Some of the content includes violence and mention of mature subject matter. 

The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising or Stonewall Rebellion, was a collection of demonstrations by the LGBTQ+ community in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, New York City, New York, USA. The event is widely considered a catalyst of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement and led to the creation of the Gay Liberation Front. To commemorate the one year anniversary of Stonewall, members of the LGBTQ+ community marched on the streets of New York in America’s first Pride parade. 

There are two videos to choose from to learn about the Stonewall Riots.

The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to test your understanding by taking the quiz!

High school students or any student who wants to dig deeper, continue your study with one of the advanced learning projects located at the end of this learning block!

Take A Deeper Dive!


Make a Protest Sign

The Stonewall Riots were part of a larger collection of demonstrations for LGBTQ+ rights. Imagine you are preparing to participate in a march or demonstration. Create a poster with a slogan that gives a voice to your idea and may inspire others to join your cause.

You will need

  • A large piece of paper or bristol board
  • A Pencil
  • Markers or coloured pencils

Keep these ideas in mind when creating a poster:

  • Be brief
  • Use large letters
  • Use bright colours that contrast well with your paper
  • Use a symbol or simple picture for added interest

Save your poster to your portfolio.

Make a Rainbow Friendship Bracelet

Pride Month is celebrated in June each year in the United States and many other countries around the world. Make these rainbow friendship bracelets for you and your family to wear to celebrate your LGBTQ+ community. 

You will need 12 threads of coloured floss or thin yarn in 6 rainbow colours (two threads of each colour). Cut each thread 100 cm long (3 ft). You can use clear tape to secure your bracelet while you are making it. 

Add a picture to your portfolio when you are finished.

Make a Pride Flag

To make your own Pride flag to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride, you will need:

  • Coloured paper: You can use purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, brown, black or watch this video to see the options for other LGBTQ+ pride flags
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Popsicle stick or wooden dowel
  • Optional: clear tape to secure flag to wooden stick

Rmeember to include a photo of you waving your flag in your portfolio!


Make a Mini Pride Parade Float

Make a mini float to celebrate Pride month and the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. You will need:

  • Cardboard (this can even be a facial tissue box)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Coloured paper
  • Paper and pencil
  • Miscellaneous other craft supplies to make your float stand out!

Or, maybe you’d like to make one out of Lego. Check out this video of LegoLand’s mini Pride parade.

Remember to include a photo of your pride float in your portfolio!

Advanced Projects

Choose at least one.

Take a More Critical Look at the Events of the Stonewall Rebellion

Watch the video The Stonewall You Know Is a Myth. And That’s O.K.

Think about the role of truth and myth in our understanding of history and in inspiring our social movements.

Choose a thesis for your essay that relates to the role of truth in history.

Use this outline for a 5 paragraph essay to help you construct an essay supporting your thesis.

Be sure to use a tool like Grammarly to help improve and edit your writing.

Upload your essay to your portfolio.

Preserve a Story From an LGBTQ+ Elder in Your Community

Watch a unique film that was created for the OutLoud project that combines interviews from participants at Stonewall with young performers from the LGBTQ+ community

Stories from people in the LGBTQ+ community have often been left out of our history books. Record a story from an LGBTQ+ elder in your life to help preserve this history.

Use the toolkit of questions from OutLoud to prepare your interview.

You can view other stories from the Stonewall OutLoud project on StoryCorps’ Youtube channel.

Save to your portfolio when you are finished.

Additional Videos

Stonewall Forever – A Documentary about the Past, Present and Future of Pride

Stonewall Forever is a documentary from NYC’s LGBT Community Center directed by Ro Haber. The film brings together voices from over 50 years of the LGBTQ rights movement to explore queer activism before, during and after the Stonewall Riots. (Warning: video contains coarse language and references to violence.)

50 years after Stonewall, Why So Many LGBTQ people are ‘Still Grieving’

During the era of 1969’s Stonewall Riots, police raids against LGBTQ establishments were common. But when Stonewall patrons fought back, the modern gay rights movement was launched. On Stonewall’s 50th anniversary, Judy Woodruff gets perspective from Reverend Emma Chattin, activist and journalist George Johnson, The Anti-Violence Project’s Beverly Tillery, and Mark Segal of Philadelphia Gay News.

Documentary: How Stonewall Became Famous

Cheryl Furjanic’s new Op-Doc, “Stonewall: The Making of a Monument” traces that history, exploring the process by which a chaotic street fight in protest of police brutality has been engraved into history in the form of a national monument. Furjanic’s film, built from a chorus of voices and archival footage, is also a case study in how mainstream acceptance can ironically be a mixed blessing for political movements, as people struggle to control their own history.

The True Story Behind The Stonewall Riots

Fifty years on from the landmark Stonewall Riots, the circumstances for NYC’s LGBT+ culture have changed exponentially. i-D speaks to eyewitnesses from the riot and members of the elderly LGBT+ community at New York’s Sage Centre. ⁣

The Sound of Pride: Stonewall at 50

A podcast series that celebrates queer stories and voices. Kathy Tu and Tobin Low host a special series of episodes that explore how this moment in history—and the setbacks and achievements that followed—have shaped the LGBTQ experience today.

You can find this series on NPR’s website.

Preview of Stonewall Uprising (available on PBS)

American Experience, Season 3, Episode 9 (preview)


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Read Aloud Book

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