Reflecting on STONEWALL at 50

Holly Lynch New Yorker Logo
Holly Lynch New Yorker Logo
Holly Lynch New Yorker

Reflecting on STONEWALL at 50

Holly Lynch: Citizen Advocate
June 24, 2019

The LGBTQ+ community is unique as a minority because it stems from our families. LGBTQ+ children are born to straight families. LGBTQ+ parents produce straight children. We are their family and they are ours. In short: we are one. 

When I think of the LGBTQ+ community, what comes to mind is “my family.” The one I was actually born into was pretty conservative and Catholic. And I was always the open- minded oddball in that narrow world. 

But then nearly 20 years ago, my true family found me. More specifically my best friend Hector Rojas found me, and I’ve felt the warm embrace of the LGBTQ+ community ever since. 

I could have never guessed how much my understanding of love and support would be radically transformed. In a short time, I was, standing in line for the AIDS fundraising efforts of Broadway Bares, Equity Fights AIDS. Then onto my first encounter with the perfect functioning of non-gendered bathrooms at Therapy, leather parties at Raw Hide, and endless Madonna and GaGa concerts. My eyes and heart were opening to a family that would accept and carry me just like I accepted and carried them. I was no longer alone. I had an extended family of humans who didn’t have to be identical to me to love me.
 
“We have to come together as a people, as a country and as a community,” said Leo Preziosi --- Founder and ED of LiveOutLoud. I couldn’t agree more. 

I’d never felt a more open love and acceptance of my frailty, limitations, and “otherness.” My new family and I, we shared our vulnerabilities openly along with our heartbreaks and financial challenges. And for the first time in my life, I felt safe. I felt how I wanted others to feel. How I wanted others to be welcomed. And I believe that is at the core of the LGBTQ+ community: compassion for our fellow humans. That’s what I was taught by Hector and my rainbow-colored family, how to love my neighbors and how to be loved. 

“A friend of mine had a party in Central Park last week,” said Loren Ruch, Group SVP of Production & Development for HGTV and a LiveOutLoud Board Member. “And when you looked around there were gay men, gay 
women, straight couples, straight singles— people with children and I was like ‘this is the way the world is supposed to be.’” 

The STONEWALL Riots erupted only 50 years ago. And this year, as STONEWALL turns 50, it’s astounding to realize how that name and its founding community has become synonymous with the Equal Rights and activism of and for all. No other movement has made such strides towards universal inclusion and equity. So as we reflect on what the LGBTQ+ community has accomplished and how profoundly it’s changed us as a city, state, society and country -- for the better, I’d like to thank the family who embraced me and asked nothing in return. A true expression of love and humanity. Because we’re family. Happy World Pride 2019!

Holly Lynch New Yorker
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