LGBT rights organization holds Stonewall riots commemoration at Capitol

Selah Maya Zighelboim

The Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation paid tribute to the 46th anniversary of the Stonewall riots with its fifth annual Stonewall Rally on Thursday evening.

The celebration, held on the steps of the Texas State Capitol, included speakers who talked about LGBT issues and history, and read accounts from participants of the Stonewall riots.

The Stonewall riots marked the beginning of the LGBT rights movement in 1969, when a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village of New York City, resulted in riots.

“I feel that Stonewall riots are about far more than just gay rights,” said MeChelle Marco, a speaker at the event. “They’re about our human rights. After all, we are human beings.”

Drag queens have played a large part in the movement towards LGBT equality, notably by leading the first demonstrations during the Stonewall riots. Drag culture was also present at the event Thursday, as drag queens performed song-and-dance numbers between each speech.

"Stonewall really cemented the idea that drag is punk and subversive," said Althea Trix, a drag queen who performed at the event. "We should be able to dress how we want, and drag is the ultimate ‘f*ck you’ to society."

Speakers at the event also brought up a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage, before the Supreme Court released their decision early Friday upholding same-sex marriage as a Constitutional right in the U.S.

Many participants at the event said they believe the court will decide to make same-sex marriage legal in every state, based on current trends around the country.

“I think the Supreme Court will rule in favor of gay marriage and any legislation against it will be shut down,” AGLPF board member Ty Hunter said. “It’s just a feeling I have, with the day and age and how many states have already approved it. This is really just about getting the last few states on board.”

Sgt. John Sisson, who attended the celebration, married his husband in San Francisco four- and-a-half years ago. He said he hopes the Supreme Court rules bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, so he can be legally married in Texas.

“I’m ecstatically waiting for this decision,” Sisson said. “We just want to be recognized. We’re going to get registered as soon as we can.”

The event ended with a final drag queen performance — the group danced and lip-synced along to “We Are Family” and encouraged the attendants to join them on the steps of the Capitol.

“We are all in this together,” AGLPF President Paul Huddleston said just before the final drag performance. “That is what was felt the night of the Stonewall riots, and that is what should be continued to this day. We are all fighting for the same thing — to be treated equal.”