Today is June 26th, and tomorrow is June 27th, and after midnight tomorrow night, one hour into June 28th, we will be into the forty-third anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. If you stay up one hour past midnight, it will be exactly forty-three years since Lt. Pine led his cops into the Stonewall Inn. 
I could say I don’t know why I am so moved by the story of the Stonewall riots. I choke up just reading about it. I know about the history before Stonewall, about the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis and the riots on the West Coast, and I know about Frank Kameny. I’ve read, over and over, about the big woman and her part in the riots—she was the first person to really fight back—and about the anonymous kid (just about everybody agrees it was a kid) who, when watching the big woman fight her fight so heroically, cried out, “Help her!” And they did, and that’s when it started. But that doesn’t add up to why I am so moved by the story of Stonewall. 
The reason I’m so moved is that I think I know what it must have been like to be a person who had never fought before and was so furious that he waded into that mob and didn’t care what happened so long as he was fighting back. When the time came for me to come out, I was afraid that the people I loved most at that time would cease to love me. I felt I was about to lose every thing that mattered to me, and every person who mattered to me, and I was afraid it was going to hurt, and I wouldn’t be able to stand the pain. Yet I went ahead and did it. I took a breath and laid it all out and refused to waiver. I just refused to say anything but, “I’m gay, and nothing’s going to change that.” And that gave me courage. 
It was days, weeks, months, a year, before the pressure eased up and I began to realize that I’m going to survive. They fought at Stonewall, and when my time came, I fought too, and when I read about Stonewall, it’s as if I’m back there, and I know how it feels to fight and be afraid and yet to fight anyway.