Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC (SDNYC)
Contact: [email protected]
PO Box 514, Old Chelsea Station
New York, New York 10113
SDCNYC was founded in 1986 as the first and only citywide LGBT Democratic organization in New York City. We continue to advocate for legislation that guarantees equality and fairness for the LGBT community in NYC. The organization is named in honor of the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969, the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. In 1969, New York’s gay community decided to fight back against the ongoing routine of police harassment and arrest of gay men, lesbians, and transgender people in Greenwich Village. On the night of June 27-28, 1969 a conflict erupted when the patrons of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, decided to stand up and fight to defend their rights to congregate at a gay bar. The battle with police went on for nearly a week and it eventually led to a new policy by New York City and the police department to stop harassing and arresting LGT people. The LGBT community burst out of the closet and this pivotal moment became known as “the hairpin heard around the world”. There was no looking back. The Stonewall Democratic Club was founded to continue to fight for all LGBT rights. The founders wanted to create a strong voice within the Democratic Party that would represent the interests and concerns of the LGBT community within the party. The goals were to influence elections, legislation, and policy on the city, state, and national levels of government. In New York City the year 1986 was mementos because it was the year the New York City Council finally passed the “Gay Rights Bill”. The bill was introduced every year for 15 years until it finally passed in 1986. That year, Peter Vallone Sr. was elected Majority Leader, later to be renamed Speaker, of the Council. Although he personally did not support the bill, he appointed enough Council Members to the General Welfare Committee who did support the bill so that it could be brought to the floor for a full vote of the Council. He agreed to allow members to vote their conscience. On March 20, 1986 the full Council passed the bill by a margin of 21-1. This new law prohibited discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation based on a person’s sexual orientation. Mayor Ed Koch, a supporter of the bill, signed it into law a few days later. The year 1986 was also the height of the AIDS epidemic. New York City became and continues to be the epicenter of the epidemic in the United States. In 1986, gay men in New York City were being decimated by this new disease. Many men became ill and very quickly, often within weeks or months, died terrible, painful deaths. AIDS forced our community to start to confront many difficult issues, life and death issues, including: health care, health insurance, domestic partner’s rights, hospital visitation, discrimination against people diagnosed or perceived to be infected with the HIV/AIDS, grief, and funerals, many funerals. AIDS forced even the most non-political people in our community to become political activists. Government and politicians held our survival in their hands and our community began to understand that voting, elections, government funding, and laws did matter.Activity status unknown.