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About Stonewall. For gay, lesbian and bisexual activists, the word "Stonewall" signifies quite possibly the most important, single landmark in the worldwide struggle for gay rights. Most chroniclers of the homosexual rights movement trace the beginnings of the movement's militant phase to 1969 and New York's lower-Manhattan (largely gay-frequented) Stonewall Bar. There, for the first time on record, homosexual patrons fought back when Stonewall was raided one hot summer night by New York City policemen, who came hoping to arrest gay individuals for engaging in then illegal homosexual acts.
Eyewitnesses claim that the homosexual patrons' counter-riot began when one burly, Stonewall patron hurled a lidded, metal garbage can filled with empty liquor bottles through a police car window.
Ever since that night, Stonewall has been revered as an enduring symbol of the gay militant spark lit that night, which has become a gay/lesbian/bisexual militant conflagration setting America -- and the world -- aflame with gay rights issues and conflicts.
Source: Stone Wall Revisited