Biden and Elton John Celebrate the LGBTQ+ Movement in New York

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Biden and Elton John Celebrate the LGBTQ+ Movement in New York

Commemorating the Stonewall Riots

Joe Biden, accompanied by music legend Elton John, honored the inauguration of a historic site in New York on Friday dedicated to the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a significant event for the LGBTQ+ movement. This commemorative site pays tribute to those who, on the night of June 27-28, 1969, revolted against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar located in Greenwich Village.

A Relaxed and Inspired President

The day after a challenging televised debate with Donald Trump, President Joe Biden appeared more relaxed and energetic as he saluted the memory of the Stonewall activists. He stated, “You marked a turning point for civil rights in America and inspired millions of people around the world. Today, Stonewall remains a symbol of heritage and leadership for the LGBTQ+ community, especially for transgender women of color.”

He also added, “We are still fighting for the soul of America,” before inviting Elton John to take the stage.

A Place of Memory and Struggle

The Stonewall Riots, which spanned six nights, are considered the starting point of the modern movement for gay rights, giving birth to the first “Gay Pride” events. Today, the Stonewall Inn still stands and was designated a national monument by Barack Obama in 2016. As of Friday, a free museum has been added, allowing visitors to explore the history and legacy of the site.

Mark Segal, one of the participants in the riots, expressed his emotion: “Just as Americans can visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, or the Statue of Liberty, we can now honor a place where we began fighting for our freedom, our rights, and our equality.”

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A Historic First for National Parks

This is the first time in the United States that a site managed by the National Park Service is dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community. Elton John, an icon of this movement, emphasized that “the work is not finished” in the face of the ongoing repression of homosexuality in many countries.

Elton John’s Performance

At 77, Elton John, who officially retired from performing in 2023 after a triumphant tour, offered a mini-recital to the guests. He performed three songs, including “I’m Still Standing” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” which he dedicated to his friend Larry Kramer, co-founder of the organization Act Up, who passed away in 2020, as well as to “all the LGBTQ+ people who came before us and paved the way for us to be where we are today.”

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