This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a flash point in the LGBTQ rights movement. To commemorate the event, the New York Public Library has put together the Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 exhibit along with a number of events.
The exhibit features a collection of photos by photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies as well as numerous zines, flyers, posters, and other printed materials from the era. Walking through the exhibit, you’ll find it’s divided in different themes: the Stonewall Riots, Resistance, Bars, In Print, and Love.
I found the exhibit intriguing and deeply moving. Many of the photos are an intimate look into a movement that feels only recently paid attention to.
Most of the materials feature the 1970s, a period where LGBTQ activisits called for a reimagining of societal norms. The language used in the printed materials struck me for its raw, unabashed sensibilities, reclaiming of homophobic slurs, and making drag culture front and center.
The Love section also made an impression on me as the photographs on display do feature romantic couples but many of the scenes shown were intimate moments between friends. It was a beautiful reminder of the bond many queer people share with their chosen families.
Seeing the number of tourists who either made this exhibit a stop on their visit to New York or just stumbled in while visiting the library, was reassuring in this political climate. Multigenerational families wandered through taking in the stories and experiences, a reminder of how important documenting our struggles and telling our stories are.
The Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 exhibit is on display at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building until July 14, 2019.