Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies

Advisor/Committee Chair

Christine Vassallo-Oby


The Stonewall Riots in New York City marked the official beginning of the U.S. gay rights movement in 1969. Following a police raid, the intense fight between officers and LGBTQ+ bar goers at Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn developed into a series of organized uprisings over the following days. Despite the bar’s predominantly white population, people of color were on the front lines of most physical incidents during the riots as well as other forms of activism (Gan 2007, 131). According to scholar Jessi Gan, the legacy of black and brown activism during this time period has historically been glossed over, particularly the activism of one of Stonewall’s most prominent figures, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan transwoman, Sylvia Rivera (2007, 127-128). The problematic nature of attributing crucial activist work to a general queer population while ignoring Latino/a/x contributions to the LGBTQ+ movement is endemic to the misinterpretation of LGBTQ+ identities both inside and outside of the queer community.