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The second night Saturday night, we know so many people, more people, just want to kind of be on how that difference from Friday night, which goes with the kick-line. No kick-line is that night. That night was more anger. Because the crowd you had been there, and also we had it back, had been there the night before. It was pleasure to have more people. So now more cops came into this process. And now it's when we weren't. Now we knew we had power. The first night we didn't know we had power. The second night we had power. Now I believe it was when the Molotov cocktails came in. That's when they came in. I'm pretty sure. Because now you control them.
Now you fight back. There was more anger and more fight the second night than on the first night. The first night was like, my God, we can do this. And the second night is we are doing this. It's like swimming. I got that on and I can get this on. Oh my God, I'm swimming. All of a sudden the second night we were swimming. There was no going back now. There was no going back. There was no. We had discovered a power that we weren't even aware that we had. We discovered a unity that we didn't know we had. We became a people. We became a people. We didn't necessarily know where we were going yet.
You know, what organizations were going to be or how things would go. But we realized we were brothers and sisters. It became more like that. There was a closeness there. I was like, what for me? The cops come to the cops' speed. The cops come. Yes, same thing. Did we run? Yes. Do you interrogate them? Yes. But, you know, you're not getting into the bar to really dance. So it's like, I guess it's boring, but you look like in the morning. It's like, all right, I'll go home. I know when the national test was called in later on, 7th Avenue and things like that. I mean, how did you tie an up? I didn't. You know, it was like, how long we going to do this? We did it last night. You said, was that Wednesday night? No, I didn't get that far.
Okay. What was the first, do you remember any kind of first event that you went to? There was a commemoration of Stonewall. There was a bar trial. I lived at Morty Manford, right? And Morty had gotten involved with gay actors alliance, right? So Morty would like to say, oh, come on, come on over there, right? So we go to the gay actors alliance and there'd be all these discussions. Where we're going, okay? Are we going to, you know, are we going to have transvestite amongst us? You know, where the lesbians fit in with the organization? Who's going to lead us, you know? Who would the speakers, and all inner fighting going on there? You know? I didn't follow up. What did it end up being? Oh, the Christmas Street Day March organization? No, I didn't go away.
My way was, I went entirely towards Max's Kansas City. I went more towards the Warhol group. I was like, I'm gay, gay bars have changed. All of a sudden, my friend, which is funny, we used to be choir boys, opening up the first gay bar on Christopher Street that was not Uncle Paul's, which was not owned by a mafia. So it was like, okay, we got this, you know? I mean... There were so many steps that were taking the last several decades that now, you know, the big arguments, you know, will every state have gay marriage? I mean, what we're fighting about now is leaps and bounds ahead of what was, can you... Stonewall sort of looked at us as a pivotal moment to do with any idea that there could be so much unfolding of... and progress in gay rights. No one thought of marriage, you know?
I mean, people refer to each other as well. That's my husband, that's my wife, but it was always done like campy sins. Now when you meet another gay man, he says, that's my husband. Sometimes it's like, this is not being done in camp. This is reality. But then, okay, so just going back in time, those riots, did you ever keep coming in like when that all happened and I felt we had a voice? Because you did say you started to feel you had brothers and sister ever imagined a future. No, no, no. No, I never thought... All I knew was that I wasn't alone. I wasn't alone. I didn't know what... That was going to give me, but I wasn't alone. I didn't know that... I didn't know that all of a sudden we would have these massive parades all over the world, you know?
Nobody had talked about Stonewall. It was fine. No one mentioned Stone. It was like nothing. I mean, the big thing was the Christopher Street Parade. Liberation, Christopher Street Parade. It was a march. It wasn't parade. It was a march. They should get back to calling it that. Did you ever mention Stonewall, but it was a game march, right? And it was seen, you know, out of the clases into the streets. That was a slogan, right? And the people that marched it were the people saying, here we are. Well, this is it. And they had more balls than I had, you know? I was still dealing with my own process of coming out. But still, you know, you just don't... I mean, I give it credit to these kids at 16 and 17 and can be completely fake and say, you know, that's me, girl, you know?
At the time, I could not do that, you know? Now, just, yes, I live in my love. This is my partner. You know? Do you think it took something like, you know, that kind of violence to life? What... Yes. I'm sad. Yes. It did take the violence. I don't think if we sat there patiently. Well, we had gotten... Oh, gee. That's the same sex people from the Kinsey book get it. It's like saying, do you think that the march on Washington would have gotten civil rights for black people? Did they just stay down there? No. We had to act as an organization. And that's what it was. You know, we acted... did we call for violence? Yes. Just like the call for violence down, you know? In Mississippi and the call for violence and the call...
You know, for the three... I can't think of their name. The three men killed. You know, yes. Yes, it's too cruel for that. And that's... That's what makes people wake up and see. You know? There's women and people say, oh my God, it's my child. You know? That's my son. That's my brother. That's my neighbor. That's when we connect. But sometimes it takes that. One second thing, I think I read... Did you ever fear for your life in a second, or any of the nights when you were... Was it like... Or were you like, I can handle this on this observance of wild? No, yeah. Not scared. No, I was scared. I was... I've been hit by the billy back before, you know? I know how that feels. I didn't want to... I didn't want to be hit by that. And I had long hair. And I just seemed like different people were long hair. They would just grab you put your long hair. They would drag you along and get your own ends in the back of a patty wagon. You know, they're not escorting you in there nicely.
You know? Not like when you're taking people out in the beginning of the raid. You know? When you turn violent against the cops, the cops are going to turn violent against you. You're trying to stay alive. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know? I want to be part of it. But I don't want to be bruised. I don't want to be a bit of bat, you know? What was the purpose of going back to the normal raid of a place like the Stonewall, which was raided that same week before the Friday night? What was the point of a normal raid? Do you say that a regular raid is, you know, stir something like that? Okay. There were several things. There were shakedowns. Right? There would be people who... You know, you could be money. There you go. Let me get out of here. You know? The bars usually knew when the raids were coming. Because they would have to hide their liquor. Because they knew the police would take it. No, it wasn't for the payoffs. Because the payoffs would come during the day or whatever.
But it would be a shakedown of customers. It would be to intimidate us. It would be to keep us in our place. You know? And can you tell me, it's just so like that, and get it straight. Did this happen once? And the month or two were raids coming. Whose raids were... Hmm. A bar would last usually three or four months. Then it would be a raid. And then it would be a close down. It would depend on the bar too. Yours would have after hour bars. Like a tell star. And Tony Pastors. And the tenth of all ways. It would go about four o'clock in the morning. It would go to 12 o'clock in the afternoon. Which would not like... They would get raided. I mean, these were big payoffs for your suburbs, you know? Yeah. And what happened in the crowd? What would you do with the bar? When the aches say, when the lights are on.
I just like, oh, please. Please just let it pass me by. Don't let me ask for ID. I don't want your bar. I don't want to be pulled in. I don't know. I don't know what would happen if they pulled me in. I had no concept to any of these people. I mean, they probably wouldn't have been ours. You know, some 18-year-old kid. I wouldn't have as much as 30. You know, as much as 30. You really would be pulled in. Did you feel good about living in the village? Instead of, I would say, other areas of the country? Oh, yeah. No, no, no, no, no. I love the village. The village was so free back then. I spent all my days in Washington Square Park, which was entirely different than, you know. You know, we'd have David Peel there playing his guitar. I've seen one on one on one on one on one on one on one. It was, it was the perfect time to be in the village. I mean, why? Why?
Because it was really the intellectual core in New York City of what was happening. This is where you find people, you have decent conversations. People who would judge you, who would debate you, not put you down. The only time was strange would be when I'd be in Washington Square Park and chores would come by and take pictures of me. You know, then you feel a little odd, you know. The music with great cafes were good, you know. The coffee houses were good. What's the cleanest thing when you're playing? No, no, no, no, no. The pigs weren't. That's the senior one. Did you use the free village in Oregon? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, but they're not, you know. They'd get you in Washington Square Park, too, walking through it. Come on. What belong?
You're lighting. You know? No. Police had control, you know. I mean, they used to say pigs stood for pride, intelligent and guts. You know? That's not what we thought. You know, I mean, we had a... No, they were, they were establishment. You know, they were... Suppressionists, you know. They were not our friends. I mean, I feel like these covered a lot. Two little things. You can answer to Katie. Yeah. Just describing the stonewalk. Can you just tell Katie, you know. What do you see when you walk out of the front door? Did it have like a sliding thing, you know, and you look through? It was a little... It was a little... Could you guys... Could I ask you to... I think when you walk up to the stonewalk or something like that? Right. When you walked up to the stonewalk, right? They had a little window beginning with...
First, beginning in the early days. What they would look out is who you were, right? Eventually, they would have a door open. And as usually, Frankie would be sitting there on a stool. This was to discourage people who were straight. You know, who were trying to come in there. So it was like, you know. They didn't think of a day no way we were getting in there. But, you know, you were checked out before you got in there. But yeah, in the early days when the stonewalk first opened, it was a little door. You know, you really looked at, you know. Bottle. Did they have bottles of beans on? Or regular bottles? No, regular bottles. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I didn't have one of them bigger, certainly. Why did it feel so good to slow dance with another guy? What was the world like, you know what I mean? Well, the slow dance with another man,
with a whole bunch of other men's slow dancing, was all of a sudden to be normal, to know what it was like to be normal, to know what it was like to be fully human, to know what it was like to know the tenderness of that moment, the intimacy, to know what it was like to be alive. It felt like... My dance was Frankie the first time, and I was in his arms, right? And all of a sudden, I said, okay, you're throwing all cares away now,
who sees you or not, you know, I used to make guys see you or someone who might come in here who's by mistake, you know, you from high school. I said, this is... but, you know, he has my chance for love. And that was a took a while. It took a while to put together a difference between having sex and making love, you know, discovering what that was. And with Frankie, it was the first person I learned to make love with. It's not like the dance in the scene, it's like... There's so much... You do that when a lot of self-fifters... Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, I don't know... I mean, I'm a gang where we rolled a gay guy, you know. We picked a guy up in a voice, because we were theatering boys, and it was acceptable for a guy to go down on you.
If you went down on a guy, that was not acceptable. Okay, that made you... You know, you were gay. If he did to you, he was gay, it's okay, right? So, turn around and... We kept letting this guy go down, and we ended up rolling him. And here's what we are. 16-year-olds. What did we steal from this man's house? Or his liquor? You know, that was a sense of it. They wanted to take him into a school yard and roll him and beat him up. And I said, no, let's not do that. Let's not do that. I couldn't go for that. One line, I never quite got about being raised as Catholic. What was the line on homosexuality? I was raised in a church that I thought you know. Okay. What word? Okay. It's homosexuality. It plays the exact...
Hold on. Okay, I have to cut your water first, please. Okay. The church's stance. I used to be a friar. Okay. The church's stance on homosexuality is. Homosexuality is fine. The act of homosexuality is not fine because it doesn't procreate. Head of sexuality is fine. As long as you're in a marriage and you're procreating. So the whole thing has to do with procreating. What were you... Did you think of yourself as a sinner? Oh God, yeah. I would go to the fashion of this. I never go on into the fashion one time and I got this priest and I was trying to... I was trying to cover over. Just get over it real quickly. And I said, uh, bless me Father. For I sinned. I did impurities. So he goes, uh, what do you mean impurities? I said, uh, I said, I had sex with another man's father.
So he goes, what do you mean? He had sex with another man. I said, well, I took my penis. I said, and I stuck it in his rectum. He goes, oh, you fucked him. I said, just Father. That's right, Ted. You know? So he goes, you know, three-heelmaries, three-year fathers. And that was it, you know? But, yeah. I mean, otherwise, uh, with my family growing up Catholic, uh... religion wasn't taught to us as something to beat us down with. It was something to go to for when you need to comfort. You know? Uh... It was a spiritual aspect. It was the, uh... a spiritual aspect of basically of religion, you know? I got one more.
Sorry. I know. It's great. We have a 14-year-old son. And he's... Let's go over our shoulders for doing this news. Can you... How can you... Very few words... This is how different the world was in terms of what it felt like to be gay in 1969, compared to now? And I'll... I mean, you just can hear me talking about this. That's sure. For our kid, who accepts death so easily... That's true. Yeah. He can't believe that just a few decades ago, he knew he was different. Were they so different from that? I mean... Oh, God, yes. Oh, God, yes. Can you send me over to... Rick and I are even amazed. I live in West 96th Street. And we'll see you guys walking down the street holding hands. You would never see that. You would never see that. I kissed my friends, hello, and goodbye on the street. Yeah. Anywhere. You know, getting off subway train. Okay, goodbye. God, did you do that back then? I would have had this shit kicked down here by a whole bunch of people. Or you would have commented, air comments, and I'd be like,
whoa, fucking faggots. You know? Yes. It would have been such a difference. Such a difference. How it is outside of New York City now? You still get people like Matthew Shepard, Thai defenses. And I hadn't spread across the country, you know? Here in San Francisco, yes. Oh, gradually, yeah, we have willing grace on TV. Tell me, how often do you see will make out with a man? Grace got laid all over the place and made out with people. He never did. But yeah, it ran for five years. So we're still held behind to a degree, you know? It's step by step, you know? I think what the country is ready for is another national march on Washington. I think it's time to say, hey, okay, you know, we did the A's march, you know, we did the quilt, we did all that. Now it's time to give us our rights, you know?
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. A little one time? Just put it just for 30 seconds. You're just a little Xanax. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
American Experience
Stonewall Uprising
Raw Footage
Interview with Danny Garvin, 3 of 3
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Episode Description
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. Such raids were not unusual in the late 1960s, an era when homosexual sex was illegal in every state but Illinois. That night, however, the street erupted into violent protests and street demonstrations that lasted for the next six days. The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.
Raw Footage Description
In this interview, Danny Garvin discusses identifying as gay while growing up Irish Catholic in the 1950's and 1960's, his discovery of New York City gay bars and culture, and his memories of the Stonewall uprising and its role in LGBTQ history and activism.
Copyright 2011 WGBH Educational Foundation
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Interviewee: Garvin, Danny
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
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Identifier: 003 (WGBH Item ID)
Format: DVCPRO: 50
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Chicago: “American Experience; Stonewall Uprising; Interview with Danny Garvin, 3 of 3,” 2011-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “American Experience; Stonewall Uprising; Interview with Danny Garvin, 3 of 3.” 2011-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: American Experience; Stonewall Uprising; Interview with Danny Garvin, 3 of 3. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from