Iconic LGBTQ+ Landmark Stonewall Inn Is in Danger of Closing for Good

As bills mount amid pandemic lockdown, owners have launched a GoFundMe to save the historic bar

stonewall inn
The Stonewall Inn needs your help.
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / June 26, 2020 9:04 am

The Stonewall Inn is in trouble. A cornerstone of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement, the iconic Greenwich Village bar is in danger of shutting down for good as bills continue to pile up following three months of New York City lockdown.

In an effort to save the bar, which is the first designated LGBTQ+ monument in America and the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, owners have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for rent and insurance payments.

“We are reaching out because like many families and small businesses around the world, The Stonewall Inn is struggling,” the campaign organizers wrote. “Our doors have been closed for over three months to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of patrons, staff and the community. Even in the best of times it can be difficult to survive as a small business and we now face an uncertain future. Even once we reopen, it will likely be under greatly restricted conditions limiting our business activities.”

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We are reaching out because like many families and small businesses around the world, The Stonewall Inn is struggling. Our doors have been closed for over three months to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of patrons, staff and the community. Even in the best of times it can be difficult to survive as a small business and we now face an uncertain future. Even once we reopen, it will likely be under greatly restricted conditions limiting our business activities. As you may be aware, The Stonewall Inn is the first national gay historic landmark and the birthplace of the modern day LGBTQ rights movement. We celebrate and pay homage to those individuals who first stood up for gay rights and sparked the Stonewall Riots. Those brave souls who first stood up for their rights and the rights of others, triggered a global movement that continues to be celebrated world-wide via gay pride celebrations and parades. We resurrected the Stonewall Inn once after it had been shuttered- and we stand ready to do it again- with your help. We worked diligently to resurrect it as a safe space for the community and to keep the Stonewall Inn at the epicenter of the fight for the LGBTQ+ rights movement. It has been a community tavern, but also a vehicle to continue the fight that started there in 1969. Stonewall is the place the community gathers for celebrations, comes to grieve in times of tragedy, and rally to continue the fight for full global equality. Today, we are asking you to help Save Stonewall! The Stonewall Inn faces an uncertain future and we are in need of community support. The road to recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic will be long and we need to continue to safeguard this vital piece of living history for the LGBTQ community and the global human rights movement and we now must ask for your help to save one of the LGBTQ+ communities most iconic institutions and to keep that history alive. Thank you and we greatly appreciate your support during these difficult times for all of us. #savestonewall #stonewall #thestonewallinn #pride #wherepridebegan #lgbtq #lgbtqhistory #lgbtqrightsmovement *link in bio https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-the-stonewall-inn

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While the Stonewall Inn is allowed to serve outdoors now that New York City has entered phase 2 of reopening, co-owner Stacy Lentz told CNN those new sales haven’t made a dent in the bar’s massive bills.

The GoFundMe was initially launched with the goal of raising $100,000, which Lentz told CNN would be just enough to get the business out of imminent danger. At time of writing, the campaign has already exceeded its goal, raising more than $131,000.

The Stonewall Inn is often cited as the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement, beginning when a police raid on the bar in June of 1969 launched days of protest in Greenwich Village.

“We celebrate and pay homage to those individuals who first stood up for gay rights and sparked the Stonewall Riots,” the crowdfunding organizers wrote, adding that the Inn “has been a community tavern, but also a vehicle to continue the fight that started there in 1969. Stonewall is the place the community gathers for celebrations, comes to grieve in times of tragedy, and rally to continue the fight for full global equality.”

You can donate to the support the Stonewall Inn here.

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