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  "Stonewall 25"
  Sunday the 26th of June 1994
' Association
of the
1969 Stonewall Uprising
~~~~~25th Anniversary Stonewall Rebellion Reunion~~~~~
Stonewall Veterans after Stage Appearance at Central Park Gay Pride Rally

Stonewall Veterans after Stage Appearance at Central Park Gay Pride Rally
[Photo by Leigh McManus of the S.V.A.]

STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association members -- a diverse sampling -- after the most significant post-Stonewall and unique reunion in Gay history, proudly pictured in the celebrity and press area backstage in Central Park, New York City above are (l-2-r):  Queen Allyson Ann Allante, S.V.A. Spokesperson (in from Lido Beach, Long Island); Jeremiah Jay Newton, S.V.A. Vice-President (up from Alphabet City in Manhattan, NY); Sylvia Rae Rivera, S.V.A. Secretary (in from her temporary home with Randy Wicker in New Jersey); Cristina Hayworth, S.V.A. Ambassadress (up from Puerta Rica); Yvonne Ritter, RN, S.V.A. Executive Committee (up from the East Village); Ivana Valentin, Executive Committee (up from the Lower East Side); Danny Garvin, pending S.V.A. member (depending on results of drinking-while-thinking and drug tests); Terri Van Dyke, S.V.A. Treasurer (down from Lexington Heights, Manhattan); Rolando Morales Torres, SVA-25 Committee (in from Brooklyn, NY); and many other veterans of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion not shown in this press photo above.  The media -- newspapers, television, radio, magazines and newsletters -- all had a huge Gay bonanza with this tremendous one-of-a-kind and, for most, once-in-a-lifetime event especially in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender ("GLBT") community!  Except for the SVA's annual conference and reunion, there has never been such a get-together in the GLBT community of the Stonewall veterans since the Stonewall Rebellion in late June and early July of 1969!

Legendary Stonewall Club patrons and other participants of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion -- since named by founder Williamson Henderson and now known as the "Stonewall Veterans" -- fought the New York City Police Department, the First Division Detectives and the Tactical Patrol Force in late June and early July of 1969 for five evenings and nights and, ultimately, won an everlasting physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual victory!  The interested and active "veterans" became members of the STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association ("S.V.A.").  

On our landmark 25th Anniversary in 1994 of the now worldwide historic uprising, which should have demonstrated a real "heritage of pride", the S.V.A. had to almost physically fight the "Stonewall 25 International Committee" -- comprised of many wannabe corporate, self-serving, egotistical, non-representative, rude Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender ("GLBT") characters whose disrespect, greed and financial mismanagement ruined and bankrupted that wholly dishonorable and disrespectful organization.  The Stonewall veterans, of course, do not agree on everything -- who does -- however, one of the unanimous opinions is that:  The "SW-25 Committee" was the worst group of assembled GLBT-ers that any of us ever saw anywhere.  Guess what?  Despite their despicable discrimination (the opposite of  the spirit of "Stonewall"), exclusionary tactics, ignoring and various visciousness, the S.V.A. won again!
"Stonewall 25 International Inc." did all their meetings, planning, promoting, scheduling and screaming, arguing, spliting hairs, etc., etc. without ever inviting or consulting the people who this event was initially intended to commemorate and honor:  the Veterans of the Stonewall Rebellion.  The "S/W-25" ad-hoc committee's mostly arrogant, pompous members -- who acted like they created the Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender ("GLBT") community -- negotiated with New York City officials and other government  representatives and endless others without ever inviting anyone from the S.V.A.  Besides mindlessly and rudely ignoring the S.V.A. -- an act which was a literal "international heritage of shame" -- the "SW-25" Committee ludicrously also left out the landmark  Stonewall Club from their spineless game plan.  Why?  Because they were told that they couldn't.  They even left our the regular N.Y.C. Gay Pride Parade route -- Fifth Avenue.  Why?  Because they were told that they couldn't.  And, they didn't know that they needed the S.V.A.?  Thus, the "S/W-25" committee committed a real "sell-out" of the real GLBT communities.  Most everyone sadly realized this and at too late a date.  The favorite word of the "S/W-25" Committee was "no"!  It was "no" to this and "no" to that and, most shamefully, "no" to the Stonewall veterans.  What?!  Nonetheless, several true GLBT organizations and individuals with the real Stonewall spirit and guts such as ACT-UP, the IQKNY, Empire State Pride Agenda, GLBT Political Coalition, et al. and, of course, the S.V.A. said:  "Yes, we can!"  Yes, we can start the march at The STONEWALL Club.  Yes, we can march up Fifth Avenue!  Yes, we will lead into Central Park!  And, yes, we will be democratic, inclusive, considerate, diverse and friendly to ALL!  

The Stonewall 25 Committee had a seemingly unlimited budget with endless sponsorships, contributions, donations pouring in from all over the world plus their own endless fund-raisers and money-gathering campaigns.  Money was rampant -- for them!  Yet, they never gave the S.V.A. one dollar.  Not even to have the most famous GLBT community car garage bill paid for one month ($400) or for the festivities "detailed" ($69) -- or to fill up its gas tank ($19.69).  But the "S/W-25" clan saved their biggest insult for the actual event day....

The Stonewall 25 Committee psychotically and shamefully excluded the STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Assocaition, representing the Stonewall veterans, as one of the original "100" speakers, organizations, acts, groups, individuals, singers, dancers, comedians, comediennes, poets, proselitizers, self-promoters, etc., etc., etc. as part of the Stonewall Celebration Rally in Central Park.  Yeah, like we were going to tolerate that.  "Knock!  Knock!"  "Who's there?"  S-T-O-N-E...  Stone Who?   S-T-O-N-E-W-A-L-L!  Guess who ultimately won?  Common sense and common decency:  You don't "stonewall" the "Stonewallers"!  

We did our 'reaching out', too.  Most S.V.A. members coordinated writing and/or calling all the Stonewall veterans ("S/W-Vetz") that we knew in about two dozen different states!  For those S/W-Vetz who were totally missing on the scene or not in touch lately but where we had some 411, we searched for and usually located the SVA-ers.  In many instances, it was like a detective game.  We had Stonewall veterans come to New York City -- and in many cases made housing arrangements with other Stonewallers -- from all over the United States!  Meanwhile, the SW-25 Committee obviously was not concerned about contacting any S/W-Vetz  -- nor was the selfish committee interested in having any S/W-Vetz at the huge event which is a tribute to what WE did!  The S/W-25 Committee shamefully did not donate one dollar to the STONEWALL Veterans' Association in any of our efforts.  Yet, without the S.V.A., they would not have had any actual veterans of the historic 1969 Stonewall Rebellion.  In reality, there would not be any celebration!  The S.V.A. can never reiterate enough how absolutely disingenuous, obnoxiuos and rude the behavior was by the International S/W-25 Committee, which included several in-kind, hate-filled, clanish members of Heritage of Pride aka H.O.P.

The newly-empowered STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association ("S.V.A.") collaborated on the alternative "Spirit of Stonewall March".  The main organizers wanted the 'alternative march' to have the real "Stonewall" authenticity.  For that, you had to have the Stonewall Veterans!  As a matter of fact, it was proudly decided by the inclusive 'alternate march' organizers that the S.V.A. rightfully lead that march.  Among many well-known Gay leaders over the decades were Harry Hay, John Burnside, Jim Kepner, Jack Nichols and David Thorstad marching in the "Spirit of Stonewall March".  In fact, the march was led by the S.V.A. with the Stonewall Rebellion-impounded 1969 blue Cadillac convertible "Stonewall Car".  In a reversal in direction for this special occasion, the march went up (not down) Fifth Avenue -- as it used to be the route through 1977.  The "Spirit of Stonewall March" amassed over 13,000 march participants and more than ten times that amount in cheering, colorfully-dressed, rainbow flag-waving spectators.  The only public officials who joined us in the historic "Spirit of Stonewall March" were U.S. Congressmember Jerrold L. Nadler, Gay N.Y.C. Judge and NYS Attorney General candidate Karen S. Burstein and openly-Gay N.Y.C. Councilmember Thomas K. "Duanda" Duane.  What a glorious day!  And ours all started where it all began at The Stonewall!
At the Gay Pride "Stonewall 25" Rally, we confronted some of the "Big Wigs" (literally) and demanded that the Stonewall veterans be presented on stage or... there would be a real "riot", not the hyperbolic 'riot' to which they wrongly and constantly refer.  Most realized the gross mistake, exclusion and rudeness.  The S.V.A. was introduced on stage!  However, instead of being introduced promptly, first the Stonewall veterans had to wait over an hour for a few dozen mostly boring speakers and second-rate "acts".  Once the veterans of the Stonewall Rebellion were 'fi-nal-ly' brought on stage, it was with minimal introduction:  "Here are the Stonewall survivors"!  "Survivors"?  Survivors of what?  We didn't 'survive'; we created!  It was like the S/W Vetz were being dismissed as the haphazard survivors of some sinking ship.  So, we incredibly had to introduce our own S.V.A. STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association organization.  We broadsided the huge stage to tremendous and thunderous applause!!


"SW-25" Stonewall Vetz On-Stage Photo

Incredible Backstage View of some Stonewall Veterans at "SW-25"
[Photo by Rockwell Kevin O'Neill]

Incredibly pictured standing in front of a crowd of over one million people above (left-2-right) is firstly "The Stonewall Queen" Allyson Ann Allante (grandly statured in a muave sequinced gown, five-inch gold alitter high heels and long blonde hair), the second is Rolando Ortiz (in tight white tee-shirt and tight blue jeans, well-built Puerto Rican originally from The Bronx and now up from Florida), the third person is S.V.A. Treasurer Terri Van Dyke (wearing yellow pants and carrying his ever-present huge shoulder bag), transgender S.V.A. Secretary and nurse Yvonne Ritter (with red hair up) is fourth, Danny Garvin (wearing inappropriate and tacky shorts unfit for this mementous occasion) is fifth, Christian the "Stonewall Dutch Boy" (in traditional Hollandaise garb) is sixth, John ("JOB") O'Brien (wearing dark blue shirt and slacks, in from way-out Los Angeles) is seventh....  Also on stage but not shown in this photo are (alphabetically):  Molly B. Aitken (down from Massachusetts),  Bert "Berti" Coffman (up from the Prince Hotel in Gramercy Park), Storme DeLarverie (up from the Hotel Chelsea in Chelsea), R. Wayne Herndon (in from Los Angeles, California via PanAm Airlines), Carl J. Keller, Jr. (in from Connecticut), Leigh P. McManus (in from Long Island), Jeremiah Newton (up from Avenue "C" in the East Village), Electra O'Mara (down from Washington Heights), John Paul Ranieri (in from Wisconsin), Sylvia Rae Rivera (flew in on her broom fueled by alcohol), Jack Rojas (carrying his trusty Gay Rights sign), Rita "Rusty" Rose (in via the LIRR from Amityville, Long Island), Richard Strahan (in from the South Shore, New Jersey), Mary S. Twist (likewise, Jersey), Ivana Valentin (up via subway from the Lower East Side), Dave F. West (up from The Carlton residence in Midtown East), Mark Zatlow (in from West Hollywood), et al.

The very well-organized STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association ("S.V.A."), which had just led the "Spirit of Stonewall March" with the blue 1969 Cadillac convertible "Stonewall Car" up from Greenwich Village, and, now, finally, after waiting over an hour, broadsided the very high and very wide stage.  Only one-third of the SW-Vetz on stage are shown in this incredible photo.  The approximate one million (1,000,000)-plus attendees from all over the world responded with a great, sound-breaking, five-minute chant of "Thank you... Thank you... Thank you... Thank you... Thank you..."!  Every Stonewall Veteran -- except one -- was overcome with emotion, lightly crying with pride or just having a few tears of joy or sadness stream from their eyes.  Queen Allyson Ann, the President of the Imperial QUEENS and the S.V.A. elected Spokesperson, was not having her professionally-done make-up ruined.  Anxious to begin her speech, Allyson finally said to the huge millionish crowd (a la Barbra Streisand and invoking a Brooklyn accent):  "Alright already... enough already.  Oy!  Thank you!  Already enough, thanks!  We thank you, too -- for being here!  Enough now!  Wow!  Enough already!  Thanks!"  What's a queen supposed to do already?  Convincing one million people to "Stop!" is not easy.  "Thank you.  We love you, too!"  However, the enthusiastic crowd continued their chant:  "Thank you...  Thank you...  Thank you...  Thank you...  Thank you.... Thank you!"
Highlights of the entire Stonewall 25 event, including the S.V.A. segment is/was available on the video, "The Future is Ours" -- a queerly inane title for the hugest Gay event in world history.  Celebrities included openly-Gay actor/entertainer Harvey Fierstein who stated that none of us would be here today on this stage if not for the Stonewall Veterans.  For your info, Harvey is a longtime supporter of the S.V.A.  And, another Gay favorite, Liza Minnelli, who reminded everyone that "It is the 25th anniversary of Stonewall.... and it is also the 25th Anniversary of Mama" -- referring to, of course, the legendary Gay icon of Judy Garland, whose funeral was the first day of the rebellion that night June 27th.  Coincidence?  No!  Let's toast to "St. Judy"!

Two 1994 Gay Pride Marches mentioned in 2009 Gay Pride 411 Potluck Stew

Of course, like with most everything written about Gay anything, no credit is given to the people who actually create something.  In this case, it was mainly two activist groups -- the STONEWALL Veterans' Association and Act-UP -- that made two Gay Pride marches possible.  It was also historic!  It has never happened before nor since the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in 1994.  The summary list of "Gay Pride" in New York City fails to mention that the "SW-25" Gay Pride March was led by the 1969 "Stonewall Car".  It was the only vehicle in the entire march!  Among the many inaccuracies, besides the oversights, in the Time-Out magazine Gay Pride items, the 25th anniversary of Stonewall was in no way produced by HOP!  Moreover, virtually every Stonewall veteran participating in the "Spirit of Stonewall March" was through the STONEWALL Veterans' Association and literally every Stonewall vet on stage was arranged via the S.V.A.!


=yearly NYC Gay Pride event=  
   The STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association ("S.V.A.") hosts the next "SVA's 49th Annual Conference & Stonewall Veterans Reunion" at the New York City Gay Community Center in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York on Saturday, June 30th, 2018 from 4:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. with actual veterans of The STONEWALL Club police raids and the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, New York City public officials, Gay organization heads and community leaders.  Keynote speakers are two prominent New York public officials; one male, one female.  There is always a 'live' entertainment music segment, traditionally Stonewall Era singer Sandy Rapp!  The event typically features finale entertainment by girl groups such as The Deadly Nightshade or The Cake!!  In addition, the significant and symbolic program opens and closes with original "Songs of The Stonewall Club" from the 1966 to 1969 jukebox featuring the songs of Diana Ross & The Supremes, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, Mary Weiss & The Shangri-Las, The Temptations, Barbra Streisand, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, Len 'Dovell' Barry, The Marvelettes, The Spiral Starecase, Dusty Springfield, (Mr.) Chris Montez, The Chiffons, The Beatles, Dionne Warwick, Jose Feliciano, The Angels, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Cilla Black (she's white), Stevie Wonder, The Honey Cone, Mick Jagger & The Rolling Stones, Jackie de Shannon, Tom Jones, The Velvelettes, The Foundations, Mary Wells, B.J. Thomas, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Jim Morrison & The Doors, and, of course, Miss Connie Francis ("Where The Boys Are"), and so many other great artists with wonderful songs!  On display will be the famous 1969 blue Cadillac convertible aka the "Stonewall Car".  The conference is produced by the S.V.A., directed by Willson L. Henderson and managed by AnDre M. Christie.  The illuminating event is often co-hosted by entertaining dragsters Lady Appolonia and Miss Tyra A. Ross.  Quality foods and beverages are provided.  With questions or suggestions and/or to RSVP, please telephone (212) 627-1969.


*G*L*B*T* Pride Month!


=====2018:  49th Anniversary of the Gay Stonewall Rebellion=====
[Friday night, June 27 ~through~ Thursday evening, July 3, 1969, Manhattan, New York City]

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Photo Album