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50 Years After Stonewall, Two Southern Vermont Towns To Hold First Pride Parades

A woman holds up a coffee cup with an upside-down pink triangle on it.
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Lisa Carton holds a special price cup that The Roasted Bean in Bennington printed for this weekend's pride celebration.

On the weekend marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, at least two Vermont towns will be holding their first-ever pride parades.Bennington has three days of events planned for this coming weekend, including a parade at 2 p.m. on Saturday that will start at the Bennington Museum and end at the Depot Street Park.

In Windsor, a pride parade will be held on Sunday at 2.p.m., starting at the town's fairgrounds.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton declared June to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall uprising on June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. 

Nine policemen arrested employees for operating without a liquor license, cleared the bar, roughed up customers, and took people into custody for not wearing at least three articles of "gender-appropriate clothing," in accordance with New York criminal statute.

Unlike similar, previous incidents, however, patrons didn't flee the Stonewall Inn that night, but resisted. It is commonly remembered as the beginning of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement.

"It's Stonewall 50 and it's Bennington one," said Lisa Carton, who helped organize the events in Bennington. "This is our birthday, you know. Yeah, this is the beginning, so this is a huge big deal."

Carton said there will be a benefit show Friday, with a DJ and drag performance.

"It's Stonewall 50 and it's Bennington one ... Yeah, this is the beginning, so this is a huge big deal." — Lisa Carton, Bennington organizer

The parade Saturday will end with a festival downtown, and then a picnic on Sunday. A queer youth prom is also scheduled for Saturday night.

Carton said she's been living in Bennington for more than 25 years, and there has never been a strong presence in Bennington for LGBTQ people.

"When you look around, you don’t really see anything gay in this town," Carton said. "We’re going to be having another event in the next few months. We're all about increasing our visibility here."

The parade in Windsor was also organized to bring more attention to LGBTQ resources in Windsor County.

Amanda Smith lives in Windsor and said the events will include speakers and information booths on health issues, domestic violence and legal rights.

"I knew if this event could help people feel welcome here and know about their community resources and legal protections, it would all be worth it," she said.

Smith added, "This is not a for-or-against situation. This is all of our home. Inaction and or silence does send a message, and I believe that visibility is the first step to a truly inclusive community."

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