It was 40 years ago this year that the legendary Judy Garland died, and her death on 22nd June 1969 coincided with, and some say influenced, another big historical event.
Back in the 1960s in New York the gay community existed underground, frequenting clubs and bars that were regularly raided by the police, avoiding arrest by hiding or slipping away. However on June 27th when the popular Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village was raided, the patrons (possibly spurred on by seeing so many other gay fans at Judy Garland’s funeral earlier that day) decided to fight back. For several nights the riots between the gay community and the police continued, changing the history of gay rights for ever. Every year since then at around that time of year (June, July) gay people all over the world mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots with Gay Pride celebrations.
Now why am I talking about this? Well, because this significant 40th anniversary is being celebrated this weekend and into next week at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival with a number of films and events celebrating both Judy and Stonewall. Click here for more info.
The film festival, which had its opening night on Wednesday, is running until 8th April. For a full list of the films showing, click here.