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Attitude Activism Award: The Stonewall uprising

Fifty years ago, a group of brave LGBTQ people fought back against police oppression - unaware they were kick-starting a global movement.

By Steve Brown

Attitude’s Activism Award has been awarded to the Stonewall uprising, fifty years after the civic fightback that sparked the birth of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

The award was accepted on behalf of those who took part in the riots by Stonewall Inn barman Tree Sequoia at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2019, powered by Jaguar in London on Wednesday night (9 October).

 Tree, who was outside the bar on the night of June 29, 1969, recalls first-hand how patrons bravely fought back following a police raid on the bar in the Attitude Awards issue, available to download and to order globally now.

“I’m proud to be part of our history and to carry the torch. At the time, we thought it was just fun, that it wasn’t anything significant”, he recalls.

“The next year, the first gay Pride parade took place, and we figured that after that, nothing else would happen.

“All gay bars got raided, we didn’t know it was going to be part of history that the whole world would know.

Tree, who was just 30 at the time of the uprising, continues: “Who knew that 50 years later we’d be here talking about it? Or that I’d make a speech at the UN for the 25th anniversary of the rebellion, and that I’d be accepting this award on behalf of everyone who was there?


“I always say that I was in the right place at the wrong time, or the wrong place at the right time.”

Read the full interview with Tree Sequoia and all the winners from the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2019, powered by Jaguar in the Attitude Awards issue, out now.

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Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch all the highlights from the Virgin Atlantic Attitude’s Awards 2019, powered by Jaguar.