Theodore Roosevelt Center: “Before Stonewall: Ariston Bath Raid (1903)’

Theodore Roosevelt Center_ _Before Stonewall_ Ariston Bath Raid (1903)'Source: Theodore Roosevelt Center– Theodore Roosevelt’s connection with the Ariston Bath Raid.

Source:The New Democrat

“While the #Stonewall riots are often seen as the impetus to the gay rights movement, the fight for equality and acceptance began far earlier. In today’s blog post, Karen digs into the Ariston Bath Raid of 1903, and Theodore Roosevelt’s connection.”

From the Theodore Roosevelt Center

“Unlike other cultural groups, the LGBT community has a less visible history, resulting in the assumption that their oppression and fight for equal civil rights has not been long fought. If students learn anything about gay history, they learn about the Stonewall Riots, a demonstration by members of the queer community in response to a violent raid against patrons of the Stonewall Inn 52 years ago on this day. The event is often seen as the impetus for the larger LGBT rights and gay pride movement in the United States, which is why Pride Month is celebrated annually in June. Most Americans’ awareness of gay history beyond Stonewall is minimal though, despite the fact that evidence of gay culture has been recorded since America was a British colony. For this week’s short blog post to close out Pride Month, I wanted to explore a lesser-known moment in the gay rights movement from Theodore Roosevelt’s first term as president — the Ariston Baths Raid of 1903.

Hundreds of sex-segregated bath houses operated in NYC at the turn of the century, spurred by the poor sanitary conditions and limited in-apartment toilets and baths in an increasingly populated city. Turkish baths’ popularity quickly spread from poor immigrants to local ethnic, fraternal and religious organizations, and later hotels and spas, that added steam rooms and massages.”

The New Democrat_ Theodore Roosevelt Center_ _Before Stonewall_ Ariston Bath Raid (1903)'Source:Theodore Roosevelt Center– New York City in 1968.

From the Theodore Roosevelt Center

I think a big problem with American politics in how people operate in it and try to understand it, has to do with political stereotypes. A lot of political junkies like to stereotype racial and ethnic groups as being part of this party or that ideological faction. African-Americans and Jews tend to get stereotyped as leftists because they tend to vote Democrat. And the same thing with Irish-Americans, especially Irish-Catholics. Anglo-Saxons (especially Southern Anglo-Saxons) tend to get stereotyped as Republicans and right-wing, because they tend to be Protestant. When the fact is none of these voting blocks are monolithic when it comes to their political persuasions.

Cities, especially big cities, and even big Northeastern cities like New York City is the same way. New York gets stereotyped as left-wing, because you have Greenwich Village there and you have a lot of left-wing professors, hipsters, writers, and cultural leftist leaders, etc. But people tend to forget the Manhattan is the capital of Corporate America. NYC is also the home of Wall Street, it’s one of the wealthiest cities (not just big cities) in America, at least when it comes to per-capita income. It also has a lot of blue-collar communities, Italians, Irish, Latino, and other ethnic groups there that tend to vote Republican, because they like Republican economic and even cultural policies.

So when NYPD cracked down on gay bars in 1903 and later in 1968, simply because the people there are gay, you shouldn’t be surprised by that. New York has never been a utopia for gays in America or any other minority group. And neither has San Francisco (speaking of big cities) because even though SF is perhaps the most left-wing of any big city in America, gays have been harassed there as well simply because they are gay.

About FredSchneiderUS

I’m a blogger because I like writing about things I’m interested in and knowledgeable about. Which shouldn’t sound surprising, but blogging provides that immediate outlet for me and other bloggers to weigh in on what they’re thinking about and what they’re interested in. To put down on paper or computer words and feelings that they may struggle to get out of their mouths on the spot. To be able think about things and then express them. That is what blogging and writing is about, at least when it comes to commentary. Writing as a reporter or biographer, is a bit different. Because it’s not so much about what the writer feels that is relevant unless they’re being asked about it. But what’s more important is what they know and how they know that based on their reporting. An opportunity for blogger commentators to get things off their chest that perhaps they’re not able to do simply by speaking to people. That is my favorite thing about blogging to be able to immediately get things off my chest that I’m thinking about. Blogging is the perfect form of communication for me, because I’m interested in so many different things and frankly knowledgeable about them. I write mostly about current affairs. Government and politics, public policy, history, but I’m also interested in sports especially sports history, as well as movies especially classic Hollywood and entertainers. Especially entertainers who’ve been around a long time and are from classic Hollywood. Today’s Hollywood and entertainment, not so much, but that is a subject for another piece. And when you’re a blogger and you just read something that got your attention and were really interested in from either a positive or negative standpoint, or perhaps you just saw a movie or saw some story and you’re really interested in and knowledgeable about what you just saw, you can immediately weigh in on what you just saw. I mean to be a blogger all you really need is a computer and have something to say. Being able to write helps as well. That is what blogging and writing is to me. The ability for people to write what they’re thinking and how they feel, as well as what they know. Which is the most important thing here, because even commentators need to know what they’re talking about to be successful and make a living at that. Whether they write or talk on TV or radio, or a combination of all those things. That is what I’m going to do here and if you’re someone who has multiple interests and are interested in things besides who the latest hot celebrity is and who that person is seeing and why they’re in trouble now, or what the latest new technology is, then I hope you check out this blog. Because I cover a lot of different things here and not just government and politics, but history including Hollywood history and to a certain extent what’s going on there today. And you might even see a few pieces about so -called celebrity culture, but just from a a satiric viewpoint.
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