Google Pledges $1 Million To Preserve LGBTQ Stonewall Inn Story

By Zenny Phuong | June 21, 2017 | 2:24pm EDT

The Stonewall Inn.  (Wikipedia)

( -- Google announced on Sunday that it will be donating $1 million to the LGBT Community Center in New York City to preserve and disseminate the story of the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 in digital formats.

“With our donation, my hope is we can capture and preserve their stories and, through technology, share them with the world to inspire all those who continue to strive for human rights,” said Eric Schmidt, executive chair of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, at a press conference on Sunday.

In 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, was raided by police for serving liquor without a license. The scene turned violent as bar-goers began rioting against the police.

The Stonewall Riot drove the formation of the Gay Liberation Front and other LGBTQ civil rights activist groups.

The announcement about Google’s donation was made by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and West Side Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), at a press conference on June 18, the start of Pride Week in Manhattan.

Schumer posted on his Facebook page on June 18 to celebrate the donation. He said, “the lessons of [Stonewall Riots’] history can reach tens of millions of people across the nation, and across the globe.”

The $1 million grant, according to a written statement from the Center, will allow it to partner with the National Park Foundation (NPF) to create “a digital experience that broadly shares the story of LGBTQ civil rights, firmly establishing LGBTQ history in the fabric of American history.”

“This announcement sends an unmistakable message to Washington: that the America we know celebrates and cherishes its diversity; it doesn’t hide from it or fear it,” Schumer said. “Google’s generous pledge could not come at a more vital time.”

However, the founder of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, Peter LaBarbera, said he sees a more “deviant” aspect of the movement that is being “whitewashed.” He said the event in 1969 was a violent protest against police and that there were “hustlers that would have sex with teenage boys.”

“In my eyes, the whole homosexual activist movement is about normalizing a sexual perversion and turning it into a civil right,” he said. “And to do that, they have to overlook or change or rewrite history because there’s a lot of unsavory aspects to the early gay history, just as there are to the current homosexual movement.”

On June 24, 2016, then-President Barrack Obama issued an executive proclamation to create a national monument in Christopher Park, across the street from the historical landmark.

“Obama already started it. He was trying to make Stonewall as powerful a civil rights event as SELMA, but in SELMA, Americans were all unified against racism,” LaBarbera said. “(Stonewall Inn)’s probably the most pornographic historical landmark in America. It just doesn’t fit what you would normally associate with noble history.”

A photo taken during the Stonewall riot.  (Pinterest.) 

Schumer said during the press conference that there are “people in Washington who would see our country backslide on equality.” He pointed to more than 100 anti-LGBTQ legislations passed by state and local governments since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“We’ve only had gay marriage for 2 years in the United States but is that now part of history? If you’re against gay-marriage, you’re just a bigot and a homophobe and a hater?” said LaBarbera.

Schumer’s press office has not responded to’s request for an interview.

Glennda Testone, the Center’s executive director, called the funding “inspirational” and said it will “lift up LGBTQ history on a global platform, further magnifying the Stonewall Uprising’s place in the overall story of the LGBTQ civil rights movement.”

According to National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth, Google’s donation accounts for half of the amount needed to “effectively launch” the national monument.  

“The national parks community is grateful for Google’s support to develop education programs for New York City students — and eventually students worldwide — that focus on the important issues of equality, human rights, civil rights, and more,” Shafroth said.

But LaBarbera believes homosexuality is not a civil rights issue, but a moral issue.

A drag queen in front of the Stonewall Inn. (Gothamist)

“They want to force it, not just on the rest of the country, but especially on students,” LaBarbera said. “They want to teach LGBT history as real civil rights history to kids so they want to propagandize and indoctrinate kids of this mythical narrative to turn this moral issue into a noble civil rights.”



LaBarbera believes the riot in 1969 accomplished what it set out to do, which, he said, is to radicalize the movement.

“It’s been very bad for our society, though. It’s terrible to have immoral sexual behaviors normalized to a culture and especially to kids,” LaBarbera said.

The idea for Google’s donation, according to the New York Times, originated from William Floyd, Google’s openly gay New York external affairs director.

Others present at the press conference on Sunday include openly gay city council member Corey Johnson, and Public Advocate Letitia James, who did not respond to’s interview requests.

American Express has also pledged a $100,000 donation to the campaign. The projected completion date is June 2019, the Stonewall Rebellion’s 50th anniversary.

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