At the heart of the story of the Stonewall Rebellion are homeless LGBTQ youth, transgender people of color and a threatened place of refuge: a gay bar that welcomed the outcasts of society. The Stonewall Inn was a community center of sorts for drag queens and queer youth rendered homeless by familial or societal rejection. Admission at the Stonewall Inn was not expensive and homeless youth could easily scrounge up their admission through panhandling. Once they were in, they could socialize and have a sanctuary for the night.
In the eyes of sixteen-year-old Hunter McLaughlin*, “coming out” would be a gateway to a new life. It would give him the opportunity to live more honestly and with a renewed sense of authenticity to his true self. But when he told his parents that he was transgender, the “new life” that awaited him was one plagued by emotional abuse, threats of violence, and seemingly endless conflict.