Martin Boyce, Courage to Stand Up

Martin Boyce, Stonewall Riot Activist at Centennial Secondary School
Posted on 04/20/2023

April 20, 2023—On Wednesday, April 19, Martin Boyce, Stonewall Riot Activist, presented to an engaged audience of students and staff from a number of HPEDSB schools at Centennial Secondary School, the event was also livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.

Martin Boyce is one of the few surviving Stonewall Riot activists. He shared his story of one of the most pivotal queer/trans events in history.

The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Patrons of the Stonewall, other Village 2SLGBTQIA+ bars, and neighbourhood people fought back when the police became violent. The riots are widely considered a watershed event that transformed the gay liberation movement and the twentieth-century fight for LGBT rights in Canada and the United States.

Martin regaled the audience with colourful tales of his coming of age in New York city. Candid, humorous and raw, his storytelling illustrated the emerging counterculture of the 1960s, as Martin shared insights about life for the people who didn't ascribe to the norms of the time.

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