Times have changed...some. In the late 1950s Denver, Colorado had approximately three gay bars. The law involving liquor establishments required the customers to be seated when drinking. I do not recall ever seeing it enforced in straight bars. On occasion the police would target the gay bars to enforce the law . When a gay bar was targeted they would telephone the others to advise them that the police were there and would be on their way. An announcement would be made so the customers could locate seating or dispose of their drinks. If caught, the customer would be taken to jail. Needless to say, dancing was not allowed at this time either.
On another occasion,
I had an acquaintance who was riding in the back seat of a car with a male friend. The driver stopped at a red light and about that time the fellow in the back gave his friend a peck on the cheek. There happened to be a police car behind them and it was noticed by the officer. They were pulled over and jailed. He called me to provide his bail as he felt he could not call his family since he did not want them to know the circumstances and be labeled "a queer" as was the most referred to designation at the time. There was also the fear his employer would find out and he would lose his job, which fortunately did not happen.
I was in Detroit (Grosse Pointe) and with a friend sending out an invitation to our ONE meeting in a few days. We had been listening to a radio report on Stonewall. We met on a monthly basis as gay men in a local Detroit Unitarian Church. So One actually proceeded gays at Stonewall.
(Larry, tell us more about ONE)
I was a senior in high school in New Jersey. This is John Swiencicki
In 1969 I was getting married.
Mark: That summer was full of activity for me. I was "into" target archery big time, as well as my erstwhile companion of the moment. We travelled together to every big competition both here in Arizona and in the midwest in my little VW bug. At about the time of the Stonewall riot, I was likely in Indiana at the Brown County Invitational tournament. Later that summer (in fact during the week of Woodstock) I was nearby at the World Target Archery Championship in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, after which I took my mother and grandmother to Europe on a three-week holiday. I was back in my Michigan classroom teaching by mid-September. Buried away in my garage are all the particulars and souvenirs. Your question motivates me to go out and dig them up. I still have all my bows and archery paraphernalia.