Pride is Still Protest: Know Your Rights When Interacting with Law Enforcement

We will fight with all we've got for the right to live freely and openly in South Dakota.

Pride was born out of the revolutionary spirit of trans people, particularly trans women of color – has always been about our collective liberation. 

This month, people across South Dakota will be celebrating the culture and diversity of the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community at Pride festivals, picnics, and events across the state. Folks can expect music, dancing, and plenty of fun! 

Person wearing a "Pride is still protest" t-shirt

In between cheers and fan claps, we know it’s important to recognize that Pride didn’t start with parties, parades and glitter. Pride began with protest. 

The start of the modern LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit movement dates back to the early hours of June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Raids of gay bars were not unusual — the police regularly raided them for serving alcohol without a license (gay bars frequently lost their license or were not given one) and arrested patrons for violating laws against crossdressing and sodomy, which included anatomical inspection. 

At the time, homosexuality was considered a crime and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people could be arrested for dancing together or wearing clothing that was not deemed gender-appropriate. In the early morning of June 28, police entered the Stonewall Inn with a warrant and started to arrest people. Handcuffed patrons were brought outside to wait for the police car to arrive, but in the meantime a crowd outside the bar, started fighting back against the police, escalating into a riot between police and protestors that lasted several days. Among the first people to resist the police were two transgender women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera

For some, the legacy of brutality and abuse against the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community by police still continues today.

That’s why it’s important to know your rights when interacting with police and law enforcement. Encounters with law enforcement officials can be stressful and scary. People have various experiences with law enforcement, some of which are not always fair or legal.

Get informed: Bookmark our Know Your Rights page and screenshot the resources linked below so you have easy access.