Queer Life After the Stonewall Uprising – Paradise in New York in the 70’s

On May 18, 1981, the New York Native, the only gay newspaper in New York, published an article on a deadly disease that would later be called AIDS. This article completely changed the life of the queer community in New York and began a multi-year battle with the disease that killed many queer people. But a few years before the virus spread, the 1969 Stonewall Uprising made the streets of New York look like a paradise, a new generation of queer people enjoying freedom, no longer needing to live in the shadows and constantly hiding.

The Stonewall Uprising not only had a positive impact on Queer society but also on art, making New York a mecca of art, culture and creativity. The streets were filled with happy and joyful people creating new currents of art, telling stories with new interpretations. Bars, clubs and parks were filled with the sounds of hip-hop, punk and disco. Artistic groups took over abandoned buildings and turned them into art galleries. Life was easier, creating art and saving oneself, the air was also charged differently. A new generation of artists freed art from captivity and took it out of white galleries to the streets where everyone could enjoy it.

Stanley Steller’s photographic lens retains unique shots from those years, and at the same time, the Brooklyn-born artist remembers well his childhood, the lives of queer people before the Stonewall Uprising of the 1950s and 1960s. He remembers the dark shadow that was on all the queer people, “At the age of 10, the media told me that I was horrible and I should feel lucky if someone decided not to kill me, once they understood my orientation. We almost did not exist. ” After Coming out, Steller decided to explore New York well and realized that the place of queer people was almost nowhere in town, and everything changed in the 1970s, he remembers the day when he felt it. Walking down the street with an older man, the world was full of love and romance and he realized that at last the dark time was a thing of the past.

The dark times and the hostile society took away a lot from Stanley Steller, but gave him the most precious thing – a passion for photography. The first camera the artist bought in 1976, “Some people get involved in sports, some do music, I wanted to take photos,” he wanted to use his photos to answer questions about what gay life means and where it is.

In the 1970s, while filming LGBT + people, he realized that he was living in a truly amazing time. “Christopher Street was a paradise,” he says. “Suddenly I realized that I was part of a great story. As soon as I started taking photos, I realized that I was saving the most remarkable time in the history of stoneware on my photoshoot.”

Stellar mainly portrayed the lives of queer people in the West Village, also referred to as the Eden period, the years of freedom – when everyone in New York had the opportunity to live their lives the way they wanted to. “I had a friend who opened a store in New York and called it ‘Now.’

The store did not work for a long time, but it was not the main thing, the main thing was that for the first time in history we felt that we could, we could be proud, we could turn on the light and tell people – come on! I am very lucky to have shared this degree of freedom, I am happy to have lived in that time. We are not Alexander the Great, nor the Michelangels, nor the Rock Hudson, we were ordinary children who rode in subway cars every day to find freedom, love, friendship, and people.

Source: Dazed

Photo: სტენლი სტელარი

Translation: ზურა აბაშიძე

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