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Mexican American writer John Rechy. Photo: Tony Korody/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Imagew

Pride Month is celebrated every June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, considered the start of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement. But generally overlooked is the Latino connection to LGBTQ history, which started 10 years earlier.

Why it matters: Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans played key roles in demonstrations around the country that started as early as 1959 and often resulted in clashes with police.

Details: Mexican American writer John Rechy took part in the largely forgotten 1959 Cooper's Donuts Riot in Los Angeles — 10 years before Stonewall and on the other side of the country.

  • The uprising began after police tried to arrest El Paso, Texas-born Rechy and other LGBTQ patrons just for hanging out in Cooper’s Donuts, a popular gay meeting place. 
  • Transgender women, however, began pelting officers with donuts, coffee and plates until the officers retreated. More officers returned for an encounter historians say was one of the first modern LGBTQ uprisings in U.S. history.
  • Rechy would write about the episode in his 1963 novel, "City of Night," which became a classic in gay literature, earning praise from writer James Baldwin and inspiring "L.A. Woman" lyrics by The Doors.

Sylvia Rivera, a Puerto Rican/Venezuelan American transgender woman, co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Marsha P. Johnson shortly after the Stonewall Uprising.

  • She is sometimes credited with throwing one of the first bottles at police during Stonewall, though some historians have disputed that and say other Hispanic transgender people were involved.
  • Rivera helped link the Puerto Rican radical group Young Lords to LGBTQ liberation. She advocated for transgender rights until her death in 2002.

Context: To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, New York City announced Rivera would be immortalized with a monument near the Stonewall Inn.

Don't forget: The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies filed an amicus brief to fight an anti-gay law in Colorado in 1994. The case went to the Supreme Court and the law was tossed.

  • NACCS boycotted Colorado and nearly went bankrupt because it had to cancel a planned event there.
  • NACCS was the only group solely made up of members of color in this fight.

But: In 2019, college students of the historic group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan), or MEChA, voted to drop the word "Chicano" from its name, arguing that some members of the 1970s Chicano Movement were homophobic.

  • The change generated a strong backlash from some Chicano LGBTQ activists who called the students misguided "wokosos" (combining the term "woke" with the Spanish word "mocosos" — snot-nosed brats).

Go deeper

LGBTQ patients report bad experiences with health care providers

Expand chart
Adapted from a KFF report; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

Over a third of LGBTQ Americans say they've had a negative experience with a health care provider over the past two years, according to KFF survey research.

Why it matters: These findings, especially when coupled with the pandemic, should be a wake-up call about another big disparity in how the health care system treats different patients.

Manhattan, Westchester prosecutors request evidence from Cuomo investigation

Gov. Cuomo during a press conference in New York City on Aug. 2. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The district attorneys for Manhattan and Westchester County on Wednesday requested evidence related to New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), according to a letter obtained by NBC News.

Why it matters: The district attorneys are investigating if alleged conduct highlighted in an independent report published by James' office that occurred in their jurisdictions was criminal in nature.

Scoop: Buzzy media startup Puck launches in beta

Puck.news

Puck, a splashy new digital media company, is coming out of stealth mode, Axios has learned. The company debuted its landing page, puck.news, on Wednesday, and will officially launch its website in September.

Why it matters: The company has been quietly building a roster of top talent, but hadn't confirmed its branding or exact business plans up until now.