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LGBTQ historian available to discuss Stonewall Riots anniversary

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

LAWRENCE — On June 28, 1969, a police raid at the Stonewall Inn prompted members of New York City’s gay community to engage in violent demonstrations that became known as the Stonewall Riots. This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the momentous event.

Katie Batza, associate professor of women, gender & sexuality studies at the University of Kansas, is available to discuss this anniversary with media.

“The Stonewall Riots are significant because they symbolize the beginning of the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement,” Batza said. “The riots quickly became a symbol of an important shift in the way that members of the then-gay — now LGBTQ communities — saw themselves and understood their collective rights as a group. Rather than remaining hidden, ashamed and fearful of being gay, as had been common in the decades leading up to 1969, after the riots LGBTQ people began to come out publicly, celebrate their sexuality and demand freedom from discrimination.”

Batza earned her doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Illinois at Chicago, along with a graduate concentration in work, race, gender and the urban world. Her research focuses on the intersection of sexuality, health and politics in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Her book, “Before AIDS,” explores the creation of gay health activism in the ’70s. She’s played an active role in the National Park Service’s LGBTQ initiative and co-founded a nonprofit, Rainbow Heritage Network, that aids in identifying, preserving and interpreting historic sites of particular meaning to LGBTQ communities.

To schedule an interview, contact Jon Niccum at 785-864-7633 or jniccum@ku.edu.