Stonewall Inn bartender Fredd Tree, left, talks about the bar's famous history in the gay rights movement as United States U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, right, listens, Thursday, June 16, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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Decades ago, an early morning raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York sparked violent protests among gay patrons who fought back after police burst in and tried to arrest them for daring to drink and dance with members of the same sex.The irony isn't lost on the gay community that used to see police as the oppressor and counts the 1969 Stonewall Inn raid as the start of the gay rights movement.At gay pride parades this weekend, that evolution will be on display in cities like Denver, where the first parade in 1975 was in response to police raids on gay bars and arrests of gay men. On Sunday, police will march in solidarity and will have a robust presence among the crowd of 300,000 plus people.Living an open gay lifestyle was unheard of across most of the U.S. just decades ago, and police routinely raided private gay clubs.While large departments for years have been more welcoming to the gay community and many have gay officers on the force, rural, conservative states are trying to catch up, too.
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