7 Important Locations for LGBTQ Rights Beyond Stonewall

A Harvey Milk mural inside the politician's former Castro Camera Shop.
A Harvey Milk mural inside the politician's former Castro Camera Shop.

On June 28, 1969, protests broke out at the Stonewall Inn in New York City following a police raid targeting gay patrons. Decades later, that incident is credited as the event that kicked off the gay liberation movement, and Stonewall is a designated landmark. The historic bar is arguably the most famous gay rights landmark in the country, but it’s just one of many American locations that hold significance for the LGBTQ community. On the year of Stonewall’s 50th anniversary, here are some more important LGBTQ landmarks and memorials worth visiting.

  1. Castro Camera and the Harvey Milk Residence // San Francisco, California

San Francisco’s Castro District is one of the most famous historically gay neighborhoods in the United States. Harvey Milk, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the first openly gay elected official in California, lived there from the early 1970s until his assassination in 1978. Today the house where he lived above his camera shop is a designated San Francisco landmark.

  1. Transgender Memorial Garden // St. Louis, Missouri

In 2015, St. Louis activist Leon Braxton got the idea to plant a garden as a way of honoring and calling attention to trans victims of violence. Around 60 people got together that October to transform a vacant lot in the city into a small park with 34 trees, a butterfly garden, and a community circle. The Transgender Memorial Garden was the second of its kind in the world, following one built in Manchester, England, and it was the first one established in the United States.

  1. Mattachine Steps // Los Angeles, California

The Mattachine Steps in Silver Lake are a distinctive Los Angeles landmark, but many people who recognize it may not be aware of its ties to LGBTQ history. Harry Hay was living next to the stairway when he founded the Mattachine Society in 1950. The organization was one of the first gay rights organizations in the country, and it played an important role in the gay civil rights movement’s early history. The stairs were renamed the Mattachine Steps in his honor in 2012 and today a sign marks the historic site.

  1. Legacy Walk // Chicago, Illinois

The Legacy Walk in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood is an outdoor museum that highlights contributions to history and culture made by LGBTQ figures. Twenty rainbow pylons are installed over a half-mile stretch, with each pylon featuring bronze memorial plaques of noteworthy lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals or an important event in LGBTQ history. The 37 plaques feature some famous names, as well as many that have been ignored by history books.

  1. Julius’ Bar // New York City, New York

Stonewall may be the most famous gay bar in New York City, but it isn’t the oldest. That distinction belongs to Julius’ Bar. Built in 1826 and functioning as a bar since 1864, it first gained a reputation as a watering hole that catered to gay clientele in the 1950s. In 1966, a group of gay activists held a “sip-in” at Julius’ to put pressure on New York State laws prohibiting eating and drinking establishments from serving gay people. The peaceful protest is considered a landmark moment in the LGBT civil rights movement.

  1. The Black Cat // Los Angeles, California

Two years before the Stonewall Riots in New York City, protests in Los Angeles secured the Black Cat’s place in LGBTQ history. On New Year’s Eve 1966, plainclothes cops were waiting in the gay bar to catch men kissing at midnight, and when the clock struck 12, they beat and arrested 14 people for lewd conduct. Activists protested the violent incident a month later by picketing outside the Black Cat. The tavern was designated a historic-cultural monument by the city of Los Angeles in 2008.

  1. Bayard Rustin Residence // New York City, New York

Bayard Rustin was instrumental in several social movements throughout his life. He participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and even worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. to organize the March on Washington. In the 1980s, he fought for gay rights and drew attention to the AIDS epidemic. The influential black and gay activist lived in the same apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood from 1962 to his death in 1987. Walter Naegle, Rustin's former partner, still lives there, and he's kept it almost exactly how it was in the 1980s. Today the apartment is registered as a national historic place.

These Rugged Steel-Toe Boots Look and Feel Like Summer Sneakers

Indestructible Shoes
Indestructible Shoes

Thanks to new, high-tech materials, our favorite shoes are lighter and more comfortable than ever. Unfortunately, one thing most sneakers are not is durable. They can’t protect your feet from the rain, let alone heavy objects. Luckily, as their name implies, Indestructible Shoes has come up with a line of steel-toe boots that look and feel like regular sneakers.

Made to be incredibly strong but still lightweight, every pair of Indestructible Shoes has steel toes, skid-proof grips, and shock-absorption technology. But they don't look clunky or bulky, which makes them suitable whether you're going to work, the gym, or a family gathering.

The Hummer is Indestructible Shoes’s most well-rounded model. It features European steel toes to protect your feet, while the durable "flymesh" material wicks moisture to keep your feet feeling fresh. The insole features 3D arch support and extra padding in the heel cup. And the outsole features additional padding that distributes weight and helps your body withstand strain.

Indestructible Shoes Hummer.
The Hummer from Indestructible Shoes.
Indestructible Shoes

There’s also the Xciter, Indestructible Shoes’s latest design. The company prioritized comfort for this model, with the same steel toes as the Hummer, but with additional extra-large, no-slip outsoles capable of gripping even smooth, slippery surfaces—like, say, a boat deck. The upper is made of breathable moisture-wicking flymesh to help keep your feet dry in the rain or if you're wearing them on the water.

If you want a more breathable shoe for the peak summer months, there's the Ryder. This shoe is designed to be a stylish solution to the problem of sweaty feet, thanks to a breathable mesh that maximizes airflow and minimizes sweat and odor. Meanwhile, extra padding in the midsole will keep your feet protected.

You can get 44 percent off all styles if you order today.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

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