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Stonewall Veteran Raymond Castro Dies at 68


GLAAD reports, in an email, that Stonewall veteran Raymond Castro has died at 68:

"On June 27, 1969 Castro was inside the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, on the first night of the uprising and is documented as the only person arrested that evening who was known to be gay, according to historian David Carter.

Although police raids of gay-friendly bars were sadly common at the time, on that night people fought back. As two officers were escorting Castro out of the bar, the crowd shouted, "Let him go, let him go," and he pushed against the waiting patrol wagon with both feet, knocking the two cops to the ground. He was put in the back of the vehicle and detained, but was later released without charge. He hired a lawyer to resist the charge against him in court and also his lawyer represent an arrested lesbian who was in the patrol wagon with him.  Typical of his generosity, he did not let the lesbian assist in paying the attorney who represented them. That night's events, including Castro's struggle against police, gave birth to the modern gay civil rights movement.

Although he was at the center of the incident that sparked the movement, Ray Castro lived a quiet humble life in Florida for decades with his loving husband Frank. Originally from Puerto Rico, Castro moved to New York when he was 5, living in Manhattan and later Long Island. He spent his career as a baker and wedding cake designer and brightened the lives of everyone he knew with his magnetic personality. Ironically he attended baking school in the Greenwich Village building on 13th Street that now houses the NYC LGBT Center. He was a warm-hearted generous man who cared about his neighbors and his community."

Here's a NY Daily News article on Castro published this summer, when he returned to NYC from Madeira Beach, Florida for the 40th anniversary of gay pride and the 41st anniversary of Stonewall (photo, right, above).

The trailer for Stonewall Uprising, which Castro appeared in, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Amazing how the people shouting let him go and his own two feet on the car started a movement.

    May he rest in peace and be blessed.

    Posted by: rjp3 | Oct 14, 2010 11:17:48 AM

  2. Thank you so very much Raymond Castro, Rest In Peace!

    Posted by: teyshan | Oct 14, 2010 11:18:56 AM

  3. Raymond, I didn't know about you until today. You make me proud, my fellow Gay Puerto Rican. May you rest in peace and remembered.

    Posted by: malo | Oct 14, 2010 11:32:08 AM

  4. Wow, to stand up and be counted against injustice.....his name will live forever.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Oct 14, 2010 12:43:23 PM

  5. Gay people today are getting too comfortable with their second class status...we NEED another riot or two!!

    Posted by: Bobo | Oct 14, 2010 2:35:53 PM

  6. A man for the ages, a man for today. Thank you, Raymond Castro, for leading the way. We won't let you down; we will continue to fight for equality. R.I.P.

    Posted by: mad1026 | Oct 14, 2010 2:58:56 PM

  7. So, so handsome were those boys of 1969. Rest in Peace Raymond. Your footsteps will always sound on that street.

    Posted by: Mick | Oct 14, 2010 3:35:34 PM

  8. I was a combat veteran serving in Vietnam on that June night in 1969, totally unaware at that moment that people like myself were being Harrased, intimidated and generally treated as second class citizens back home. Homosexuality was known at the time as the "Love that dare not speak its name." So most of us never did. I was shocked and inwardly thrilled to hear that some of my brothers and sistes were not only speaking about it, but shouting we are not going to take it anymore! I instinctively knew who the real heroes were and it wasn't those of us who took the cowardly way out by remaining silent about who we are. It was truly an event that changed my life and I'm guessing the lives of many others like me. I came home from Vietnam, came out of the closet and haven't looked back. Thank you Raymond Castro and all the others who participated in that historic event for the world's gay community. We are forever grateful. May you rest in peace. There really is no going back, and that's a good thing.

    Posted by: Another Mike | Oct 15, 2010 10:05:36 AM

  9. @another mike -- What a beautiful testament to the courage and honesty of both you and Raymond Castro. Live well

    Posted by: expatfrance | Oct 15, 2010 11:16:16 AM

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