“I still have not gotten to dance that dance I started 44 years ago. The big joyous ‘I Am A Completely Free Gay American’ dance yet, and I so badly want to dance that dance before I meet my maker” — Garvin, in a letter to President Barack Obama, 2013


Danny Garvin’s father enlisted him in the navy before retiring to Ireland in 1966, when Danny was 17. It was in the navy that he began the process of coming out, and he was first introduced to queer culture by fellow sailors. Following a psychological crisis brought on by the death of a girl he had a crush on and a stay in St. Alban’s Naval Hospital, Garvin was discharged from the navy in 1967, a few weeks after having turned eighteen. He celebrated at a gay bar navy friends had

introduced him to, and at the suggestion of a friendly older man, he ended up at the opening night of the Stonewall Inn. He soon became a Stonewall regular and moved into what may have been New York’s first gay hippie commune, where he began smoking weed and held conversations about the war in Vietnam and other political issues.

Image of Garvin in the 1960s, via HuffPost

He decided to visit a different gay hot spot on the night of June 27th, but ran into an old flame and they decided to end their night dancing at Stonewall. They approached the bar deep in conversation about the possibility of a revolution in America, and when they saw the crowd outside, Danny’s first impression was that the revolution had started. As a pacifist hippie, he did not participate in any violence, but he was active in protests against police attempts to clear the streets.

Following the events at Stonewall, Garvin became active in the recovery movement, helping to organize a group called Sober Together in the early 1980s. He continued to speak about his experiences and to advocate for equality until his death in 2014.



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