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Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Stonewall Inn: Settling by D.J. Manly

When I saw that Amber Quill was going to offer a Pax on the 1960s, I knew immediately what I wanted my story to be about, the Stonewall Inn.

The Stonewall Inn existed in part due to the greed of the Mob. Selling alcohol to anyone considered to be homosexual (i.e. a sexual deviant or gender traitor), was illegal at that time. The police allowed the mob to operate The Stonewall Inn because they profited from it, collecting money. To get around the law, The Stonewall Inn operated under the guise of a social club. When you came in, you had to sign your name. As you can guess, the names were made up. 

There was no running water in the Stonewall Inn, and glasses were often reused without being properly disinfected. As a result, hepatitis ran rampant. The lighting was dim, and staff had a system by which to warn the patrons of a police raid, which happened regularly. 

Customers were harassed for not dressing ‘appropriately,’ for dancing too close with a member of the same sex, and basically for anything the police wanted. 

And yet, in spite of these conditions, The Stonewall Inn was a haven for those who felt unloved and alienated from the cruel straight world, including runaway youth, and Queens. This sense of community and oppression inspired the patrons to fight back, and fight back they did! 

The Stonewall riots lasted three days but its impact has lasted for decades. The stereotype of the limp wristed, screaming queen who just kept on taking abuse was shattered that night when the patrons of Stonewall fought back. 

Following the riot, the reputation of Stonewall was tainted. Gay rights groups demanded a boycott of establishments run by the mob, who were exploiting the discrimination that existed against Gays and Lesbians. 

Over the years, the old Stonewall Inn building has been many different establishments, including a bagel shop and a Chinese restaurant. In 2007, it was renovated and once again, called Stonewall Inn. The historical significance of the Greenwich Village Bar and its impact on the LGBT rights movement caused the site to be added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on June 28th, 1999.

The two characters in The Stonewall Inn: Settling, are an unlikely match. Sam is gay but his mother doesn’t know that. He is the product of an African American mother and a white father, who he doesn’t even remember. He grew up in Harlem where his mother still lives, in a run- down apartment. Sam is given a job tending bar at the Stonewall Inn, after he meets the son of a mobster who owns the bar. Exploited sexually and beaten up regularly, Sam endures this abuse in order to better the situation of his mother and himself. 

Luke, a rookie cop is the son and grandson of New York City police officers. Even his older brother is a cop. He comes from a conservative, white family and dares not question his own feelings too much. 

As far as Sam is concerned, Luke is the enemy. To Luke however, Sam is something completely different.

I hope you like these characters and the story set against actual events. I felt truly honored to write this book. Below is an excerpt from the book.


Charlie excused himself to go to the bathroom. As soon as he did, Luke got to his feet. He walked over to the booth where the bartender and his companion sat. 

The bartender looked shocked. “We weren’t doing anything wrong, officer.”

Luke saw the other guy tighten his hand on his napkin. 

“I didn’t come over here to cause you any trouble. What’s your name?”

“Sam, Sam Brooks.” He cleared his throat. “You wanna’ see my—”

“No. I want you to consider pressing charges against Lewis Marconi. I’m at the 6th precinct. If you come in, ask for Officer Luke Delany, okay? I’ll process the complaint personally.”

Sam just stared at him. Then he laughed.

Luke hadn’t expected to be laughed at.  “Did I say something funny?”

“I can’t believe how na├»ve you are.”

“Sam.” The other guy shook his head. 

Luke stiffened. “I’m sorry?”

“Listen, I told you once, the cops won’t help us. You’d be wasting your time. Besides, Lewis Marconi is practically untouchable. Everyone knows that. You’d be laughed out of the station. How long you been a cop anyway, a day?” 

Luke’s mouth hardened. “Listen. Whatever hang-up you got with cops, I’m sure you have your reasons. I don’t give a damn. I’m just trying to do my job. I see a citizen who’s been assaulted by someone and that’s a crime. I see the perpetrator walking around with the idea that it’s okay to use his fists on another person. I don’t like that much. If you want to make a report, you know where to find me. Just don’t wait until he kills you.”


In an ideal world, we’d like to think that everything went well for our two lovers, Luke Delany and Samuel Brooks. But in an ideal would, Luke wouldn’t have had to choose between the man he loved and his job. In an ideal world, Sam’s mom would have accepted her son for who he was, and Luke would have been able to bring Sam home for dinner. But then, it wasn’t an ideal world then, nor is it now.

But we know what people like Sam and Luke faced in those years, and the fight still isn’t over. It’s not okay to be openly gay in the NYPD, although a handful of brave souls have “come out” anyway. And in some places in this world you can’t get married to someone of the same sex. 

LGBT people still have stigma, they still get beaten up, murdered, imprisoned and ostracized.  

Luke and Sam would face many battles in the years to come. The AIDS crisis of the eighties where they would lose many friends and maybe even each other, while those in positions of authority stood by and did nothing for years. They would risk being despised, shunned, and abused whenever they were brave enough to hold each other’s hands on the street. Maybe they’d get beaten up or denied access to the hospital room because they weren’t considered family, when one of them was sick or even dying.

We can only hope that Luke and Sam were able to weather all the battles that they would fight. Perhaps they kept on fighting, lying down in the streets with Act Up, or picketing places that openly discriminated. 

Maybe they are still together in their old age, holding hands and, depending on where they live in this world, maybe they even got married. We don’t know. We can speculate on their fate. Luke and Sam are shadows of people who experienced Stonewall, and decided that they had a right to live, to love and to be free things Luke and Sam would have faced in their future up to the present day.  


The Stonewall Inn: Settling by D.J. Manly is now available at Amber Allure.

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  1. The fact that Stonewall Inn is a background to the story of Luke and Sam makes it that much more special.

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  2. I enjoy historical reads and I wonder if this story will be linked to the symbolic riots of 1969 and turning point for LGBTQ rights? I recently read an interesting article about Stonewell Inn and that it no running water, glasses were just rinsed in bowl of dirty water, that it was originally owned by the Mafia and had weekly police raids. I wonder if poor Luke is going to get himself in trouble with his colleagues?