In recognition of Pride Month, Airbnb is launching its "We Belong Together" campaign, which aims to celebrate diversity and bridge generational divides within the LGBTQ+ community through heart-to-heart interactions in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
“We have a vision of a world where anyone can belong anywhere,” said Josh Meltzer, Airbnb’s head of Northeast Policy, in a statement. “And for us, that’s what 'We Belong Together' is all about.”
To kick off the effort, Airbnb released “Connecting 50 Years of Pride,” a five-minute short film directed by Ivan Cash that brings LGBTQ+ veterans of the Stonewall Uprising and millennials together for candid, personal talks about their experiences in the gay community.
“We have the history and I think it’s important for us to pass it on. When I was a kid, there was really no positive word for being queer or gay,” says Brooklyn-based artist Richard Haines in the video to his younger counterpart. Throughout the film, the Stonewall vets and the younger subjects share their stories about homegrown activism, coming to terms with their sexuality and the infamous riots.
Named for the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, the Stonewall riots—also known as the Stonewall Uprising—were a series of protests that began on June 28, 1969 in response to a late-night police raid on the establishment.
Today, the riots are credited with helping to catalyze the gay liberation movement and bolster support for the first U.S. Pride parade, which was held in New York the year following the protests.
In addition to producing the “Connecting 50 Years of Pride” video, Airbnb is partnering with SAGE, a gay seniors' advocacy group, to bring 10 Stonewall veterans to New York City—some of whom will be returning to Manhattan for the first time since the 1969 protests—in celebration of WorldPride, an international LGBTQ+ event sponsored by Airbnb that will be held in the U.S. for the first time later this month.
“By refusing to accept police harassment and abuse, these pioneers lit the match that started the modern LGBT rights movement,” SAGE CEO Michael Adams said of the Stonewall vets in a statement. “We are grateful to Airbnb for their support in returning these heroes to New York City to be thanked, honored and celebrated.”
During the 50th anniversary week of Stonewall, from June 27-30, Airbnb will also be opening a pop-up in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District that will bring older LGBTQ+ community members together to share experiences and attend events including panel discussions, drag shows and various themed parties.