The Upstairs Lounge Fire: The Little Known Story of the Largest Killing of Gays in US History

The LGBT Rights movement is still in it’s infancy.
I never thought I’d live to see a day when Same-sex Marriage would be part of the political conversation.
While celebrating Pride Month, let’s not forget the trials of those who have come before. Their blood, sweat and tears made today’s joy possible.

U.S.

On June 24, 1973, a flash fire tore through a gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter. In less than 20 minutes, 32 people were killed, dozens more critically injured and the ones who managed to escape watched helplessly as friends and lovers burned to death before their eyes. It is believed to be the largest killing of gay people in U.S. history. Yet politicians and religious leaders were relatively silent. The powerful Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans at the time, Phillip Hannan, did not offer his support or sympathy to victims. And while all signs pointed to arson, the police investigation ran cold. No one has ever been prosecuted.

In this week’s magazine, TIME tells the story of the Upstairs Lounge Fire, which remains little known and even less understood despite the epic scale of the tragedy. Events like Stonewall have entered the canon of GLBT history, while…

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