The Astrology of the Stonewall Riots: An Interview with Amelia Quint

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn - a mafia-run gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village - was raided by police. Police raids were common. But this night was different. On this night, folks - most notably young trans folks of color - fought back.

The riots continued for several days throughout the Village and ultimately became the tipping point for the LGBTQ+ movement in the 1970s. Stonewall wasn’t the first major pushback for LGBTQ+ equality, but it was by far the most visible and it set off the movement towards LGBTQ+ rights, full throttle, from which there was no turning back.

I talked with my dear friend, and LGBTQ+ identified astrologer Amelia Quint (founder of The Midheaven), about the “birth” chart of the Stonewall Riots and what the astrology of that night tells us about the significance of Stonewall and the LGBTQ+ movement in our country.

 The "birth" chart of the Stonewall Riots

The "birth" chart of the Stonewall Riots

Jeanna: What impact does your identity have on your day-to-day career as an astrologer?

Amelia: There's a tendency among astrologers to lean on the traditional gender binary of masculine and feminine. I tired of that early on in my practice because I didn't see myself and so many of my friends in it. As a queer person, I resolved to find better, more inclusive ways of discussing the astrology of sex and romance. The interesting thing is that many of the most common astrology techniques employed for cis-het relationships are just as effective for LGBTQIA+ ones, but people don't usually go there with it. It's so easy to stay stuck in cisgendered, straight interpretations, but we need to think outside of that.

For example, if you're a woman [looking into the astrology of sex and relationships], you're told to look at your Mars to find out what kind of man to date. That never resonated for me. Not only is it disheartening to feel like your desires are cosmically invisible, but it's also an extremely reductive way to view the Mars archetype. Mars isn't just masculinity, whatever that means to you. It's the physicality of sex, it's being the one to initiate the chase, and it's the visceral, raw quality of pursuit. We all have a little of those things within us as humans, though they may manifest in different ways.

Jeanna: What immediately strikes you as the most notable aspects of the Stonewall chart?

Amelia: What stands out to me most about the Stonewall chart is the Sun in Cancer right at the bottom, snug against the IC. The IC, or "imum coeli," is the chart's lowest point. Astrologers use it to determine the ways in which childhood trauma or other early developmental experiences may play into your life as an adult. It's a very emotional, private spot, and to have the Sun there shining bright is just a really lovely and interesting omen. Here we see an opportunity to heal areas of sensitivity and pain that have been hiding just beneath the surface. It's such a beautiful symbol for this underground movement being brought into the light and helping others to do the same.

Because the chart has Aries rising, the signs align with their respective houses and their energy is more potent than usual. Aries rising is especially apt for this chart, because it represents championing a cause you care about or otherwise fighting for what you believe in in a very tangible, sometimes physically demanding way. What's more is that having Aries rising puts Libra, the sign of love, on the descendant, an astrological point that represents long-term partnership and commitment. Here, "love is love" could not be more true.  

It also stands out to me that Mercury is in his home sign of Gemini. Dual-natured Gemini is one of the strongest signs of fluid, nonbinary sexuality and gender. I love that it's also paired with Venus in her home sign of Taurus, a very feminine and sensual presence. That's where you can really see the transwomen and drag queens who became leaders of the movement stepping in. Having both planets in the signs they rule make them dominant, so the chart is really all about a blend of Mercury and Venus vibes. Curiously, Mercury and Venus together is another classic LGBTQIA+ indicator! It's also an excellent pairing for the arts and fashion, which could explain the powerful influence that the LGBTQIA+ community has had on theater, music, and expressions of beauty.

Jeanna: The police raided the Stonewall on the premises of "homosexual activity" and specifically people breaking what at the time were technically legally gendered dress codes. The people who drove the pushback against the police were trans women of color like Sylvia Rivera and Martha P. Johnson, who later became leaders in trans activism. How do we see the major players in the chart?

Amelia: Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson's astrology charts line up with the stars for Stonewall in such beautiful ways. Sylvia had her Sun and Uranus on Stonewall's Sun. Uranus rules revolution, and her involvement here, however tragic, proved to be revolutionary. Also, her ascendant lines up with Stonewall's Venus in Taurus, making her in many ways the face of the movement.

Marsha had her North Node, or destiny point, on Stonewall's Sun. She was also having a Jupiter return at the time, a period that's lauded by astrologers as one of the most promising moments in a person's life. While the experience was surely bitter and painful for everyone involved, she's had such a positive influence on so many people because of her presence at Stonewall.

Jeanna: Can you say a little more about astrological aspects that generally have a history of being associated with queerness or gender non-conformity?

Amelia: A heavy Mercury presence in a chart is a classic one, especially if there are lots of planets or important points in Gemini. Uranus, which is sometimes referred to as Mercury's higher octave, is another major indicator, as is lots of activity in the sign of Aquarius. Many traditional astrology books put the LBGTQIA+ community and movement under Aquarius's domain, so that's important to remember.

Taking a more detailed approach when looking at the astrology of queerness is really important. There are certain planets that symbolize a personal sexual needs and desires, Venus and Mars, so you'll want to look at those first. The ascendant reveals how a person sees and presents themselves, so that would be the first place to look for gender. Also looking directly to the asteroids Eros and Sappho can be helpful. (They mean exactly what you would expect!)

The first anniversary of Stonewall marked the first ever Gay Pride Day in New York City; this soon spiraled out into events across the country spanning the month of June, which became an unofficial Pride Month and, soon, a Pride Month marked and honored by presidents. In 2016, President Barack Obama designated the Stonewall Inn as a National Monument.  

Barely a year later, the LGBTQ+ community is in a drastically different place. Pride month is coming to an end, but the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is far from over. What we know - and what astrology affirms - is that we are on the right side of history. 

P.S. To learn more about your own birth chart, you can get a birth chart reading with Amelia here. If you aren't signed up for my tinyletter (love notes about writing and creativity with some bits of astrology and woo), what are you waiting for? 

P.P.S. For those of you who've been around for a while, you may notice that the blog looks pretty different. Look for a blog post + tinyletter coming soon that will talk about the site's new direction - and new astrology/tarot offerings. :)