Five Things to Know About the Downtown LGBTQ+ Activism Walking Tour
Earlier this year the Downtown Alliance announced the winners of its inaugural Walking Tour Incubator Grant Program. Among those talents was one Michael Venturiello, a historian and educator who has been a New York City tour guide for some time. He is the founder of Christopher Street Tours, an LGTBQ+-owned and -operated walking tour company that has been sharing stories and uplifting voices from members of the queer community who have paved the way toward human rights.
And now Venturiello is bringing his expertise to Lower Manhattan.
Venturiello’s incubator initiative has birthed the Downtown LGBTQ+ Activism Walking Tour, which will include spots in Lower Manhattan where pivotal protests were ignited and lead activists fought for justice. The new tour is set to launch this summer, and is an opportunity to honor the past, celebrate the present and actively contribute to a more inclusive future. To kick off Pride Month, here are five things to know about Venturiello’s tour — and keep an eye out for more announcements so you can get the full experience.
West Village’s Stonewall Inn is largely considered the birthplace of the modern movement for gay rights, but it was hardly the first protest site.
In actuality, the original American demonstration for gay rights occurred years earlier. In September of 1964, outside of the U.S. Army Building at 39 Whitehall St., activists ushered a new era of gay and lesbian politics — further establishing Lower Manhattan’s role as a major site in LGBTQ+ history.
In addition, the tour also touches upon the Gay Activists Alliance’s famous “zaps” throughout the neighborhood as well as some of the local offices in which major legal and political decisions were made by those in high positions of power.
LGBTQ+ history is not only New York City history — it’s American and world history.
LGBTQ+ history impacts each and every one of us. Everybody knows an LGBTQ+ coworker, neighbor, family member or friend. With LGBTQ+ rights currently under attack in this country, it’s more important now than ever that everyone has a strong understanding of how we can all play a part in further advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ people.
Hydration is always important. Guests are also welcome to bring a phone or camera, as well as — depending on the weather — a rain jacket, umbrella, sunscreen or sunglasses.
Have an open heart and an open mind.
A desire to learn more and a curiosity about the stories of generations who paved the way before us is also required. This is not just a walking tour in which the guide recites facts and the guests listen: Everyone is encouraged to participate in the experience by sharing their own perspectives, stories and experiences — so we may all work together toward a future of equality and justice.
The tour is two hours.
That clocks in at roughly a few thousand steps! Walking tours are a healthy activity for the body and the mind — also a great way to learn more information about a certain topic and connect with all sorts of people from across the globe.
photo: Michael VenturielloTags: michael venturiello, pride month, walking tours