Edie Windsor was far from the activist she would become at the time of the 1969 Stonewall Riots which marked the beginning of the modern-day gay rights movement.
‘When Stonewall happened, I was really this ignorant middle class lady who said "I don’t see why I have to be identified with those queens,"’ Windsor said in an interview posted Thursday (24 July) by Marriage Equality USA.
But the woman whose lawsuit brought down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) soon realized how heroic the drag queens who took a stand against police raids were.
‘I mean those queens changed my life,’ she says. ‘And I saw them and I loved what I saw. It was the beginning of my sense of community.’
Windsor sued the US government when she was billed $363,053 in estate taxes after the death of wife Thea Spyer in 2009.
The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court and in June 2013, a majority of the court voted to gut key provisions of DOMA.
Windsor, 84, has seen some remarkable things happen since that landmark decision.
‘Suddenly the self-esteem is just flowing – I mean even these judges are saying we’re respectable. So we were coming out in droves and the more we came out, the more we saw each other and the more we loved and then more of us came out until we’re just this huge, joyous, loving community and I live in the middle of it and its great.’
Marriage Equality USA released the final part of Edie Windsor: In Her Own Words on Thursday in honor of the three-year anniversary of marriage equality in her home state of New York.