New York Yankees announces LGBT scholarships for 50th anniversary of Stonewall riots

American baseball team New York Yankees has revealed plans to spend $50,000 on scholarships, which will act “as a springboard for young LGBTQ student community members,” to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

The iconic team had come under fire for being one of only two clubs in Major League Baseball (MLB) to not have held a LGBT+ Pride night this year.

However, on Friday (September 21)  the club announced its “Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative,” which will provide five $10,000 college scholarships to one student from each of New York City’s five boroughs.

The New York Yankees will allegedly hold a number of events next season to commemorate 50 years since the Stonewall Riots. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

New York Yankees also confirmed that it will hold a series of other “LGBTQ community-themed commemorations” during 2019, the details of which will be revealed next year.

“The Yankees wholeheartedly support equality for all individuals and applaud any efforts which make our society more inclusive and tolerant,” said Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner in a statement.

“It is our hope that this scholarship program will serve as a springboard for young LGBTQ student community members and advocates as they continue the pursuit of their dreams, ambitions and livelihoods.”

The momentous riots in June 1969 at New York City’s Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, are widely regarded as the foundation of the modern LGBT+ rights movement.

According to a press release put out by the club, the recipients of the scholarships will “be celebrated at a game at Yankee Stadium during the Yankees’ homestand from June 17-26, 2019.”

The events at the stadium will include members of the LGBT+ community and representatives of Stonewall Inn.

The Stonewall riots are often regarded as the event leading to the gay liberation movement. (Creative Commons)

Stonewall Inn, in New York City’s Greenwich Village, played a key role in LGBT history as the location of a series of riots in June 1969 by members of the community in response to a police raid.

Led by prominent activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who were gender non-conforming, the riots sparked an entire civil rights movement, and are the reason Pride Month is celebrated in June.

Some of the first Pride marches began on the anniversary of the riots in 1970, and in many countries Prides are still often known as Christopher Street Day Parades in honour of the pub’s location.