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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., organizes a picture with supporters who marched with him in the Nashua Pride Parade in Nashua, N.H., on June 29, 2019. (AP) Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., organizes a picture with supporters who marched with him in the Nashua Pride Parade in Nashua, N.H., on June 29, 2019. (AP)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., organizes a picture with supporters who marched with him in the Nashua Pride Parade in Nashua, N.H., on June 29, 2019. (AP)

Daniel Funke
By Daniel Funke February 18, 2020

This isn’t a photo of Bernie Sanders at Stonewall

If Your Time is short

  • The image is a meme that’s been around since at least 2015.
  • There’s no evidence that Sanders was at the Stonewall riots.

Some Instagram users are misrepresenting an old meme to try and make Sen. Bernie Sanders look like a gay icon.

A post published Feb. 14 by @indiesauce claims to show the Democratic presidential candidate at the June 1969 Stonewall riots. It depicts a man in a black turtleneck standing alongside four women.

(Screenshot from Instagram)

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook, which owns Instagram.) It has more than 7,700 likes.

The Stonewall uprising was a series of confrontations between police and LGBTQ people outside the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. It is viewed as the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement and the reason that Pride celebrations are typically held in June.

Featured Fact-check

No one knows who threw the first brick at Stonewall, but it definitely wasn’t Sanders.

The Instagram photo does not depict the Vermont senator, nor does it depict the Stonewall riots — it’s a meme that’s been around since at least 2015. It originally served as a way to make fun of hipsters and Tumblr users.

via MEME

Sanders is no stranger to protests, though; he was arrested in 1963 during a civil rights demonstration in Chicago. He also has a history of advocating for gay rights. But there’s no evidence that Sanders was at the Stonewall riots.

The Instagram post is inaccurate. We rate it False.

Our Sources

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Stonewall riots, accessed Feb. 18, 2020

Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Why Is Pride Month Celebrated in June?" accessed Feb. 18, 2020

The Guardian, "Footage shows a young Bernie Sanders arrested during civil rights protest," Feb. 20, 2016 

Imgur, accessed Feb. 18, 2020

Instagram post, Feb. 14, 2020

Me.me, accessed Feb. 18, 2020

The New York Times, "As Gay Rights Ally, Bernie Sanders Wasn’t Always in Vanguard," Nov. 27, 2015

The New York Times, "Who Threw the First Brick at Stonewall? Let’s Argue About It," May 31, 2019

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More by Daniel Funke

This isn’t a photo of Bernie Sanders at Stonewall

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