Fifty years after the riots at the Stonewall Inn, the LGBTQ community remains at risk of harassment, assault, and even death at the hands of hatemongers. It is under official attack by the federal government. And while big tech is happy to brand itself as pro-LGBTQ with ostentatious support for Pride month, it will not take action against the virulent anti-LGBTQ content that flourishes online.

This year seven transgender women, all black, have been murdered. Two are from Dallas, raising concerns that a serial killer may be targeting them. (A third black transgender woman was also murdered in the city last October.) The Trump administration has implemented a ban preventing transgender troops from serving in the military. The administration has also proposed a regulation that would reverse rules now in place at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services prohibiting discrimination in health care against LGBTQ patients.

YouTube this week announced a new policy banning hate speech on its platform but declined to take any action that would stop the right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder from continuing his homophobic and racist attacks on journalist Carlos Manza, who is gay and Latino. In an extraordinary move showing that the company really does understand the real world effects of being targeted by hatemongers — and what Manza has endured as a result of its failure to act — YouTube announced the new policy in an unsigned blog post and asked reporters “to withhold the names of the executives they interviewed about it” to ensure their safety.

This is madness. As we embark on a month of art exhibits, travel packages, and public celebrations tied to the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, widely regarded as the birth of the modern LGBTQ movement, we can look back in history for lessons on how to move forward. But we can only do this by fully understanding what the Stonewall riots were and what they weren’t.

First, the riots that began on Friday, June 28, 1969, and continued into the next week had nothing to do with Judy Garland — a meme that has been used for decades that trivializes the lives of LGBTQ people. There is a persistent myth that patrons of the Stonewall Inn were grief-stricken by Garland’s funeral, which had taken place in New York City the day before, and when police raided the bar that grief turned to anger. But what’s more likely? That Stonewall patrons were moved to act by the death of an icon? Or for having been been treated as criminals by police, the health-care establishment, and religious institutions?

In 1969 and every year prior, LGBTQ people could be arrested if police believed they were wearing clothing that did not match their perceived gender. They could be forcibly hospitalized and treated with electro-shock therapy. They were subjected to frequent witch hunts. In his book “Sex-Crime Panic: A Journey to the Paranoid Heart of the 1950s,” the journalist and historian Neil Miller recounts the public hysteria that resulted in the arrests of 22 gay men in Sioux City, Iowa, in response to the abduction and murder of an 8-year old boy. The men, none of whom had anything to do with the crime, were accused of being sexual psychopaths and incarcerated in the state mental hospital.

The first contemporaneous mention of Judy Garland in relation to the riots was made in a Village Voice columnnearly two weeks later in a deeply homophobic piece attributing the “Great Faggot Rebellion” to the “combination of a full moon and Judy Garland’s funeral.” The piece included this account from an eyewitness: “I thought it would be a novelty to watch a gay demonstration. It was reassuring to see that they mince even under pressure.”

What’s the lesson? Understand the harm that is taking place. Document it. Do not minimize it.

Second, the riots were, in fact, riots. On the first night, six officers showed up to conduct a routine raid of the bar. But the crowd turned on them after police physically assaulted a butch lesbian who was resisting arrest. Police barricaded themselves inside the bar. A Village Voice reporter, who was locked inside with the officers, described the sounds from the crowd outside as “a powerful rage bent on vendetta.”

Even so, the riots were quintessentially queer. As reported by the historian Martin Duberman in “Stonewall: The Definitive Story of the LGBTQ Rights Uprising That Changed America,” New York City’s Tactical Police Force, which responded to calls for back-up from the officers trapped inside the bar, were confronted with “a chorus line of mocking queens” who clasped their arms together and kicked their legs in the air as they sing-shouted, “We are the Stonewall girls, We wear our hair in curls, We wear no underwear, We show our pubic hair, We wear our dungarees, Above our nelly knees!”

What’s the lesson? Bring everything to the fight, including your Big Queer Authentic Self.

Last, the Stonewall riots did not come out of nowhere. Three years earlier, in 1966, “drag queens, trans women and gay hustlers” hanging out at Compton’s cafeteria in San Francisco rioted in response to a violent police raid. The riots at Compton’s cafeteria and the Stonewall Inn were part of a much bigger historical moment.

“You have to understand what was happening throughout the country at that time,” said Michael Bronski in an interview. Bronski, the author of numerous books on LGBTQ history and culture, including the forthcoming “A Queer History of the United States for Young People,” is also a professor of media and activism at Harvard University.

From 1965 through the Stonewall riots, a significant portion of the country was “consumed with frustration, rage, and despair” in response to Vietnam War and the assassinations Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, added Bronski. “Queer people saw what was happening around them. The riots at Compton’s and Stonewall were part of the movements, riots, demonstrations, political actions, and bursts of anger that defined the second half of the 1960s.”

Indeed, within weeks of the Stonewall riots, the Gay Liberation Front formed in New York, taking its name from the Women’s Liberation Front (which had, in turn, taken its name from the Viet Cong’s National Liberation Front). On the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, protest parades were organized by Gay Liberation Front chapters in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, giving rise to the activism that has changed life for LGBTQ people.

What’s the lesson? We are part of something much bigger than ourselves, but we are the ones who need to keep pushing for LGBTQ equality.

Today, the LGBTQ community resides in a gray zone where things are better than they used to be but not anywhere close to where they should be. In a piece explaining the higher risks to physical and mental health faced by LGBTQ youth due to discrimination, a doctor described the traumatic coming out experience of a 13-year-old with queer parents who attended school in a Massachusetts district where “support for LGBTQ kids is routine” and “LGBTQ-themed posters and signs” can be found in the elementary, middle, and high schools. Despite the support she received at home and at school, the 13-year old was tormented by a peer who threatened to out her to the entire school, and her mental health suffered greatly as a result.

Her story is not unusual. Last year, a report analyzing the demographic data of the LGBTQ population in Massachusetts found that more than 60 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth felt “so sad or helpless that they stopped doing some of their usual activities,” as compared with 24 percent of their straight peers. Nearly half had contemplated suicide and more than one-third had devised a plan for dying by suicide. Most alarming? One-quarter of these young people in Massachusetts — which has a network of community-based organizations for LGBTQ youth that goes back at least two decades — had attempted suicide as compared with 5 percent of their straight peers. All of these numbers are much worse for LGBTQ youth of color and those who are gender non-conforming.

Bronski, who was also one of the early members of the Gay Liberation Front, is adamant that an understanding of history is necessary to moving forward.

“There’s a really popular campaign for LGBTQ youth called ‘It Gets Better.’ To whatever extent it helps people feel better, that’s great,” Bronski said. “But it’s a really ahistorical message to send. Nothing gets better on its own. We make it better. We have to create the world we want to see.”

Susan Ryan-Vollmar, a communications consultant, was formerly editor-in-chief of Bay Windows and news editor of the Boston Phoenix.