Tag Archives: pride

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were pioneering activists and leading figures of the gay liberation and transgender rights movements.  Johnson and Rivera were drag queens and survival sex workers, and both lived lives impacted by the systematic poverty and racism endemic in the United States.

Johnson was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, and is remembered as one of the most significant activists for transgender rights, although the term “transgender” wasn’t commonly used during her lifetime, and Johnson identified as a transvestite, gay and a drag queen, and used she/her pronouns.  She was on the front lines of protests against oppressive policing, including the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, and advocated tirelessly on behalf of sex workers, incarcerated people, and people with HIV/AIDS.

Rivera was a tireless champion for the rights of people of color and low-income LGBT people, calling for unity and sharing her stories, pain, and struggles to show her community they are not alone. She amplified the voices of the most vulnerable members of the gay community, and fought for the inclusion of transgender people in the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York.

Together, in 1970, Rivera and Johnson founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR). STAR offered services and advocacy for homeless queer youth and, according to the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, was the first LGBT youth shelter in North America and the first organization in the United States led by trans women of color.

Even within the community of gay rights activists, Johnson and Rivera were often sidelined. They quarreled with gay political leaders who excluded transgender rights from their priorities, with Rivera memorably warning at one point, “Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned.”  They were advocates for unity, and in an interview from 1992 Johnson asks, “How many years does it take for people to see that we’re all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race? I mean, how many years does it take for people to see that we’re all in this rat race together.”

These are just two of the countless extraordinary leaders of color from groundbreaking social movements who are all too often excluded from our national memory.  Learn more and become involved.

Sylvia Rivera Law Project https://srlp.org

Marsha P Johnson Institute https://marshap.org

 

Stonewall 50 and NYC Pride

Stonewall

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which began the morning of June 28, 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street.  Among the working-class patrons who refused to be arrested quietly were the transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson and the gay artist Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt. The confrontation spilled out into the street in protests and violent clashes; the riots continued for days, marking a turning point in the fight for queer civil rights.

A number of  New York City institutions are hosting exhibitions about the Stonewall Uprising.  Art after Stonewall, 1969–1989, is an exhibition across two venues, the Grey Art Gallery and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian ArtStonewall 50 at the New-York Historical Society; and Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall at the Brooklyn Museum, to list just a few.  Learn more about the Uprising by visiting these and the many other organizations hosting exhibitions and events in NYC.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, is New York City Pride Month, which culminates this weekend with the celebratory NYC Pride March this Sunday, June 30th, at Noon.  The Queer Liberation March, also on Sunday, steps off at 9:30 a.m., and seeks to be a more somber and inclusive march, casting a critical eye towards corporate pinkwashing.  To learn more about the Queer Liberation March, read its Why We March statement.  Both marches are free to attend and welcoming to all.

Happy Pride!

NYC Pride!

NY Pride

Come celebrate pride this Sunday, June 26, with the biggest LGBT pride celebration in the world!  Everyone is invited to share in free and inclusive events that commemorate and celebrate diversity and equality.

The march begins at noon on Sunday at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue, and works its way downtown to Christopher and Greenwich Streets in the West Village.  Also on Sunday is PrideFest, Heritage of Pride’s annual LGBT street fair.

For complete information, parade route, and a full list of events visit NYC Pride.

Heritage of Pride logo