Nonetheless, scores of media outlets including the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and PBS have been pushing a dubious transgender narrative about Stonewall. [28] In 1973, Johnson performed the role of "The Gypsy Queen" in the Angels' production, "The Enchanted Miracle", about the Comet Kohoutek. -Marsha P. Johnson. Almost everyone agrees they were there. Johnson. [51][52] According to Wicker, a witness saw a neighborhood resident fighting with Johnson on July 4, 1992. Things came to a head at the Pride March in 1973, when Rivera said she was repeatedly blocked from speaking. She also had a religious streak. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. As the AIDS crisis devastated the LGBT+ community in the 1980s, Johnson continued her work, marching with activist group ACT UP, helping at fundraisers, and nursing her friends on their death beds. Johnson appears as a character in two fictional film dramas that are based on real events, including Stonewall (2015), played by Otoja Abit,[60] and Happy Birthday, Marsha! (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images FILIPPO MONTEFORTE, WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 07: Performers pose for a portrait backstage at the Vogue Ball during the LA Pride 2019 on June 07, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. The “P” in Marsha P Johnson stood for “Pay it no mind” – and when people got too nosy about her, that is what she would tell them. Belgian Pride is dedicated to the fight against homophobia and visibility of LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgenders, Queer, Intersex). - Tens of thousands of gay rights supporters paraded through central Seoul despite South Korea's main conservative opposition party denouncing the Pride event in a country where Christian churches have enduring political influence. It brought thousands of people to the streets of Warsaw at a time when the LGBT rights movement in Poland is targeted by hate speeches and a government campaign depicting it as a threat to families and society. [43], In the 1980s Johnson continued to play an active part in street activism as a respected organizer and marshal with ACT UP. [13], In 2016, Victoria Cruz of the Anti-Violence Project also tried to get Johnson's case reopened, and succeeded in gaining access to previously-unreleased documents and witness statements. [6] Their response was to march defiantly ahead of the parade. When she finally took the microphone, she shouted: “If it wasn’t for the drag queen, there would be no gay liberation movement. Her story is depicted in the 2016 movie 'Hidden Figures.'. The painting of the "two pioneers of the gay rights movement" in front of a transgender flag claims to be the world's largest mural honoring the trans community. While it's … …Gender: Male. Under heavy police security, thousands of people marched at the 18th Jerusalem March for pride and tolerance, this year's parade theme is "One Community - Many Faces" as marchers call for equality, security and freedom for the LGBT community. Stonewall was a “collective uprising”, and Johnson and Rivera should be acknowledged not just for their actions on those few days, “but for their lifelong work of organising and activism”. False Trans Narrative Rewrites Stonewall History. Johnson also suffered from mental health issues – but she still continued to attend parades & protests to speak out against discrimination until her death. In 1987, Johnson recalled arriving at around "2:00 [that morning]", that "the riots had already started" by that time and that the Stonewall building "was on fire" after police set it on fire. Sadly, at the age of 46, on July 6, 1992, Johnson’s body was found in the Hudson River off the West Village Piers. "[44], By 1966, Johnson lived on the streets[2] and engaged in survival sex. After the speech, Rivera attempted suicide, she said; Johnson found her and saved her life. Politicians such as Kamala Harris and Joe Biden have also gotten into the act. EPA/Jeffrey Arguedas, epa07649023 A view of the crowds as they pass on the Mediterranean Sea front promenade during the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, 14 June 2019. One of Johnson's most notable direct actions occurred in August 1970, staging a sit-in protest at Weinstein Hall at New York University alongside fellow GLF members after administrators canceled a dance when they found out was sponsored by gay organizations. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? She dressed in flashy, homemade outfits, and bedecked her hair in flowers, fruit and even Christmas lights. The Times later stealth-edited the paragraph, but it’s just one of three Times stories in the last six months perpetuating this false narrative about “trans women of color” and Stonewall. Johnson recalled in an interview that she couldn’t do “serious drag” because she didn’t have the means to buy the glamorous clothing and accessories needed. What a beautiful soul ! Although Greenwich Village was one of the most tolerant places for LGBT+ people at the time, police frequently harassed anyone who didn’t conform to sexual norms. https://www.biography.com/activist/marsha-p-johnson. “Stonewall loses its cachet as an inspiration for contemporary ‘resistance’ if it retains its actual gay character, as that renders it achingly bourgeois, and so the event has been distorted into a transgender story, thereby making it more subversive.”, To be clear, many in the LGBT community either remember Johnson and Rivera fondly or were inspired by them, and they are lauded for their activism in the years following Stonewall. Gay history: The reasons why you should visit The Stonewall Inn, Pride Month 2020: Remembering activist Marsha P. Johnson, Pride Month 2020: End June with some important queer history, Activist icon: The best Marsha P. Johnson quotes to motivate you, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: All the must follow celebrities on TikTok, Was Stonewall a riot? You also agree to our Terms of Service. Two trans women of colour, Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, are names often associated with the first brick thrown at Stonewall, and were both at … Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transgender women who was an LGBTQ rights activist and an outspoken advocate for trans people of color. Here’s where it gets even more controversial – were Johnson and Rivera even transgender? By clicking “I agree” below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms. Birth Place: Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey [Elizabeth, New Jersey]. [58] Some of her work to find justice for Johnson was filmed by David France for the 2017 documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images ED JONES, A participant lies on a giant Transgender Pride Flag during the Equality March, organized by the LGBT community in Kiev, Ukraine June 23, 2019. Huey P. Newton was an African American activist best known for founding the militant Black Panther Party with Bobby Seale in 1966. [13] Other locals stated later that law enforcement was not interested in investigating Johnson's death, stating that the case was about a "gay black man" and wanting little to do with at the time. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images FILIPPO MONTEFORTE, epa07635376 People walking during the Pride Parade in the downtown of Sofia, Bulgaria 08 June 2019. Johnson also confirmed not being present at the Stonewall Inn when the rioting broke out, but instead had heard about it and went to get Sylvia Rivera who was at a park uptown sleeping on a bench to tell her about it. For much of history, trans people and people of color have been excluded from both the gay rights and womens rights movements, in spite of the fact that they are often the most negatively impacted by gender and sexuality-based discrimination. During the fight he used a homophobic slur, and later bragged to someone at a bar that he had killed a drag queen named Marsha. But as the gay rights movement grew, some wanted people like Johnson and Rivera pushed out. If Johnson and Rivera are to have a statue, contextualizing it in relation to Stonewall is clearly wrong, and the rush to turn the pair into trans rights icons seems to be doing the exact opposite of what the New York Times suggested – it’s erasing a pivotal event for gay men by making the dominant narrative transgenderism. Rivera died of liver cancer in 2002. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. They attended an African Methodist Episcopal Church during Michaels'/Johnson's childhood and remained devoutly religious in later life, often taking an interest in Catholicism, but also making offerings to the saints in a personal manner, keeping a private altar at home. The LGBTQ community was fed up with being targeted by the police and seeing these public arrests incited rioting that spilled over into the neighboring streets and lasted several days. Johnson was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the cofounder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.). Diana Davies, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. The witness said that when he tried to tell police what he had seen, his story was ignored. See our Privacy Policy and Third Party Partners to learn more about the use of data and your rights. Johnson. In the mid-1970s, Andy Warhol made her the subject of one of his famous silkscreen portraits. Marsha P. Johnson Johnson was a drag performer and a sex worker; she was often homeless and lived with mental illness. - LA Pride began on June 28, 1970, exactly one year after the historic Stonewall Rebellion in New York City, 50 years ago. She was homeless and prostituted herself to make ends meet. She engaged in cross-dressing behavior at an early age but was quickly reprimanded. That's what made me in New York, that's what made me in New Jersey, that's what made me in the world." Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945 – July 6, 1992), born and also known as Malcolm Michaels Jr.,[3][4] was an American gay liberation[6][7] activist and self-identified drag queen.