Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were two activists and Drag Queens at the start of the Gay Rights Movement.
What did They do?
Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were at the Stonewall Inn the night of a police raid. They and fellow transvestites (the term used at the time) as well as gay men and women were fed up with this harassment. They fought back, refusing to be taken to jail just for being themselves. These days of rebellion became known as the Stonewall Riots.
Like many Trans folks, then and now, Johnson and Rivera had been kicked out on the street by their families. Empowered by the events at Stonewall, the pair formed STAR (Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries) an organization dedicated to helping other trans kids get off the streets and lead better, healthier lives.
Why do They matter?
Ostracized by both the straight and Gay communities, Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera never stopped fighting for equality. They helped to shape the Gay Rights Movement as we know it and brought to light the unique needs of Transgendered folks within the Movement, the effects of which can be seen today.
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