Name: Marsha P. Johnson
Distinction: Being the person who really set off the Stonewall riots
Brief History: A trans woman from New Jersey, Marsha moved to New York City in 1967 to escape the bigotry and oppression she faced there. She was at the legendary Stonewall to celebrate her 25th birthday when the spark that started a movement happened. Being part of that moment of resistance led her to continue speaking out for the community, especially when the AIDS epidemic flared into life. Unfortunately, she died at the age of 48 under mysterious circumstances that have yet to be solved.
Importance: The modern day LGBT movement is one framed in mostly white, mostly male, mostly attractive terms. And I personally think straight minority communities are fine with perceiving it that way because it allows them to justify their bigotry and hate. It’s easier to hate a gay person when they don’t look like you. It’s the same thought processes of racism. But people like Marsha P. Johnson are not flukes and they are not rarities. POC LGBT have had to fight to have their say in the movement for quite some time, but have themselves ironically…stonewalled. Her story and others like it should not be pushed back into the recesses of history and in light of a new white-washed movie coming out we must continue to not let stories like Marsha’s die in the wind.