LGBT Pride History – Remembering Marsha P. Johnson The Original Transgender Activist (1945 – July 6, 1992)
Marsha P. Johnson (was an African American transgender activist and a popular figure in New York City‘s gay scene from the 1960s to the 1990s.
One of the city’s oldest and best known drag queens, Sometimes she worked as a waitress, but usually she worked the streets. She was known for helping other transvestites and street people and was regarded as a drag mother. Johnson participated in clashes with the police amid the Stonewall Riots. She was a co-founder, along with Sylvia Rivera, of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.) in the early 1970s. She also was the “mother” of S.T.A.R. House along with Sylvia, getting together food and clothing to help support the young queens living in the house on the lower East Side of New York.
Once, appearing in a court the judge asked Marsha, “What does the ‘P’ stand for?”, Johnson gave her customary response “Pay it No Mind.” The judge laughed and let her go. This phrase became her trademark. In 1974 Marsha P. Johnson was photographed by famed artist Andy Warhol, as part of a “ladies and gentlemen” series of Polaroids featuring drag queens.
In July 1992, Johnson’s body was found floating in the Hudson River off the West Village Piers shortly after the 1992 Pride March. Police ruled the death a suicide. Johnson friends and supporters said she was not suicidal, and a people’s postering campaign later declared that Johnson had earlier been harassed near the spot where her body was found. Attempts to get the police to investigate the cause of death were unsuccessful.
Marsha was an original, an activist, and a martyr. And we must never forget her or our history.
May she be at peace……… Courtesy of our friend from back2stonewall, Thank you.