Today and every day, we in the LGBTQ legal community stand in solidarity for the cause of #WomensRights and women’s equity. Queer women of NY changed history! #LGBTQ #WomensMarch2018.
Here are just a few of the activists we celebrate, fight beside and will never forget.
Sylvia Rivera (July 2, 1951 — February 19, 2002) was an American gay liberation and transgender activist and self-identified drag queen. She was a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. With her close friend Marsha P. Johnson, Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens and trans women of color.
Edith “Edie” Windsor (née Schlain; June 20, 1929 — September 12, 2017) was an American LGBT rights activist and a technology manager at IBM. She was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court of the United States case United States v. Windsor, which successfully overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and was considered a landmark legal victory for the same-sex marriage movement in the United States.
Marsha P. Johnson was a transwoman who became an important face to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community in New York City. She was recognized by being herself and fearing no judgment of the harassment and ridicule of dressing and living as a woman, while having the masculine features of a man. The hardships of a transgender individual were nothing new to Marsha who herself was living on the streets of New York without a permanent home or financial and living arrangements. This tended to be a normal struggle of transgender individuals. Marsha P. Johnson felt these people who wanted nothing more than to be their selves deserved support from the growing LGBT community in New York. Along with fellow transgender activist Sylvia Rivera she founded the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR) to help others out there facing the struggles of an unaccepting society.
Audre Lorde was never afraid of sharing who she was and the experiences she encountered with having multiple marginalized identities. As an adolescent, she used poetry and words as a way to tackle the issues she had with communication. Her gift of writing led to the self proclaimed “black lesbian feminist socialist” writing her autobiography Zami: New Spelling of My Name and in doing so, she blazed a trail of radical black feminist empowerment as she told the story of how she came to be. Her books and poetry are remembered and revered for their emotional prowess and their poignancy of outrage at the injustice and oppression she faced. She passed away after losing a battle with cancer in 1992.