Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, pioneering LGBTIQ activists and key players in the Stonewall uprising, will be immortalised in a New York City monument.
This year the US is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the riots at the legendary Stonewall Inn, a watershed moment for queer liberation.
Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera will be honoured with the monument in Greenwich Village at a location close to Stonewall.
The two women were both transgender activists and after Stonewall co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) to help homeless trans youth.
New York first lady Chirlane McCray said the new tribute would counter the trend of “whitewashing” queer history.
“Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are undeniably two of the most important foremothers of the modern LGBTQ rights movement,” she said.
“Yet their stories have been erased from a history they helped create. Today, we correct the record.
“The LGBTQ+ movement was portrayed very much as a white, gay male movement.
“This monument counters that trend of whitewashing the history.”
The new statue is estimated to cost about $750,000 and does not yet to have an artist officially attached to it.
Marsha P Johnson died in 1992 at age 46 and Rivera died in 2002 at age 50.
The two activists will be the first two trans women to be honoured with permanent monuments anywhere in the world.
— Chirlane McCray (@NYCFirstLady) May 30, 2019
US celebrating 50th anniversary of Stonewall during Pride Month
On June 28, 1969, after one of many police raids at the tavern, protests at the site began in the early hours of the morning and lasted for several days.
Whilst Stonewall’s revellers had cooperated in previous raids, that day they rioted.
The incident helped bring the fight for LGBTIQ rights into the open. New York City held its first Gay Pride parade one year later.
In 2016, then-President Barack Obama declared the Stonewall Inn itself as one of the US’ national monuments.
The monuments are recognised as culturally significant landmarks and protected areas similar to national parks.
The US are celebrating Pride Month throughout June across the country.
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