top of page

Pride Highlight: Marsha P. Johnson

Hello My Fellow ATMS (Angelic Trouble Makers), I know it has been a minute since you last read a blog from me. Just know I have not forgotten about you guys but life has been hard lately trying to balance everything . I appreciate everyone who has read the blogs and continue to show love/support for the website. Thank you so much!!!!!!

Okay Folks, let's get into Highlighting an icon who spark the fight for rights of LGBTQ+ community during the Stonewall riots:

The legendary Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson also known as (Malcolm Michaels Jr.) was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Johnson born on August 24, 1945, in Elizabeth, New Jersey to parents (Father)Malcolm Michaels Sr and (Mother) Alberta Claiborne who was an housewife and he was an assembly line worker. Johnson was also one of six children being raised in a African Methodist Episcopal Church lifestyle. During his early childhood, the idea of being gay was an fairytale or dream. These feelings came about after Johnson stated being rape by a thirteen year old boy during a interview during the 90's. This made Johnson remain sexually inactive until leaving for New York City at the age of 17.

Johnson was know for being one of the first drag queens to go to the Stonewall Inn, after they began allowing women and drag queens inside; it was previously a bar for only gay men. Johnson's drag style was not high fashion show drag due to being unable to afford to purchase clothing from expensive stores. Johnson was tall, slender and often dressed in flowing robes and shiny dresses, red plastic high heels, bright wigs, and was known for wearing crowns of fresh flowers which tended to draw attention. The Stonewall Riots- were a series of spontaneous protests by members of the gay community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City. Patrons of the Stonewall, other Village lesbian and gay bars, and neighborhood street people fought back when the police became violent. The riots are widely considered the watershed event that transformed the gay liberation movement and the twentieth-century fight for LGBT rights in the United States. Johnson was one of the well known figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Some have mistakenly credited Johnson for starting the riots, Johnson was always forthcoming about having not been present when the riots began.

After the Stonewall Uprising, Johnson was involved with other activism such as "Gay Liberation Front", GLF Drag Queen Caucus and later in 1970 with Sylvia Rivera founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR)- a gay, radical political collective gender non-conforming and transvestite street activist organization that also provided housing and support to homeless LGBT youth and sex workers in Lower Manhattan. Johnson was heard telling a reporter during the early '70s at gay rights rally at New York City Hall Darling, I want my gay rights now!

Johnson was also a popular figure in New York City's gay and art scene, modeling for Andy Warhol, and performing onstage with the drag performance troupe Hot Peaches. Also known as the "mayor of Christopher Street" due to being a welcoming presence in the streets of Greenwich Village. From 1987 through 1992, Johnson was an AIDS activist with ACT UP; in which Johnson committed to sitting with the sick and dying.

In 1992, Johnson's body was discovered floating in the Hudson River after cops initially ruled the death a suicide, but Johnson's friends and other members of the local community insisted Johnson was not suicidal and noted that the back of Johnson's head had a massive wound. Johnson's suspicious death occurred during a time when anti-LGBT violence was at a peak in New York City, including bias crime by police. Johnson's body was cremated and, following a funeral at a local church, and a march down Seventh Avenue, friends released Johnson's ashes over the Hudson River, off the Christopher Street Piers. In spite of the fact that Johnson’s death was initially and quickly ruled a suicide by the NYPD, controversy and protest followed, eventually leading to a re-opening of the case as a possible homicide.

Marsha p. Johnson, Thank you for your courage, compassion, activism and inspiring the world for standing up for people who can not stand for themselves.

6 views0 comments
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page