Watch the historic heartfelt presentation by New York City’s First Lady as she unveiled monuments immortalizing transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. This installation will occur in June on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion during the World Pride celebrations which are being held this year in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced New York’s First lady, Chirlane McCray, who said in an interview on Wednesday with The NY Times that she thought it was important for a monument like this to have a “name and a face.” In teaching people about the gay rights movement, she said, it is vital to include stories of activists like Ms. Johnson, who was black, and Ms. Rivera, who was Latina.
“History as told by white straight cisgender men rarely tell the who story,” said first lady, Chirlane McCray. “Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are undoubtedly the foremothers of the modern day LGBT movement. From their leading the revolt at Stonewall to their revolutionary work supporting transgender and gender non conforming youth they charted a path for all of the activist who came after them.”
“Marsha and Silvia were unapologetic about who they were at a time when living their truth meant arrests, beatings unemployment, and homelessness,” she said.
“Together Marsha and Silvia founded ‘Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries’ or STAR. A groundbreaking initiative to house trans people and drag queens especially young people who were forced to leave their homes. It is widely recognized as the first LGBT youth homeless shelter in the country.”
“Marsha and Sylvia have not got their due in history. Marginalized even within the movement they helped create. Their stories have since been minimized and whitewashed in Hollywood movies and public art.” said McCray in reference to the boycotted Stonewall The Movie and the unfortunate statue of four white cis people across from the Stonewall Inn.
“The L.G.B.T.Q. movement was portrayed very much as a white, gay male movement,” She said. “This monument counters that trend of whitewashing history.” Said first lady Chirlane McCray. “Today we correct that with the first ever permanent transgender artwork in the world.”