Hearing a story this week about someone who wasn't quite sure who Marsha P. Johnson was, I knew I had to write something here. (A random person on the street had described her to a friend of mine saying "Oh! Is she the one who threw the first bottle at Stonehenge?" Um. No).
Marsha P. Johnson was an activist in New York City from the 60s to the 90s. Co-founder of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, Marsha was also a visible presence at protests and marches and at the same time was a mother figure to young trans women. Facing ridicule, bullying, and harassment, Marsha did not yield from being her true self, and in doing so made a huge difference. (The middle initial P, according to her was Pay it No Mind).
Many of us are aware of those who make a difference in the town where we live, but folks in other places do things that lead to a better life for us all. Whether you are from New Jersey where Marsha was born, New York where she became known, or the other side of the earth, it's important to know that things she did, made a difference.
Although the police report her death as suicide, there is much evidence to suggest that her death was as a result of a hate crime. As part of her legacy, we should all pledge to do everything possible to end the plague of hate crimes against our trans sisters and brothers.