Marsha P. Johnson: A black transgender woman who was a central figure in the Stonewall Uprising, a pivotal event in the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

Marsha P. Johnson was a black transgender woman and a pivotal figure in the modern LGBTQ rights movement. She is perhaps best known for her role in the Stonewall Uprising, a series of riots in 1969 that marked a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.

Early Life

Born in 1945 in New Jersey, Johnson moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s, where she became an active member of the LGBTQ community. She was known for her activism and her work as a drag performer and a sex worker.

Stonewall Uprising

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. This was a common occurrence at the time, as LGBTQ individuals faced significant discrimination and persecution from the police and wider society.

However, on this occasion, the patrons of the bar fought back. Marsha P. Johnson was one of the central figures in the ensuing riots, which lasted for several days. The riots sparked a movement and marked the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

LGBTQ Activism

Following the Stonewall Uprising, Johnson became increasingly involved in LGBTQ activism. She co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with her friend Sylvia Rivera, an organization that provided support and advocacy for homeless LGBTQ youth.

Johnson was also involved in a number of other LGBTQ rights organizations and was known for her activism and advocacy work. She was a regular participant in the annual Christopher Street Liberation Day March, which is considered the precursor to the modern-day Pride parade.


Marsha P. Johnson passed away in 1992, under mysterious circumstances. Her death was initially ruled a suicide, but her friends and supporters believed that she had been murdered. Her death was largely ignored by the mainstream media at the time.

However, Johnson’s legacy has continued to grow in the years since her death. She is now recognized as a trailblazing LGBTQ rights activist, and her contributions to the movement are widely celebrated. In 2019, New York City announced that it would erect a monument to Johnson and Rivera, recognizing their contributions to the LGBTQ community.


Marsha P. Johnson was a black transgender woman who played a key role in the Stonewall Uprising and the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Her activism and advocacy work have had a profound impact on the fight for LGBTQ rights, and her legacy continues to inspire and motivate activists today. Johnson’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of significant adversity and discrimination.