It's Women's History Month! Transwomen are women and this month we will be featuring stories of transwomen throughout history. Be sure to check back as we add stories to this post all month and be sure to share your favorite stories of transwomen in history in the comments!
Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was a Black transgender activist, artist, and drag queen who became a key figure in the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States. She was born on August 24, 1945, in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
In the 1960s, Johnson moved to New York City and became a prominent figure in the Greenwich Village drag scene. She was a frequent visitor to the Stonewall Inn and was present during the Stonewall uprising in 1969, which is widely regarded as the beginning of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Johnson continued to advocate for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, particularly those who were homeless, living with HIV/AIDS, or struggling with addiction. She co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with fellow activist Sylvia Rivera, which provided housing and support to transgender and gender non-conforming people in New York City.
Johnson also worked as an AIDS activist and was a member of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), a direct action advocacy group that fought for greater access to healthcare and better treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Sadly, Johnson's life was cut short when she was found dead in the Hudson River in 1992. Her death was ruled a suicide, but many of her friends and fellow activists believed that she was the victim of a hate crime.
Today, Johnson is remembered as a pioneering activist and a trailblazer for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Her legacy continues to inspire new generations of LGBTQ+ activists fighting for equality and justice.
Lea de Beaumont