Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, activists formative to the LGBTQ+ rights movement, will be amongst the first trans women to receive permanent monuments in the world. According to the New York City officials, the installation is planned to be placed down the street from Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village, where the pair frequented.
“The LGBTQ+ movement was portrayed very much as a white, gay male movement, New York first lady Chirlane McCray told the New York Times. Johnson was Black and Rivera was Latinx. “This monument counters that trend of whitewashing the history.” The news comes days before WorldPride occurs in New York, a phenom that would not be possible without the pair.
In its initial story on the news, the Times deadnamed both Johnson and Rivera. The story has been since updated online to omit these names, though there are no notes that a correction or revision was made.
Rivera, who is one of three covers of Out’s Pride issue, and Johnson laid the groundwork for LGBTQ+ organizing and activism co-founding organizations like Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. Both were present, and active at the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and continued their work with Rivera working with Transy House, a shelter for transgender people in Brooklyn. *According to LGBT History, the shelter was founded by Rusty Mae Moore and Chelsea Goodwin, who took Rivera in, and not Rivera as the Times wrote.
Johnson’s legacy continues to be commemorated in the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, first founded in 2016 by Elle Hearns and set to relaunch later this year. That organization hopes to continue Johnson’s legacy “and uplift the trans community with an emphasis on Black trans women.”
The new statue, which is estimated to cost about $750,000 and has yet to have an artist attached to it officially, will serve as an addition to the city’s lineup of monuments. Currently, statues of LGBTQ+ people practically do not exist in the city. The money for the effort will be paid for out of the city’s $10 million allocated for new public artworks. Some have said this would be an ideal opportunity to commission a trans artist of color for the job.
Early plans say the new work will sit in the Ruth Wittenberg Triangle. There has been no timeline announced for the project.
*Correction: This story originally said that Sylvia Rivera founded Transy House, based on information from The New York Times.