Marsha “Pay it no mind” Johnson was a trans woman and LGBT liberation activist born in August of 1945. Marsha is widely cited as being instrumental in starting the Stonewall Riots in response to the arrest of another Black activist, Stormé DeLarverie during the raid.
Marsha P. Johnson worked tirelessly to further civil rights for the LGBTQ community, cofounding Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries* (STAR) with another POC trans woman, Sylvia Rivera. The organization worked to house homeless LGBTQ+ folks, establishing the STAR house initially as a parked truck trailer in a Greenwich Village parking lot.Eventually Marsha Johnson and Sylvia Rivera managed to secure a building, 213 Second Ave., to act as their STAR house. Marsha, known as the house’s “Drag Mother,” worked to provide previously homeless transgender and gay youth a home, food security, and safety.
Marsha didn’t stop there though, she continued to work with other civil rights organizations, notably, working as an AIDS activist with ACT UP, as an organizer and marshal until her death in 1992.
While the official story presented by the police and medical examiner states that Marsha died of an apparent suicide, many in the community believe she was murdered.
*The term transvestite, while the original name of the group, is considered inappropriate to use today and should be avoided. The correct terminology as it is used now is “transgender”