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Marsha P. Johnson

Updated: Jan 30, 2020

Born: 24 August, 1945 Died: 6 July, 1992 Nationality: United States

Marsha Johnson was a black, transgender, poor and, at the end of her life, carrier of HIV woman, as well as an intense and fierce political activist, pioneer in the struggles for the rights of the LGBTIQ+ population and co-founder in 1970 alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera of the gay and transvestite advocacy organization S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), dedicated to give food, clothes and roof to young trans or drag queens who lived on the streets. She also played an important role in the rebellion of Stonewall in New York in 1969, an event that propelled the struggle for gay rights worldwide.


Even though Johnson lived in poverty and was frequently homeless, she never ceased to be politically active by protesting in the streets and by participating in marches. From 1987 through 1992, she was also an AIDS activist with ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), an international, grassroots political group working to end the AIDS pandemic in order to improve the lives of people with AIDS through direct action, medical research, treatment and advocacy, and change in legislation and public policies.

Her courage and empathy at a time when prejudice and stigma about the queer community was commonplace, and which probably caused her death, means that she will always be remembered as a precursor to a change towards a better world, more tolerant and openly diverse.

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