• Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are being honoured with monuments in New York City. (The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson)Source: The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera will be honoured with monuments in New York City.
Samuel Leighton-Dore

31 May 2019 - 3:31 PM  UPDATED 31 May 2019 - 4:14 PM

Two key figures of the Stonewall Riots are set to be immortalised in New York City ahead of this year's Pride Month celebrations.

According to The New York Times, pioneers and activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, each of whom were present at the 1969 riot at the Stonewall Inn, will be honoured in a monument to be erected in Greenwich Village, not far from the Stonewall Inn.

Both Johnson and Rivera were the founders of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), which existed to assist young transgender people - as well as STAR House, a home for young queer sex workers, transgender people and drag queens who were homeless in New York City. 

In later years, before she died in mysterious circumstances in 1992, Johnson worked with ACT UP to help provide care and support for people during the 1980s AIDS crisis.

Speaking at a press conference on May 29, New York’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, highlighted the importance of celebrating the activism and lives of trans women of colour.

“The LGBTIQ+ movement was portrayed very much as a white, gay male movement,” McCray said. “This monument counters that trend of whitewashing the history.”

The iconic duo were recommended for the monument by the She Built NYC advisory commission, which exists to rectify the lack of women recognised publicly for their roles in history.

“Their fierce determination and commitment to coalition building have made New York City, the nation, and world more just and fair,” the committee wrote.

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