Meet the Women of Stonewall

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Since the trailer of the atrocious Stonewall movie was released, people are rightfully upset that it white-washes and erases the trans women and lesbian who started the Stonewall Riots. Posts are going around reminding us of these women, but usually only mentioned one or two, which I find a little a-historical. We should know who all these women are as they each played a significant role in what happened in June of 1969.


Stormé DeLarverie (December 24, 1920 – May 24, 2014)

Stormé was a biracial butch lesbian, drag king and considered the “Rosa Parks of the Gay Community”. When the police raided the Stonewall Inn, she was one of the women arrested and clubbed on the head by the police. She is credited with yelling 

“Why don’t you guys do something?” which sparked the bystanders into action. (x) In her own words:

”[The officer] then yelled, ‘I said, move along, faggot.’ I think he thought I was a boy. When I refused, he raised his nightstick and clubbed me in the face.” It was then that the crowd surged and started attacking the police with whatever they could find, she said.

I asked my last question hesitantly. “Have you heard of the Stonewall Lesbian? The woman who was clubbed outside the bar but was never identified?” DeLarverie nodded, rubbing her chin in the place where she received 14 stitches after the beating. “Yes,” she said quietly. “They were talking about me.”

And then, almost as an afterthought, I asked, “Why did you never come forward to take credit for what you did?”

She thought for a couple of seconds before she answered, “Because it was never anybody’s business.” Stormé DeLarverie(source)


Marsha P. Johnson (June 27, 1944 – July 6, 1992)

Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson was a black trans woman, drag queen and LGBT activist. She, along with Sylvia Rivera, co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) and is credited as being the first to fight back at Stonewall Inn. (x) Happy Birthday, Marsha! is a film project in the works to honor life, please consider donating. 

“This was started by the street queens of that era, which I was part of, Marsha P. Johnson, and many others that are not here" Sylvia Rivera (Source)


Sylvia Rae Rivera (July 2, 1951 – February 19, 2002)

Sylvia was a Latina trans woman, drag queen and LGBT activist. As mentioned above she co-founded STAR with Marsha P Johnson, as well as a founding member of the

Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. She is also credited with being one of the first women to throw a bottle at the police. 

“You’ve been treating us like shit all these years? Uh-uh. Now it’s our turn!… It was one of the greatest moments in my life.
“ Sylvia Rivera (Source)


Miss Major Griffin-Gracy (October 1940)

Also known as Miss Major, is a black trans woman and community leader for transgender rights with a focus on women of color. Miss Major was a leader in the riots who was struck by police and arrested. While in custody an officer broke her jaw. (x) A documentary called Major! is in the works to portray Miss Major’s role in the transgender activist community. (x) (I hope people watch this instead of Stonewall). 

Many more people were involved in the riots, but one thing is clear, it was not started by cis white men, it was by these 4 women of color. Don’t let men take away our history.