Marsha P. Johnson and the
Quest for LGBTQ+ Liberation

M arsha P. Johnshon was a black, gay, gender noncomforting activist of LBGTQ+ rights. During the 1960s to tbeir death on July 6th, 1992, Marsha was an advocate for gay rights and one of the leading figures of the Stonewall riots of 1969. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Marsha P. Johnson grew up with six siblings, a mother, and a father. His mother, a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, suffered from disbarging remarks about her sexual orientation. Wanting to fully live life as a gay individual, Johnson left his home for New York carrying nothing but a few dollars and articles of clothing. He adopted Greenwich Village as his new home, and found comfort of the vibrant gay community of Greenwitch and metro New York City. His newfound acceptance coaxed Johnson to accept his sexuality and live life as a gay man.

In their newfound home, Marsha assumed the identity of a drag queen. Humble to his background, Johnson's drag acts were not sprinkled with extravagant dressing and luxurious jewelry. Instead, Johnson's act used flowers to drab over their clothing, often bought from hand-me-down departments. Stonewall Inn, a gay only bar, allowed Marsha to enter the premises, paving the way for trans visibility within the LGBTQ+ community. During the preceeding riots, Johnson was highlighted as one of the members staunchly defended police forces. Many tales over the years speak of Marsha throwing a shot glass at the police or a brick, shouting "I got my civil rights". While the validity of these statements are disputed, Marsha certainly became a leader within the LGBTQ+ community due to their courageousness against the police during the riots.

Marsha P. Johnson was a prominent figure in the fight for civil rights in the LGBTQ+ community. As a black individual and a gay individual, Marsha P. Johnson used both intersectioanlities to create a world where black lesbian, gay, transgender, and gender noncomforming people were able to live their respective lives. Marsha P. Johnson adopted black feminism, denying gender roles by dressing like the opposite sex. Marsha bent the expectations of whay blackness ought to be, paving the way for traditional masculinity to be abolished. Masculinity, often enabling the opression of black women, was redefined to allow way for alternative methods of maleness within the community.