Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy Birthday Sylvia!

Today is the birthday of the mother of the trans rights movement as we call her, Sylvia Rae Rivera.

She was born in New York City on this date in 1951 to parents of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan extraction, and was a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance.

She also founded with her friend Marsha P. Johnson STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), a group focused on helping homeless young street transwomen.

She was a Stonewall Veteran in addition to being a loud and persistent voice railing against the attempts by the gay community to erase and exclude transpeople, people of color and low income people from the nascent TBLG movement and civil rights legislation.

I had the pleasure of meeting her in May 2000 and having a long conversation with her about some of those events.

We also agreed to disagree about Lyndon B. Johnson.

Sylvia lost her battle with cancer in February 2002, but her memory will live on through the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the MCC's Sylvia Rivera Food Pantry named in her honor.

In 2005, the corner of Christopher and Hudson streets in New York's Greenwich Village neighborhood where she organized much of her activism was renamed "Rivera Way" in her honor.

MAGNET also had some commentary about the Mother of the Trans Rights Movement as well.

1 comment:

genevieve said...

Sylvia's contributions are always shunted to the side but somehow they always pop up somewhere. She was a true warrior.