Remembering American Gay Liberation Activist Marsha P. Johnson

by Tara Finley

One of the most prominent figures of gay rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s, Marsha P. Johnson is remembered today as a fearless advocate for gay and transgender rights. Describing herself as a as a gay person, a transvestite, and a drag queen – the term “transgender” was not commonly used in her time – Marsha was an unwaveringly vocal champion for homeless LGBTQ+ youth and those affected by H.I.V. and AIDS. Marsha is a woman that deserves the spotlight. Learn more about her and take the quiz!

1. Marsha P. Johnson was born on August 24, 1945 in ______

a. New York, NY

b. Wilmington, DE

c. Philadelphia, PA

d. Elizabeth, NJ

2. The “P” In Marsha P. Johnson stands for ______ – Marsha’s personal motto.

a. “Pay It No Mind”

b. “Pay It Forward”

c. “Pretty And Powerful”

d. “People Are Powerful”

3. Marsha became a leader in the NYC gay rights movement following her involvement in the 1969 riot at the _______.

a. The Duplex

b. The Black Cat

c. The Stonewall Inn

d. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern

4. Frustrated by the exclusion of transgender and LGBTQ+ people of color in the burgeoning gay rights movement, Marsha co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) in _____ alongside her close friend Sylvia Rivera.

a. 1968

b. 1969

c. 1970

d. 1971

5. The subject of many interviews and art pieces (including a set of prints by Andy Warhol), Marsha was quoted as saying the following:

a. “[My ambition is] to see gay people liberated and free and to have equal rights that other people have in America.”

b. “as long as gay people don’t have their rights all across America…there is no reason for celebration.”

c. “[I want to see my] gay brothers and sisters out of jail and on the streets again.”

d. All of the above.

Answer Key: 1. d, 2. a, 3. c, 4. c, 5. d

Top Photo: by Barbara Alper via Getty Images

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