30 June 2020 02:37

Marsha P. Johnson

Video: 32 Facts on Marsha P. Johnson and her activism for Trans Rights/Hollywood Insider YouTube Channel A major name in the LGBTQ community is Marsha P. What exactly did she do? More like what didn't she do! June is Pride Month, a month to celebrate the LGBTQ community and the victories, and a time to recognize the ways our world can still progress in terms of equality.

Johnson was an African-American transgender woman, who was a prominent figure of the 1960s and 1970s and best known for her activism at the Stonewall protests. Marsha was a trans-rights activist who was very active in the LGBTQ community, and as Black Lives Matter protests continue on strong, the world is remembering Marsha for her amazing work in the gay community, and how she shaped the movement in those crucial years. Related article: Hollywood Insider's CEO Pritan Ambroase's Love Letter to Black Lives Matter 1. From NJ to NYC On August 24, 1945, Johnson was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey as Malcolm Michaels Jr. Growing up in a stricter home where expressing her true self often proved difficult, Johnson made the move from Elizabeth to Greenwich Village in New York City at age 21. 2. The Origin Of Her Name – MARSHA P. After moving to New York City, Johnson began living as her true, free self. Known as Black Marsha for a while, Marsha settled on Marsha P. The P stood for "Pay It No Mind" and Johnson came from a restaurant she frequented, Howard Johnson's. 3. Pay It No Mind! The saying which helped Marsha declare her name was actually a phrase the activist used constantly. Friends have said that when people questioned her gender or her ideas on gender identity, she would simply quip back, "Pay it no mind!" Related article: Live Updates: List of Successes From Black Lives Matter Movement to end systemic racism! – Black leaders continue speaking out 4. From A Young Age Marsha never really doubted her identity. She said from the young age of five, she knew she identified as female, and began dressing as such. Transgender was not a widely used term during Marsha's popularity, but friends say she always referred to herself in she/her pronouns and often just called herself a queen. She is the ultimate queen! 5. Making Ends Meet Upon her arrival to NYC, it was said that Marsha only had a bag of clothes and $15 to her name. To make ends meet, Marsha began to take part in prostitution and was even arrested a couple of times. 6. Marsha P. Johnson's Life In Drag Marsha struggled in the beginning of her time in NYC, but ultimately she found her true joy as a drag queen in the eccentric nightlife of Christopher Street. She began designing her own costumes, mostly threads coming from thrift shops. From starting out all by herself, Marsha grew into her role in the night life of drag and became the 'drag mother' to other LGBTQ youth struggling to make a life in NYC. She ended up making a successful career of it and toured with the Hot Peaches. Related article: Black Leaders: Hollywood's Black Stars on Black Lives Matter Click here to read more on Hollywood Insider's vision, values and mission statement here – Media has the responsibility to better our world – Hollywood Insider fully focuses on substance and meaningful entertainment, against gossip and scandal, by combining entertainment, education, and philanthropy. 7. The Performance Bug Marsha was pretty much born to perform. She took up with Hot Peaches, a drag group that performed all over. She started performing with the group, and in 1990 she even performed with the Hot Peaches in London! 8. Her Nickname As Marsha's prominence in the community grew, she also grew herself a bit of a fan base. She garnered the nickname "Saint of Christopher Street," because she was mostly known for her saint-like generosity, especially towards the youth in the LGBTQ community, who she often sought out to help. 9. Marsha's Style Marsha was unable to afford 'real drag clothing.' She often thrifted and made her own clothes, but despite not being able to afford designer labels, Marsha was always adorned with flowers and gems and bright makeup. She never failed to brighten up whatever space she was in. Related article: Unsung Heroes Series: Bayard Rustin – Black Gay Civil Rights Leader The Much Needed Leader – Marsha P. Johnson In 1969 when Marsha was 23, the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a prominent gay bar in the city. The NYPD forced over 200 people to leave the bar, and proceeded to get violent with them. Marsha was an extremely important figure during this time, for in the coming days, she would be a lead organizer of marches in support of the LGBTQ community in what is now known as the Stonewall Uprising.