Google Doodle on Tuesday celebrated LGBTQ+ rights activist and drag queen Marsha P. Johnson, all smiles and sporting her iconic flowery headgear. The doodle was illustrated by Los Angeles-based guest artist Rob Gilliam.
It was on this day in 2019 that Marsha was posthumously honoured as a grand marshal of the New York City Pride March. June is celebrated as Pride month in the U.S., marking the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which took place between the queer community, led by drag queen Marsha P. Johnson, and the police in New York City in 1969. Marsha is also the founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and co-founder of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries activist group.
Born on August 24, 1945, as Malcolm Michaels in New Jersey, Marsha moved to New York City when 17. She legally changed her name to Marsha P. Johnson where P allegedly stood for “Pay It No Mind”, a phrase she used when questioned about her gender.
On June 30, 2019, New York City also announced plans to erect statues of Marsha and her close friend Sylvia Rivera, which will be one of the world’s first monuments to honour transgender people.
In pictures: 50 years after the Stonewall Riots
The founder and Executive Director of The Marsha P. Johnson Institute said in the doodle page: “For so long, Marsha’s history has only been heralded by the LGBTQ community. Today’s Doodle will help teach her story to many more around the world, and about the work that has been historically ignored and often purposely left out of history books. Today’s Doodle of Marsha reminds people that Black and LGBTQ+ history is bigger than just a month; it is something to be honoured every single day.”
“As a queer person of colour, I owe Marsha so much. She was the catalyst for our liberation, the driving force behind the movement that has given many of us the rights and freedoms that we previously couldn’t even dream of. Marsha created a space for us in western society through her empowering bravery and refusal to be silenced,” said Rob Gilliam, the doodle artist.
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