Google on Tuesday honoured LGBTQ+ rights activist Marsha P Johnson for emerging as one of the pioneers of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the US. Today's Google doodle, illustrated by Los Angeles-based guest artist Rob Gilliam, has shown Marsha with all smiles and sporting her iconic flowery and colourful headgear.
On this day last year, Marsha was posthumously honored as a grand marshal of the New York City Pride March. New York City had also announced plans to erect statues of Marsha and her fellow transgender activist Sylvia Rivera Rivera in Greenwich Village, which will be one of the world's first monuments in honor of transgender people.
Marsha was born Malcolm Michaels Jr. on August 24th, 1945, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. After graduating high school in 1963, she moved to New York City's Greenwich Village, a burgeoning cultural hub for LGBTQ+ people. Here, she legally changed her name to Marsha P. Johnson. Her middle initial-"P."-allegedly stood for her response to those who questioned her gender: "Pay It No Mind."
Marsha is credited as one of the key leaders of the 1969 Stonewall uprising-widely regarded as a critical turning point for the international LGBTQ+ rights movement. The following year, she founded the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR) which was the first organisation in the United States to be led by a trans woman of color and was the first to open North America's first shelter for LGBTQ+ youth, said Google.
About Pride Month
June is the month chosen to celebrate pride as it was the month of the Stonewall riots, the protests that changed gay rights for a lot of people in America and beyond. Two presidents of the United States have officially declared a pride month. First, President Bill Clinton declared June "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month" in 1999 and 2000. Then from 2009 to 2016, each year he was in office, President Barack Obama declared June as LGBT Pride Month. Donald Trump became the first Republican president to acknowledge LGBT Pride Month in 2019, but he did so through tweeting rather than an official proclamation.
What happened at Stonewall
Stonewall riots, also called Stonewall uprising, series of violent confrontations that began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, between police and gay rights activists outside the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. As the riots progressed, an international gay rights movement was born.
In 1969 the solicitation of homosexual relations was an illegal act in New York City. Gay bars were places of refuge where gay men and lesbians and other individuals who were considered sexually suspect could socialize in relative safety from public harassment. Many of those bars were, however, subject to regular police harassment.One such well-known gathering place for young gay men, lesbians, and transgender people was the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. June 28, 1969, nine policemen entered the Stonewall Inn, arrested the employees for selling alcohol without a license, roughed up many of its patrons, cleared the bar, and—in accordance with a New York criminal statute that authorized the arrest of anyone not wearing at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing—took several people into custody. It was the third such raid on Greenwich Village gay bars in a short period.
This time the people milling outside the bar did not retreat and some people rioted. The riots outside the Stonewall Inn went on for five days. Stonewall soon became a symbol of resistance to social and political discrimination that would inspire solidarity among homosexual groups for decades. Although the Stonewall riots cannot be said to have initiated the gay rights movement as such, it did serve as a catalyst for a new generation of political activism.