Google’s new doodle for June 30 pays tribute to the prolific champion of LGBTQ+ rights activism – the self-identified drag queen Marsha P Johnson who helped usher an era of equal recognition for people of different gender identity.
Google’s celebration marks Johnson’s relentless battle to call for respecting all lives, irrespective of gender, race, and sexuality. The tribute to the icon marks the end of this year’s Pride month. Marsha was posthumously announced as the great marshal of New York’s pride march on this date, in 2019.
Who was Marsha P Johnson?
Born in New Jersey, 1992, Johnson was an African-American transgender woman. She is considered as one of the pioneering LGBTQ+ rights activists in America, at a time when the nation used to brand people of different gender (apart from binary male and female) identity as “mentally ill.”
Marsha moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village – a cultural hub of LGBTQ+ community after graduating from New Jersey in 1963. Initially she was called as ‘Black Marsha’ but later changed her name to ‘Marsha P. Johnson’ in response to people who asked her about her gender. ‘P’ is the abbreviation of her iconic ‘Pay It No Mind’ reply.
Why is she significant?
The U.S. has come a long way in identifying the broad spectrum of gender identities and the complexity humans possess in identifying themselves. There was time anybody who would identify as anything apart from the stereotypical ‘male’ or ‘female’ was deemed ‘mentally ill.’ Marsha was a champion of movement in the ’60s and the ’70s that went a long way to change how society looks upon the sexuality spectrum.
In 1969, June 28th, the New York Police Department (NYPD) raided an LGBTQ bar called the Stonewall Inn located in Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Over 200 people were dragged and physically tormented by the police. Marsha, 23 at that time, was one of them tormented by the nation’s anti-gay legal system.
For the first time, LGBTQ+ people came down to the streets to openly protest for equal social recognition and prejudice against stereotypical gender identity. Marsha was one of the most prominent activists of the movement. The Stonewall uprising went on to become the cradle of the modern LGBTQ+ movement that ushered a new era of recognition and identity of the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2019, the New York Police Department apologised by saying “the actions taken by the NYPD were wrong.”
“How many years has it taken people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race?”
– Marsha P. Johnson famously said.
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