Profession: Transgender activist and drag queen
Why Famous: As one of the most prominent advocates for gay rights from the 1960s-90s, Johnson was a pioneering transgender activist best remembered for her calls for socio-economic justice and support for marginalised groups in society.
A key figure in the 1969 Stonewall riots, helped galvanise a more assertive, even militant, gay-rights movement in pursuit of her goal “to see gay people liberated and free and to have equal rights that other people have in America.”
Johnson also co-founded the Gay Liberation Front, and the transvestite advocacy organisation S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) to support transgender communities.
The 1970s brought Johnson greater mainstream attention as she began working with the drag group Hot Peaches (1972), and her collaboration with Andy Warhol (“Ladies and Gentlemen” - 1975).
When Johnson was discovered dead in the Hudson River in 1992 it was initially ruled as a suicide. In 2012 the case was reopened as a possible homicide.
Various film tributes to Johnson have been made since her death, including the documentaries "Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson" (2012) and "The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson" (2017).
- 1969-06-28 A police raid on the gay bar "Stonewall Inn" triggers spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community in NYC. The "Stonewall riots" constituted the most important event which sparked America's gay liberation movement