Massive celebrations of the Stonewall riot have just recently finished when great news came from NYC. To pay tribute to one of the key figures of the whole gay liberation movement NYC authorities came up with an idea to rename East River State Park in Brooklyn after Marsha P. Johnson. Her contribution to securing LGBTQ rights in the US is truly enormous. Born in times when being a gay meant to be (almost) absolutely deprived of any rights, Johnson (Malcolm Michaels Jr.) put her entire life to change things for the better.
While gay and lesbian communities gained some visibility in the mid 70s, drag queens (as Johnson identified herself sometimes) were out of scope. Surprisingly, there even once was the case that she was banned to participate in Pride Parade by other members of LGBTQ community (mostly gay and lesbian). It clearly demonstrates how difficult her entire path in gaining recognition was. Familiar with all the harshes LGBTQ youths faced she always tried to help to the very extent. She managed a hostel for them in NY in times when nobody cared. She was one of the key figures of the Stonewall riot starting from the very first night fearlessly clashing with the police to win the right for her own way. Later on she founded trans advocating organization S.T.A.R along with close friend Sylvia Rivera. These are just some spotlights. But they characterize the epoch, the way of life LGBTQ people had to follow to just survive. The sacrifices made by Johnson should never be forgotten as it helped to shape and give numerous hints for today LGBTQ community. Now, her name will never be forgotten. The park named after Marsha may become a place of remembrance for veterans of LGBTQ struggle and bring the community closer, encouraging the younger generation to learn more of their own history. Moreover, it can also contribute to building bridges between the community and the entire American society. Commemorating the founders is one the best ways to build a better future for the community based on prior lessons learned and courage demonstrated.