Pioneer LGBT Activist
In our ongoing celebration of Women’s History Month, please read about Sylvia Rivera
Sylvia Rivera, a mixed-race Venezuelan-Puerto Rican trans women, was a pioneering LGBT activist who fought tirelessly for trans rights, often credited as the person to “put the “t” in LGBT activism.” Together with Marsha P. Johnson, Rivera created the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) organization. This organization provided a home for trans people living on the streets in 1970s New York. Sylvia’s Place and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project were both named in her honor and still work for the safety and rights of LGBT people to this day.
Sylvia fought hard against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York and was a loud and persistent voice for the rights of people of color and low-income queers and trans people. Her project, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, works to continue Sylvia’s work by centralizing issues of systemic poverty and racism, and prioritizing the struggles of queer and trans people who face the most severe and multi-faceted discrimination. Without her dedication and persistence, the LGBTQ+ community would have faced many more challenges than they do already.