Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera—transgender women of color—are arguably the most famous participants of the Stonewall Uprising, the 1969 New York City protests that kicked off the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Those who know of them, however, usually have little knowledge about their lives outside of their activism work. This is why the Digital Transgender Archive, housed and supported by Northeastern University, recently made public a new collection of digitized materials on these iconic champions for social change.
“We have always wanted to have a collection on Marsha and Sylvia because they are such important figures in trans history,” says K.J. Rawson, a Northeastern associate professor of English and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, and founder and director of the Digital Transgender Archive.
“These kinds of materials are really valuable, especially to trans folks and younger people who are exploring their gender identity, to be able to really connect with some important figures in history,” Rawson says.