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Northeastern’s Digital Transgender Archive Depicts the Lives of Two Trans Icons

FILE - In this June 26, 1994, file photo, LGBT pioneer Sylvia Rivera leads an ACT-UP march past New York's Union Square Park. Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, two LGBT rights activists who took part in the 1969 Stonewall rebellion and founded an organization that helped homeless gay youths, will be honored with a public monument in New York City, officials announced Thursday, May 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Justin Sutcliffe, File)

As a part of the “Y’all Better Quiet Down!” Trans BIPOC Digitization Initiative, the Digital Transgender Archive has recently made available materials depicting the lives of trans icons Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. K.J Rawson, associate professor of English and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, and founder and director of the Digital Transgender Archive, says, “We have always wanted to have a collection on Marsha and Sylvia because they are such important figures in trans history.” Johnson and Rivera were both instrumental in the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the protest that kicked off the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. The DTA’s collection on the two features photographs, personal correspondence, audio recordings and transcripts of interviews about Johnson and Rivera, clippings of news articles and magazine covers, and materials from memorial services. The majority of these materials were donated by Randolfe “Randy” Wicker, a close friend of Johnson, to the LGBT Community Center in New York City. On the impact of the collection, Rawson says, “One of the scholars who I most appreciate talks about trans archives as resources for resilience. And I think that being able to see trans people flourishing, and experiencing joy is just such a gift, especially in moments when it can seem quite hard.”

Read more about the DTA’s work in the Northeastern Global News Article here!
Image credits: AP Photos, via Northeastern Global News

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