Things That Matter

New York City Is Finally Dedicating A Memorial To The Two Trans Women Of Color Who Started The Gay Liberation Movement

Transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were the first to riot against a police raid at the hallmark birthplace of the LGBT movement: Stonewall Inn. The two trans women of color were frustrated with the consistent raids on gay bars in the city and rioted when police raided Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. New York City is paying tribute to these women who risked their lives and then devoted themselves to helping homeless LGBTQ+ youth by installing a monument in their honor.

A monument honoring Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson will be installed just a block from Stonewall Inn.

@mondokoosh / Twitter

On June 28, 1969, the LGBTQ+ community congregated in a quasi-safe space–Stonewall Inn–during a time when LGBTQ+ people gathering was illegal. Police raids were common, and you only had to appear to present outside gender norms to be arrested and put in jail for the night.

When police raided Stonewall Inn, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera rioted throwing bricks at police trying to arrest people.

@ajplus / Twitter

Witness accounts place Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera as the first to literally throw bricks at the police officers. The act of defiance sparked a riot that swelled during the night. The Gay Liberation Movement was born from the courage of these two women.

Until her death at 50, Rivera was still living on the streets.

@outmagazine / Twitter

This month, Rivera is gracing the cover of Out magazine. She died of complications from liver cancer when she was just 50 years old and was still living on the streets. In fact, she made it a point to sleep just blocks away from the then Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center.

She protested the exclusivity of the LGBTQ+ movement for transgender people until she died.

@them / Twitter

Rivera and Johnson formed STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) and opened a shelter for homeless transgender youth–a population being ignored by ‘leaders’ in the LGBTQ+ movement.

Rivera is famously quoted as saying: “You tell me to go and hide my tail between my legs. I will no longer put up with this shit. I have been beaten. I have been raped. I have had my nose broken. I have lost my job. I have lost my apartment for gay liberation. And you all treat me this way? What the fuck’s wrong with you?”

New Yorkers are feeling proud to house such an important monument for civil rights.

@lisekimhorton / Twitter

Rivera’s determination to fight for LGBTQ+ rights is something queer Latinos remember to this day. She was the first of our community to help lead a global movement for civil rights that has given LGBTQ+ people the right to live in peace protected from government-sanctioned discrimination.

Some folks think the money should go toward her dying mission: safe housing for trans children.

@cmmnst_fr_ses / Twitter

Rivera met her best friend for life Johnson while they were sex workers on the street. Johnson took Rivera under her wing and taught her how to wear makeup and attract clients.

Other grateful descendants of Rivera’s mission think NY should decriminalize sex work in her honor instead.

@_AshLake_ / Twitter

At the time, there was no other viable option to survive for trans people other than to perform sex work. That means because of the discrimination against their gender, they were forced into making a living doing illegal jobs. Many sex worker rights activists believe the laws themselves are discriminatory since minorities are often forced into sex work to begin with.

Some people are upset that trans women of color are getting recognition.

@velociraptom / Twitter

It is because of the work of these women that LGBTQ+ people have the right to marry, buy houses, and live life protected from discrimination in some parts of the world. There is still a long way to go for global rights for the LGBTQ+ community, but River and Johnson started it all.

This monument represents decades of work that went ignored by most of the LGBT community and world at large.

@TDPandGT / Twitter

They are the gatekeepers and pioneers of the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, Rivera was once called the “Rosa Parks of the Modern Transgender Movement,” after she was arrested for trying to climb into a window (in a dress and heels) to be part of the New York City Council’s conversation around a gay rights bill.

Seeing prominent Congress members and other high-profile people honor their names is something that we wouldn’t have seen just 10 years ago.

@ilhanMN / Twitter

STAR House went under because of the utter lack of support from the gay community, which forced Rivera herself back onto the streets. She and Johnson were roommates until Johnson died in 1992, which forced her back onto the streets.

The best way to combat transphobia is to make room for trans voices.

@phillyhomo / Twitter

Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson began a movement that the entire LGBTQ+ community benefits from–white men and majority identifiers the most. They never stopped trying to create space for trans people to have choices that didn’t include sex work or prison. Their legacy lives on in how we honor them and their mission. Pa’lante.

READ: The Stonewall Inn Is The First LGBTQ National Monument And This Is Why It Matters To Latinos

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The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards


The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Photo via Getty

On Thursday, the cast of “Glee” paid tribute to Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards. Rivera was a once-in-a-lifetime talent the touched so many lives personally and through the screen while she was alive. But perhaps none of Naya’s roles were as impactful as Santana Lopez was.

This year, GLAAD decided to take time to honor the impact Naya Rivera had on LGBTQ representation onscreen.

During a time when LGBTQ represenation onscreen was rare, Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for being both queer and Latina. Santana went from a shut-off closeted cheerleader to an out-and-proud lesbian woman. This was a story arc many queer kids had never seen before.

Demi Lovato introduced the cast of “Glee” with a touching speech. She described how honored she was (and still is) to have played Santana’s girlfriend, Dani, on the show.

“I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tough, tough year,” Lovato said. “A particular moment of heartbreak stands out for me: losing my friend Naya Rivera. I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee.’”

“The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls — like I was at the time,” she went on. “And her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”

Then, dozens of former “Glee” cast members gathered via Zoom to pay tribute to Naya Rivera.

The tribute featured former “Glee” actors like Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, and Kevin McHale. There were also many others.

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition,” read the statement. “When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that and she said ‘I feel great about it!'”

“This year marks the tenth anniversary that Naya’s character, Santana Lopez, came out on ‘Glee’,” said Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beast on the Fox series.

“Santana basically got disowned by her family. And as alot of us know, that’s a feeling too many LGBTQ kids know too well,” continued Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel.

The loving tribute then ended with a written statement from Naya Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire, who couldn’t make it to the call.

“Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community. Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice.

“She continued: “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

“Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice,” the message read, in part. “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

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Selena Gomez Tells Senate to Pass Equality Act, Credits Gay Community with Launching Her Music Career


Selena Gomez Tells Senate to Pass Equality Act, Credits Gay Community with Launching Her Music Career

After the Equality Act was recently passed in the House, Selena Gomez is now telling the Senate to pass the bill that would give added federal protections to the LGBTQ+ community. The Mexican-American pop star also talked about her history with the gay community and how they helped support her music career.

The Equality Act would extend protections from the Civil Rights Act to the LGBTQ+ community.

The Equality Act was first introduced in 2015. The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to extend protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity when it came to employment, housing, education, and other public and federal accommodations. In 2019, the Senate under President Donald Trump refused to vote on the bill.

The Equality Act recently passed through the House and now Gomez wants the Senate to pass it as well.

In February, the Equality Act was reintroduced to the House of Representatives. The bill passed through the House for a second time on Feb. 25. In a recent interview with the Recording Academy, the institution that hosts the Grammy Awards, Gomez is telling the Senate to vote on the bill this time and pass it through.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years, but we have so much further to go,” Gomez said about the progress of LGBTQ+ rights in the country. “The Senate must pass the Equality Act. It’s absurd that this is even being debated in 2021.”

Gomez says the gay community helped support her 2009 breakthrough hit “Naturally.”

While Gomez was promoting her Latin music EP Revelación, she also revisited a few of her past hits. In 2009, she launched her music career with her band The Scene. Later that year, Gomez got her first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with her breakthrough smash “Naturally.” While talking about her relationship with the gay community, she says they were the first ones to show that song love.

“Earlier you mentioned my song ‘Naturally’ and I remember when it was released, it truly started getting played in the gay bars before anywhere else,” she said. “I would hear from older friends that they heard when they went out. I was so jealous that I was too young to be out and dancing to it with everyone. The LGBTQ+ community has been there for me and I don’t take them for granted.”

The Equality Act is waiting to be debated by the Senate. This is Gomez’s first time speaking in support of the bill. Last year, she launched the Black Equality Fund to support groups like the Movement for Black Lives.  In March, she also asked for the Senate to pass the People Act.

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Read: Selena Gomez and Myke Towers’ “Dámelo To’” is Everything: Listen to the ‘Revelación’ Standout

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