Pin It
Marsha P Johnson

A New York park has been named after civil rights pioneer Marsha P. Johnson

Brooklyn’s Marsha P. Johnson State Park will celebrate the activist’s life and educate a new generation on the fight for LGBTQ+ equality

Despite being one of the pivotal figures in the fight for gay rights, and notorious for her role in the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, it’s fair to say legendary trans activist Marsha P. Johnson didn’t get her flowers in life – like so many things are, the history of the gay liberation movement was glossed over and whitewashed as the years progressed, with Johnson fading into the background as white queer men centred themselves in the narrative. 

Cut to 2020, and Johnson finally seems to be getting the recognition she so rightly deserves, with New York governor Andrew Cuomo announcing Brooklyn’s East River State Park is set to be dedicated to her memory. 

"Too often, the marginalised voices that have pushed progress forward in New York and across the country go unrecognised, making up just a fraction of our public memorials and monuments," Cuomo wrote in a statement released on what would have been Johnson’s 75th birthday. "Marsha P. Johnson was one of the early leaders of the LGBTQ movement, and is only now getting the acknowledgement she deserves. Dedicating this state park for her, and installing public art telling her story, will ensure her memory and her work fighting for equality lives on."  

Now renamed The Marsha P. Johnson State Park, the park will not only celebrate her life, but also educate a new generation on queer history and the gay rights movement. Notably it is the first state park to be dedicated to an LGBTQ+ person or a trans woman of colour.  

Also underway are plans to dedicate a monument to Johnson and longtime friend and fellow civil rights activist Sylvia Rivera, who, if legend is to be believed, threw the first brick at Stonewall. Announced in 2019 in recognition of the uprising’s 50th anniversary, the monument is set to be positioned in Ruth Wittenberg Triangle in Greenwich Village – very close the original Stonewall site. 

If you haven’t seen it, we highly recommend you add Netflix documentary The Death and Life and Marsha P. Johnson to your watchlist now.