Gay activism in the 1970s


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They (specifically Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson) called themselves “drag queens” and “transvestites” but would fit better into the term “trans women” within how we contemporarily understand gender. They weren’t stage performers and it wasn’t just about how the dressed; they lived their lives as women.

“Sparked by drag queens” doesn’t quite portray the situation to a contemporary audience like “sparked by young, poor trans women of color.”


I always find it fascinating that some of the greatest advances are often made in response to an attack. The article mentions Anita Bryant who, although temporarily successful, helped create an organized opposition. And while the shooting of Harvey Milk was a tragedy I wish had never happened it did help propel LGBT rights forward–although I think things still would have moved forward even if he’d lived.

Most telling, though, is the picture at the top of the article of a man holding a sign that says “We are your children.” Even though there are still too many parents willing to throw their LGBT children onto the street the opposition to LGBT rights is losing ground because they’re not targeting individuals. They’re going after families.

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So is the collective noun “A riot of Drag Queens?”

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Well, sense it is not, yet, it should be. Is that a proper sentence?

Can we please differentiate between trans women and drag queens? Very much not the same thing.

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