Photo: New York State

NY State Park Now Dedicated to LGBTQ Civil Rights Activist Marsha P. Johnson

News LGBTQIA+ Travel
by Eben Diskin Aug 25, 2020

On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Brooklyn’s East River State Park would be named in honor of Marsha P. Johnson, an LGBTQ civil rights activist, on what would have been her 75th birthday.

This is the first state park in New York to honor a LGBTQ person and transgender woman of color. The state is planning to improve park facilities and install public artwork celebrating to Johnson’s life and the LGBTQ movement.

In a tweet, Cuomo said, “I’m proud to announce the dedication of East River State Park in Brooklyn to #MarshaPJohnson. Today, Marsha P. Johnson State Park becomes the first State Park to honor an LGBTQ person. NY is indebted to her for her brave advocacy and relentless fight for LGBTQ equality.”

In a statement, he added, “Too often, the marginalized voices that have pushed progress forward in New York and across the country go unrecognized, making up just a fraction of our public memorials and monuments. 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.”

Johnson was a cornerstone of the fight for LGBTQ rights in New York City in the 1960s. One of the first to advocate for transgender women of color, she also helped lead the Stonewall uprising in 1969. Johnson also founded the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries, a group that helped homeless transgender youth.

Johnson died in 1992 at the age of 46. When her body was found in the Hudson River, her death was initially ruled as suicide, but police reopened the investigation in 2012 amid her family’s claims of foul play. The investigation remains unsolved.

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