Back in March during Women’s History Month, She Built NYC announced their initiative to revamp the landscape of the city by building four monuments honoring female leaders throughout the five boroughs and one sculpture of Shirley Chisholm in Prospect Park.
That initiative and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots has sparked the initiative to continue the effort of fixing the gender gap in public art. Currently, the most marginalized representation is of prominent LGBTQ figures, which is why the city has decided to tackle this issue head on with a monument dedicated to two of the most revolutionary figures from the gay rights movement.
Marsha P. Johnson (often referred to as the Rosa Parks of the LGBTQ movement) and Sylvia Rivera will share a permanent installation in Greenwich Village, right down the street from the Stonewall Inn. Their legacy long precedes them, known for their larger than life drag performances, philanthropic help with the LGBTQ homeless youth/those suffering with H.I.V./AIDS and of course, fighting off the police in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. The Stonewall Uprising was just the beginning of their activism, as they later went on to establish the first trans-rights organization, Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR).
Interestingly enough, a set of statues in Christopher Park commemorating the uprising have technically existed since 1992. However, recent backlash regarding the blatant lack of transgender women and women of color have within the group of four commemorated figures (two men, two women) have come to surface. With Pride Month getting started, this news couldn’t have come at a better time. The memorial is said to be completed near the end of 2021.