Sylvia Rivera

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Sylvia Rivera
Ray Rivera[1]

(1951-07-02)July 2, 1951
DiedFebruary 19, 2002(2002-02-19) (aged 50)
New York, New York, U.S.
Cause of deathLiver cancer
Known forGay liberation[2] and Transgender activist, advocate for the homeless.[3]

Sylvia Rae Rivera (July 2, 1951 – February 19, 2002) was an American gay, transgender and civil rights activist[4][5] and drag queen.[1][6][7]

Rivera was a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. With her close friend Marsha P. Johnson, Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens and trans women of color.[8]

Life[change | change source]

Rivera was born on July 2nd, 1951 as Ray Rivera. As a child she found a growing interest in makeup.[9] By grade 4 she was wearing makeup to school. Lacking the support she needed from her family, by age 10, her grandmother disapproved and put her out on the street. Rivera became a child sex worker in Times Square. [10] Later on in her life, Rivera took an interest in human rights, specifically race and gender/sexual orientation. She created the organization STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with her best friend, Marsha P. Johnson. [10] But not too long after, Johnson was found dead, floating in the Hudson River.[11] Rivera was devastated, and she even attempted suicide once. In the end, she died of liver cancer in 2002.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Rivera, Sylvia, "Queens In Exile, The Forgotten Ones" in Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries: Survival, Revolt, and Queer Antagonist Struggle. Untorelli Press, 2013.
  2. Dunlap, David W. (February 20, 2002). Sylvia Rivera, 50, Figure in Birth of the Gay Liberation Movement. New York Times
  3. Randy Wicker Interviews Sylvia Rivera on the Pier. Event occurs at Repeatedly throughout interview. September 21, 1995. Accessed July 24, 2015.
  4. Randy Wicker Interviews Sylvia Rivera on the Pier. Event occurs at 14:17. September 21, 1995. Accessed July 24, 2015.
  5. "21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture". Time Magazine.
  6. Leslie Feinberg (September 24, 2006). Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. Workers World Party. "Stonewall combatants Sylvia Rivera and Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson... Both were self-identified drag queens."
  7. Sylvia Rivera Reflects on the Spirit of Marsha P Johnson. Event occurs at 1:27. September 21, 1995. Accessed July 24, 2015.
  8. Marsha P. Johnson died in 1992. In 2001, Rivera "resurrected" the group, renaming it "Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries." SoundPortraits (July 4, 2001). Update on Remembering Stonewall. Archived 2013-07-02 at the Wayback Machine
  9. "Workers World July 2, 1998: Sylvia Rivera on the Stonewall rebellion". Archived from the original on March 5, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "A Forgotten Latina Trailblazer: LGBT Activist Sylvia Rivera". NBC News.
  11. "VIDEO: The Transgender Heroines Who Started a Revolution: Video Series Explores Activists' Hidden History – and a Possible Murder".