Woman of the Month is a feature on my blog where each month I highlight a woman in the world who I think garners recognition. I started this mainly to increase Girl Power and empowerment, and because there’s a lot of women I feel are overlooked and I wanted to bring attention to them.
This month, in honor of pride, I’m highlighting Sylvia Rivera.
Everyone knows Marsha P. Johnson (and rightly so), but many don’t know Sylvia Rivera. Sylvia Rivera was a gay rights and social justice advocate. She lived on the streets at age 11 and worked as a prostitute before being taken in by a group of drag queens.
Rivera fought for LGBTQ+ rights and often advocated for low-income person and people of colour. She was vocal about how the LGBT community at the time was still heavily biased towards homeless queer people or queer POC. Rivera and Johnson co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, which offered services and advocacy for homeless queer youth, which she revived several years after Johnson’s death. She fought against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York.
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project is a group that advocates for the belief that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. They act to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for the LGBTQ+ and other discriminated groups. They have a focus on trans and gender non-conforming people, as well as queer POC, upholding Sylvia Rivera’s beliefs.
Thanks for reading! xx