Who is Sylvia Rivera?
Sylvia Rivera was a Latina-American drag queen who became one of the most radical gay and transgender activists of the 1960s and 70s. As co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front, Rivera was known for participating in the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and establishing the political organization STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with fellow friend and drag queen, Marsha P. Johnson. [Rivera] was poor, trans, a drag queen, a person of color, a former sex worker, and someone who also experienced drug addiction, incarceration and homelessness. For all of these reasons, Rivera fought for not only gay and trans rights but also racial, economic and criminal justice issues.
“Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned.”
Sylvia Rivera at her Hudson riverfront home encampment in New York in 1996, Photo by Val Shaff.