You may remember Marsha as the trans woman of color who was completely erased from Roland Emmerich’s 2015 movie, Stonewall, and replaced with a hot cis-gendered white guy. Bad-Ass Bitch, please.
Here’s the truth: Marsha was the BAD-ASS BITCH who started it all.
The Stonewall Inn was a pretty wild place. There was no running water and glasses were dunked in a tub of water and then reused. Toilets overflowed all the time, and you could only get past the bouncer at the door if he knew you or if you “looked gay.” There wasn’t even a liquor license. But all that just goes to show how important it was to the people who frequented it, because the place was popular as hell.
At 1:20 am on Saturday, June 28, 1969 the cops showed up for a raid. Standard procedure was to line up the patrons, check their IDs, and have female police officers take customers dressed as women to the bathroom to CHECK THEIR GENITALS, which is barbaric, and then ARREST ANY MEN DRESSED AS WOMEN, which is fucking insane.
But Marsha, who was there that night to celebrate her 25th birthday, had other plans. She picked up a shot glass and threw it at the bar mirror. That pitch became known as “The shot glass heard round the world.”
Once a judge asked her what the “P” stood for and she answered, “Pay it no mind.” And that’s the story of a middle name that’s a lot cooler than mine, which is Ellen.
Marsha didn’t stop there. In 1970 she founded (with fellow Bad-Ass Bitch Sylvia Rivera) the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), later re-named the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries.
Here’s what Sylvia said about STAR:
STAR was for the street gay people, the street homeless people and anybody that needed help at that time. Marsha and I had always sneaked people into our hotel rooms. Marsha and I decided to get a building.
The part of this story I really fucking hate is that Marsha was found dead in 1992 in the Hudson River. Police ruled it a suicide but no one else believed it. Her case has recently been re-opened and I hope we finally get some answers. Trans women of color continue to be killed in disproportionately high numbers, and in fact, according to The Advocate, 2016 was the deadliest year in history for trans Americans.
I want to buy this awesome print by Micah Bazant
Although Marsha referred to herself as a man, she preferred she/her pronouns, so we’re featuring her here as our very first BAD-ASS BITCH.
I don't think I could ever say enough about Marsha. She was equal parts courage and compassion, and that's a rare combo. She was an Avenging Angel and a Sister of Mercy all rolled into one. We miss you, Marsha. Rest in Power.
Sources: The Advocate, Mic.com, Wiki-fucking-pedia