Premium Content:

On This Gay Day | Activist Sylvia Rivera was born in 1951

Transgender rights icon Sylvia Rivera was born on this day in 1951

Sylvia Rivera was a pioneering transgender activist and a prominent figure in the global LGBTIQ+ rights movement.

Born on July 2, 1951, in New York City, Sylvia faced numerous challenges throughout her life but never wavered in her fight for equality and justice. Her activism was driven by her personal experiences as a transgender woman of colour and the discrimination she encountered within both the LGBTIQ+ community and society at large.

- Advertisement -

Growing up in poverty and facing rejection from her family, Sylvia spent much of her youth living on the streets of New York City.

It is often claimed that Rivera was involved in the Stonewall uprising, and later in life she claimed to have played a significant role in the protests and demonstrations against police brutality and discrimination.

Her presence at the riots has been questioned by historians, and it is now generally accepted that she would embellish her involvement. Regardless she became an important voice the most marginalised members of the LGBTQA+ community.

Sylvia was a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front and later established the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) organisation alongside close friend Marsha P Johnson.

STAR aimed to provide support and advocacy for homeless transgender youth, offering them a safe haven and resources to combat the many challenges they faced. Through STAR, Sylvia tirelessly fought for the rights of transgender people, advocating for affordable housing, healthcare, and employment opportunities. She often experienced homelessness herself.

For most of her life she identified as a drag queen but later identified as being a transvestite, and later transgender as terminology progressed and changed.

Rivera passed away on 19th February 2002, aged just 50, due to complications from liver cancer. In June 2019 she was named as one of the 50 inaugural LGBTQ pioneers induced into the USA’s National LGBTQ Wall of Honour within the Stonewall National Monument, which was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the historic riots.

Image: Sylvia Rivera in 1970 photographed by Roseleechs published on Wikipedia via a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

Latest

Rumour debunked: Troye Sivan is not performing at PrideFEST

Fans have shared their dismay that the singer's tour is not coming to Perth.

On This Gay Day | In 1982 France stops listing homosexuality as a disorder

On this day in 1982 France removed homosexuality from...

On This Gay Day | Britain repealed the controversial 'Section 28' laws

The laws were brought in by the Thatcher government in 1988.

Newsletter

Don't miss

Rumour debunked: Troye Sivan is not performing at PrideFEST

Fans have shared their dismay that the singer's tour is not coming to Perth.

On This Gay Day | In 1982 France stops listing homosexuality as a disorder

On this day in 1982 France removed homosexuality from...

On This Gay Day | Britain repealed the controversial 'Section 28' laws

The laws were brought in by the Thatcher government in 1988.

Sam Smith will update one of their biggest tunes with non-binary lyrics

The new version will have non-binary lyrics.

Rumour debunked: Troye Sivan is not performing at PrideFEST

Fans have shared their dismay that the singer's tour is not coming to Perth.

On This Gay Day | In 1982 France stops listing homosexuality as a disorder

On this day in 1982 France removed homosexuality from the official list of mental disorders, and equalised the age of consent. The World Health...