Trans warrior and SRLP’s namesake Sylvia Rivera would have been 63 years old today!
I am moved and inspired by the life and length of time Sylvia Rivera dedicated to fermenting revolutionary change and generating self determination. She did this before, during and after the Stonewall rebellion. She co-created Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) after fighting off the NYPD at NYU and together created STAR house in the east village. Upon meeting Sylvia Rivera at the Peoples’ Revolutionary Convention in Philadelphia in 1971, Huey P Newton knew exactly who she was and told her so, affectionately calling her “that queen from New York City.” Decades later she turned to queer and trans organizing and organizing around racial economic and HIV/AIDS.
I could not think of a better way to be celebrating her birthday than lifting up her legacy!
I think that Sylvia Rivera’s heart would be lifted to see the level of recognition her life’s work is receiving right now, especially as trans people fight to increase access to basic needs like housing, healthcare, and safety from criminalization and other forms of violence. I think she would caution against accepting visibility without control over representation. She would continue to be critical about the level of commericialization within trans movements and lead us in creating our own stories, our own media, and our own visibility.
Here is a great clip of her at black pride in Fort Greene park just a few months before she passed away: http://thespiritwas.tumblr.com/post/19004462531/sylvia-rivera-dean-spade-tim-eubanks-talk-about