N.Y. governor renames East River State Park after controversial trans activist

A New York State park in Brooklyn will be renamed to honor Marsha P. Johnson, a trans activist who died in 1992

A park in Brooklyn will be renamed after a transgender figure who took part in the 1969 Stonewall uprising, threw bricks at police and later committed suicide, New York’s governor announced on Feb. 1.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told a gay rights group that East River State Park in Brooklyn will be renamed after Marsha P. Johnson, who has been dubbed ‘the Rosa Parks of the LGBTQ movement.’ Johnson lived on the streets of New York City as a sex worker, and was arrested more than 100 times before his death. Johnson would often walk naked up Christopher Street.

According to an acquaintance, Robert Heide, Johnson could be aggressive and short-tempered and would “become a very nasty, vicious man, looking for fights”.

His body was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992, according to police.

Cuomo said the honor is in response to a surge in hate crimes against minorities, according to the UK Daily Mail.

“While we are winning the legal battle for justice for the LGBTQ community, in many ways we are losing the broader war for equality,” Cuomo told a gala staged by the Human Rights Campaign in New York City last week.

“Even in New York, attacks against African Americans, Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans and LGBTQ Americans went up by double digits. ‘These attacks are motivated by fear and intolerance against those who are “different,” and they are blind to the commonality of humanity.”

Johnson, who was known as “Saint Marsha” and the “mayor of Christopher Street,” is believed to have been the first person to throw a brick at police during a raid on Stonewall Inn, the famous gay bar and tavern in New York’s Greenwich Village.

The Stonewall uprising of June 28, 1969, is considered a landmark event in the gay rights movement.

A drag performer and activist, he was known to be surrounded by friends and supporters as he attended gay rights rallies and protests across the city.


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