Sylvia Rivera

The OG Transgender Latina Activist

We’ve talked a lot about Marsha P. Johnson but today we’re finally circling around to her other half – her best friend and co-founder of STAR House – Sylvia Rivera!

Orphaned at a young age and suffering much abuse at the hands of her caretakers, Sylvia left home at eleven years old and never looked back. She found a new home with the drag queens of 42nd Street who took her in, dubbed her Sylvia, and taught her how to survive the streets.

Her activist heart was in action long before the Stonewall Riots, and she was supposedly there that night with Marsha, and said threw the second molotov cocktail that kicked off the riots!

Much of her story mimics Marsha’s – being rejected by the greater Gay Liberation movement and shuffled to the sidelines – even denied the right to march in the first pride parade (thought her and Marsha did anyway!), but Sylvia remained a fighter for most of her life and left behind some epic stories in her wake. Listen now to hear her full story! 

“You all tell me, go and hide my tail between my legs.

I will no longer put up with this shit.

I have been beaten.

I have had my nose broken.

I have been thrown in jail.

I have lost my job.

I have lost my apartment.

For gay liberation, and you all treat me this way?

What the f**k’s wrong with you all?

Think about that!”

Sylvia Rivera

“I’m not missing a minute of this — it’s the revolution!”

Sylvia Rivera

“Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned”

Sylvia Rivera