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Johnson, Marsha P.

Marsha P. Johnson (1945–1992) stood at the center of the gay liberation movement for nearly 25 years and was a central figure in the Stonewall Riots. Post Stonewall, she was a fierce and outspoken advocate for sex workers, prisoners, and people with HIV/AIDS. In addition, she worked against oppressive policing and mistreatment of the mentally ill, and she cofounded one of the country’s first safe spaces for trans homeless youth. With best friend Sylvia Rivera, Johnson was a dynamic fixture of Greenwich Village, where she was called “the Mayor of Christopher Street.” Johnson explained the origin of her name by saying the P. stood for “Pay it No Mind,” a phrase she used to dismiss antagonists asking about her gender; Johnson was from the restaurant, ...

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