Google celebrated the life of African American LGBTQ+ activist and performer Marsha P. Johnson by means of a beautiful doodle to commemorate the Pride month. In the doodle, she is seen with her trademark flowery headgear and her resplendent smile.
The doodle has been illustrated by Los Angeles-based guest artist Rob Gilliam.
Widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States, Johnson was posthumously honored as a grand marshal of the New York City Pride March in 2019 on this same day. She was also a key figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969, which was a turning point in the history of the LGBTQ+ community.
Interestingly, she said the P in her name stood for “Pay It No Mind,” which is what Marsha would say in response to questions about her gender.
Who is Marsha Johnson?
Born on Malcolm Micheals Jr. on 24th August 1945 in New Jersey, Marsha graduated from high school in 1963. She then moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village and legally changed her name to Marsha P. Johnson.
In those times, being gay was considered a mental illness in the United States and gay people were ostracized by the society and routinely subjected to much brutality by the police and authorities.
In June 1969, the police raided a gay bar in New York City called the Stonewall Inn and used excessive violence against the gay people that were in the bar. Marsha stood up to the police brutality, resisted arrest, and led a series of uprisings demanding rights for gay people. Dubbed the Stonewall protests, this event played a critical role in the international LGBTQ+ rights movement.
A tireless advocate for AIDS patients, she also contributed immensely to improving the lives of young people that were ostracized by their families for their sexuality.
She went on to become a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the co-founder of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, an organisation to aid and support gay and trans individuals who had been left homeless. This was the first organization ever in the United States to be led by a trans woman of colour.
Known for her charitable work and generosity towards the LGBTQ+ community, she was also widely called the “Saint of Christopher Street” (where the Stonewall Inn is located).
According to its website, Google is also donating $500,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which works to end violence against Black Trans women across the United States.
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