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Photo: Google's June 30 Doodle Credit: Rob Gilliam for Google
Photo: Google's June 30 Doodle Credit: Rob Gilliam for Google

Marsha P. Johnson gets a Google Doodle to end Pride Month

Google bids a beautiful farewell message to Pride Month with a doodle of one of its most powerful voices. 

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Marsha P. Johnson was a pioneer for the LGBTQ+ rights movement. The activist, self-identified drag queen, and empowerer led the queer revolution alongside activist Sylvia Rivera not long after the Stonewall Riots in June of 1969.

Photo: Leonard Fink, Courtesy LGBT Community Center National History Archive

Johnson was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on Aug. 24, 1945. She was one of five children, and was originally named Malcolm Michaels Jr.. 

In 1963, she moved to Greenwich Village, the hub for the LGBTQ+ community at the time. Here is where she legally changed her name, supposedly putting ‘P’ as her middle name to stand for  “pay it no mind” when asked about her identity. 

To commemorate 50 years of the Pride Parade and 51 years since Johnson led the civil rights movement, Google made a doodle of her on the last day of the month of June, closing out Pride Month. 

The graphic is representative of her efforts around the overall LGBTQ movement, the impact she made, and a reminder that both the Black and LGBTQ communities matter, not just during one month, but everyday. 

It was illustrated by Los Angeles artist Rob Gilliam.

Marsha and Sylvia were the first to create an organization called Street Transvestite (which is now renamed to transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR). 

It was the first organization that was led by Transgender Women of Color, the first LGBT youth shelter in North America, and the first trans sex worker labor organization. 

These two women opened the first shelter and safe space for trans sex workers. Originally, the STAR house was a trailer they parked on a street in Greenwich Village, but after it got towed, they sought a more permanent home for the shelter.

Last year, NYC announced that statues would be going up for Sylvia and Marsha in Greenwich Village, as they were leaders in the gay liberation movement.

Aside from honoring Marsha P. Johnson with their doodle, Google also donated $500,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute supporting the Black Transgender community. The donation is to: “provide direct cash assistance to Black Trans people through the organization’s COVID-19 relief efforts.”

The organization’s mission statement says it: “protects and defends the human rights of BLACK transgender people. We do this by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting our collective power.”

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