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Sylvia Rivera

A forerunner in the fight against gender identity discrimination

As a trans Latina, Sylvia Rivera was an outlier among white gay men and lesbian feminists. In 1970, she cofounded the militant group and youth shelter STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with African American trans activist Marsha P. Johnson (1945–1992), providing vulnerable and homeless trans teenagers with food and clothing. In this photo, Rivera (center) sits with her partner, Julia Murray (right), and friend Christina Hayworth in New York City’s Bryant Park in June 2000 at the Saturday rally before the next day’s gay pride parade.

Sylvia Rivera (with Christina Hayworth and Julia Murray)

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Exhibition Label
A forerunner in the fight against gender identity discrimination, Sylvia Rivera worked the dicey Times Square district as a trans woman sex worker after she was cast out by family as a teenager. She was there in 1969 at the turning point of the modern LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) struggle for equal rights, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn violently rebuffed a police raid. Politicized by this experience, Rivera campaigned with the Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) in urging the city to enact a nondiscrimination ordinance. However, facing racism and discrimination as a Latina transgender by the mainly white male GAA leadership, she began to work with homeless teenagers, co-founding the militant group and shelter STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries). In the 1990s Rivera was embraced as one of the fundamental figures of the LGBT movement. This portrait shows her flanked by her partner Julia Murray (right) and activist Christina Hayworth at the Saturday Rally before New York’s Gay Pride Parade in 2000.
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquisition made possible through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center
Luis Carle, born 1962
Sylvia Rivera, 2 Jul 1951 - 19 Feb 2002
Christina Hayworth, 20th century
Julia Murray, 20th century
Costume\Dress Accessory\Eyeglasses
Sylvia Rivera: Female
Sylvia Rivera: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist\Civil rights activist
Sylvia Rivera: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist\Civil rights activist\LGBT rights activist
Sylvia Rivera: Society and Social Change\Transgender
Christina Hayworth: Female
Christina Hayworth: Military\Army\Officer\Colonel
Christina Hayworth: Performing Arts\Producer
Christina Hayworth: Performing Arts\Performer\Actress
Christina Hayworth: Society and Social Change\Transgender
Julia Murray: Female
United States\New York\Kings\New York
Gelatin silver print
Image: 43.6 × 29.1 cm (17 3/16 × 11 7/16")
Sheet: 51.3 × 36.8 cm (20 3/16 × 14 1/2")
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Luis Carle
Record ID
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