*This year, over 50% of transgender homicides have been women of color.
And when the beloved, self-described “street queen” of NY’s gay ghetto was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992, the NYPD chalked it up as a suicide and refused to investigate.
However, as shown in Netflix’s new film, “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” it’s a decision many questioned.
Academy Award nominated director David France says there is a steady increase in the number of homicides of transgender women of color.
“We as a people have failed to pursue the goals and ideologies of Marsha Johnson and Silva Rivera,” explained the journalist. “The statics are staggering about the violence against trans-people, especial women of color. There have been 36 known murders of transgender people in the country, so far this year and of them 26 were trans women color. This exceeds last year. This is an unchecked wave of crime against the community. We have to rededicate ourselves.”
Having played a pivotal role in the 1970 Stonewall Riots, Johnson and fellow trans icon Rivera formed the world’s first trans-rights organization, STAR (Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries). And despite their many challenges over the years – homelessness, illness, alcoholism – they both ignited a powerful and lasting civil rights movement for gender nonconforming people.
Now, a quarter century later, at a time of unprecedented visibility and escalating violence in the transgender community, Johnson’s old friend and fellow activist Victoria Cruz has taken it upon herself to reexamine what happened to the revolutionary.
Dipping deep into jaw-dropping archival footage of another era of New York City life, “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” follows, as this champion pursues leads, mobilizes officials, and works to get to the bottom of this trailblazers death.
“The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”is on Netflix now.