Brooklyn’s East River State Park will be renamed after black transgender rights activist Marsha P. Johnson, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday. The park, located on the waterfront in Williamsburg and known for hosting outdoor market Smorgasburg, will become the first state park that honors a member of the LGBTQ community. Johnson, who passed away in 1992, played a significant role in the Stonewall Uprising and helped found the advocacy group the Gay Liberation Front.
In a speech at a gala hosted by the Human Rights Campaign, Cuomo denounced hate crimes and discriminatory policies against LGBTQ people. He also called on the state to end its ban on gestational surrogacy to help “LGBTQ couples and people struggling with fertility form families.”
“We are fighting back, and will continue achieving progress and showing the rest of the nation forward,” Cuomo said. “We will do it again this year by passing gestational surrogacy to complete marriage and family equality. And we will name the first State park after an LGBTQ person and we will name it after Marsha P. Johnson–an icon of the community.”
During her 30 years in New York, Johnson became a Greenwich Village icon, affectionately referred to as the “mayor of Christopher Street.” Johnson, who was a drag queen and suffered from homelessness for years, helped found the Gay Liberation Front, along with transgender activist and friend Slyvia Rivera.
Johnson and Rivera went on to found Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (START) to support transgender and homeless youth. Last May, the city announced plans to honor the two trailblazers with a monument in Greenwich Village, as part of its “She Built NYC” initiative.
- ‘She Built NYC’ Greenwich Village monument will honor two transgender activists
- Six significant LGBTQ sites in New York City are landmarked
- $20M first phase of Brooklyn’s new 407-acre Shirley Chisholm State Park opens
Neighborhoods : Williamsburg