"We're the front-liners"

Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera overcame a troubled childhood and life on the streets to become a committed activist on the front lines of the early gay rights movement. As a transgender woman, she pushed for the inclusion and recognition of transgender people within the gay rights movement as well as broader civil rights and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

After a lifetime of hardship and struggle, Rivera and other transgender activists are receiving belated recognition for their contributions and accomplishments. In 2015, a portrait of Rivera was put on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, making her the first transgender activist to be featured in the gallery, and New York City has announced plans to erect a monument to Rivera and fellow transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson.

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Learn more about the remarkable life of Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002).

Sylvia Rivera


Rotherberg, Emma. (2021, March). Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002). National Women's History Museum. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/sylvia-rivera

Gender Identity Gender identity icon Our core sense of who we are as a man, a woman, a mixture of both, or neither.

Gender Expression Gender expression icon How we show up in the world through choices like clothing, hair style, mannerisms or tone of voice.

Attraction attraction icon How we feel toward others sexually, romantically and/or emotionally.

Biological Sex Biological sex icon Physical attributes such as reproductive organs and genitalia, chromosomes, genes and hormone levels.

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