Pay It No Mind – Marsha P. Johnson


Marsha P. Johnson.

She is said to have started the Stonewall Riots by throwing a shot glass at a mirror.

It has been called ‘The Shot Glass Heard Round The World’.

Marsha P. Johnson.

When a judge asked her what the P stood for, she replied: ‘Pay It No Mind’.

Marsha P. Johnson.

Drag Queen, queer activist, sex worker, Saint of Christopher Street, performer with The Hot Peaches, mental health survivor, co-founder (with Sylvia Rey Rivera) of S.T.A.R. – Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries – and ran a house for homeless trans youth, and gave out food, blankets and clothes to the trans kids who were largely ignored and marginalised by the larger gay activist community.

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Marsha P. Johnson.

Found dead in the Hudson River. Either an accidental drowning (she believed her father was Neptune, that he lived in the bottom of the Hudson, and she would frequently throw offerings – such as all her clothes and the clothes of anyone else passing by if she could grab them off of them – into the water) or – more likely – she was murdered (she was seen being harassed at that spot, earlier that day. She had just marched in the Pride parade).

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Marsha P. Johnson.

Warrior, free spirit, changer of lives, survivor, fighter, light, queer angel.

When I see pictures of her, I get lost in her face. I am altered. I am lit. I am glad to have the privilege to gaze upon her beautiful image. I am absorbed. Head festooned by flowers or fairy lights or feathers, gowns bought for a few dollars from the thrift store, makeup applied to her own Marsha P. style. She grins, she shines. Her smile is everything. She is more than just one of the most important figures from our history, a transformer of our culture. She is Marsha P. Johnson. Lucky were those she passed by and greeted with a cheery hello in the street. Chastened were those who catcalled and got the brunt of her response – she spoke back, she didn’t ignore the hate: she faced it head on. Shot, beaten, she rose above the shit she faced every single day. She bore the scars – and a bullet lodged near her spine – and still she smiled. She changed all who crossed her path.

Marsha P
‘Pay it no mind: Marsha P Johnson’ by Corinna Tomrley

Marsha P. Johnson. Know her name.

Marsha P. Johnson. See her.

She would not be ignored. She will not be ignored.

Marsha P. Johnson. Pay it no mind.

Written with love by Corinna P. Tomrley

Watch ‘Pay It No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson’, a film by Frameline Voices

 

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