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Marsha P. Johnson Bust Revealed at Stonewall National Monument

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday August 28, 2021

Organizers install a bust of Marsha P. Johnson at the Stonewall National Monument.
Organizers install a bust of Marsha P. Johnson at the Stonewall National Monument.  (Source:Eli Erlick/Instagram)

Transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson has been immortalized with a statue revealed at the Stonewall National Monument. Two years in the making, the bust was unveiled on what would have been Johnson's 76th birthday, CNN reports.

But the statue isn't the result of the city's commitment to honor both Johnson and fellow activist Sylvia Rivera. Instead, writer and activist Eli Erlick, sculptor Jessi Pallotta, and other organizers took it upon themselves to create and install the work of art.

Statues of women, people of color, and trans people are often denied behind closed doors," Erlick said in an email to CNN. "The trans community took matters into our own hands."

As an act of activism, Erlick and Pallotta intend for the work to be temporary and encourage city officials to follow through on their commitment to honor Johnson.

Mural of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera at the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens.
Mural of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera at the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens.  (Source: Matthew Wexler)

Though it may take some time before a permanent piece honoring Johnson and Rivera finds its home at the Stonewall National Monument, other works featuring Johnson can be seen around the country:

  • The Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens.

  • Lena McCarthy and Caleb Neelon's mural at 271 Via Vespucci, Brooklyn.

  • The Legacy Walk in Chicago.

  • A future monument is to be erected in Johnson's hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey. A mural in Elizabeth was defaced earlier this summer. Efforts are underway to restore the mural.

  • Johnson is depicted along with our LGBTQ+ icons important to Portland, Oregon's queer community in a new mural revealed last week.

  • Marsha P. Johnson State Park, located along the East River in Brooklyn.

  • Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.