Sylvia Rivera, first transgender person in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection

by | Oct 27, 2015 | 0 comments

Earlier this year, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery installed the portrait of Sylvia Rivera in the “Struggle for Justice” exhibition. Rivera is the first transgendered person in the museum’s collection. A forerunner in the fight against gender identity discrimination, Ray Rivera rechristened himself as Sylvia as a teenager. When cast out by her family, she worked the dicey Times Square district as a transvestite prostitute. She was there in 1969 at the turning point of the modern LGBT struggle for equal rights, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn violently rebuffed a police raid. Politicized by this experience, Rivera campaigned with the Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) in urging the city to enact a nondiscrimination ordinance. However, facing racism and discrimination as a Latina transgender person by the mainly white male GAA leadership, she began to work with homeless teenagers, co-founding the group and shelter STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries). In the 1990s Rivera was embraced as one of the fundamental figures of the LGBT movement.

Information about the object: Puerto Rican photographer and Visual AIDS member Luis Carle took this photograph of Sylvia Rivera at the Saturday Rally before New York’s Gay Pride in 2000. Rivera is pictured with her partner Julia Murray, on the right, and by fellow activist Christina Hayworth, on the left. The placard at their feet reads “Respect TRANS, PEOPLE/MEN!,” stating Rivera’s lifelong cause of fighting for transgender civil rights. While Rivera became an outcast from the gay rights movement in the late ’70s and ’80s, she was again embraced in the 1990s as a fundamental figure in the movement. She renewed her activism, speaking widely on the need for transgender people to unite at the forefront of the LGBT community. In 1994 she was a keynote speaker at Gay Pride in New York, and in 2000 she was invited to the Millennium March in Italy, where she was acclaimed as the “mother of all gay people.”

For more information please go to our blog dedicated to Rivera: http://face2face.si.edu/my_weblog/2015/10/welcome-to-the-collection-sylvia-rivera.html

Portrait credit: Sylvia Rivera (with Christina Hayworth and Julia Murray) by Luis Carle, gelatin silver print, 2000. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquisition made possible through the support of the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center

Article Tags

Advert 77
MGHA tournament

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advert 77
MGHA tournament

Latest News

Queer Joy Book Club

Queer Joy Book Club

A Q&A with the Social Media Administrator, Jamie Butler, about a monthly meetup at the Goodman South Madison Public Library. The Queer Joy Book Club strives to be inclusive by considering books available in the Madison library system that have an e-reader option, an audiobook option, or even a graphic novel.

TRACE Your Transition

TRACE Your Transition

Madison-born Taylor Greene (he/him) has created the world’s first mobile application for transgender and non-binary individuals. TRACE is an acronym representing the app’s purpose: Transition, recording, and community engagement.

Camp & Glamp Adventures

Camp & Glamp Adventures

Like so many, Nichie Bendt and Terri “Zeke” Zeman survived the isolation and disruption of Covid by finding ways to stay connected to their community (and to sanity) by getting outside and finding peace and joy through camping and outdoor adventures. They have now started a Brooklyn, Wisconsin-based hospitality business rooted in luxury camping accommodations and the creation of memorable experiences.

LGBTQ-owned madison Restaurant Harvest to Remain Closed

LGBTQ-owned madison Restaurant Harvest to Remain Closed

The pandemic and subsequent hardships with inflation, changing consumer habits, and difficulty keeping staff have caused the closure of Madison institution: Harvest. The fine dining establishment on the Capitol Square had been a staple for 20 years. The owner, Tami...

A Year of Crucial Elections

A Year of Crucial Elections

It’s 2024, and Americans are bracing for a contentious, ugly election year. The ugliness at the national level is well covered, but many LGBTQ+ Wisconsinites are bracing for their own key elections as state and local officials go head to head, many citing recent anti-gay and trans rhetoric and legislation as a reason to fear the outcomes, should right-wing candidates win.

Project celebrates the legacy of the Gay Rights State

Project celebrates the legacy of the Gay Rights State

Madison, WI - Did you know? Sunday, February 25th is the 42nd anniversary of Wisconsin becoming the first Gay Rights State in the nation. On February 25, 1982, Governor Lee Dreyfus passed Assembly Bill 70 into law, banning discrimination against gays and lesbians in...

Latest News

VIEW ALL LATEST NEWS

DCHS Wildlife Center

Events

SUBMIT AN EVENT

VIEW ALL EVENTS

Jobs

SUBMIT A JOB POSTING

VIEW ALL JOBS

Popular Tags

Pin It on Pinterest