Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries

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Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) -- later renamed Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries[1]—was a gay and transgender activist organization founded in 1970 by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson,[2] subculturally-famous New York City drag queens of color.[2][3]

Both founders were long-term civil rights activists, and were present during the 1969 Stonewall riots and the intense period of gay organizing that began in the wake of Stonewall.[4]

Johnson and Rivera were often homeless, and part of the queer community at the Christopher Street piers.[5] They took in homeless LGBT youth, especially young queens and transwomen of color.[6] Rivera and Johnson used to hustle the streets in order to keep everyone fed and sheltered, and to keep their children from having to do the same.[3][5]

Begun as a caucus of the Gay Liberation Front,[5] STAR was created to advocate on behalf of homeless drag queens and runaways.[2][5] They also created STAR House, a shelter for this population, and pressed for trans inclusion in more mainstream, assimilationist gay activist groups.[3][5]

Johnson was later an activist and organizer with ACT-UP. She died in 1992. While her death was initially ruled a suicide, friends believe she was murdered.[4][2]

In 2001 Rivera briefly resurrected and renamed STAR[1] and worked to advance the fight for the transgender civil rights bill in New York City and State and to fight for self-determination for all gender non-conformists.[5]

Rivera died of liver cancer in 2002.[6]

In 2013, Untorelli Press published Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries: Survival, Revolt, and Queer Antagonist Struggle, a collection of historical documents, interviews, and critical analyses relating to STAR.[7]

In an interview in the 2012 documentary, Pay It No Mind: The Life & Times of Marsha P. Johnson, Johnson credits Rivera with founding STAR, and Johnson and friends discuss the work accomplished by the group.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b SoundPortraits (July 4, 2001). Update on Remembering Stonewall.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Feature Doc 'Pay It No Mind: The Life & Times of Marsha P. Johnson' Released Online. Watch It". Indiewire. December 26, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Feinberg, Leslie (September 24, 2006). Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. Workers World Party. "Stonewall combatants Sylvia Rivera and Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson... Both were self-identified drag queens."
  4. ^ a b Feinberg, Leslie (1996) Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman. Boston: Beacon Press. p. 131. ISBN 0-8070-7941-3
  5. ^ a b c d e f Shepard, Benjamin Heim and Ronald Hayduk (2002) From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization. Verso. pp.156-160 ISBN 978-1859-8435-67
  6. ^ a b Sylvia Rivera's obituary via MCCNY
  7. ^ "Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries: Survival, Revolt, and Queer Antagonist Struggle". Untorelli Press.