Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992)
Regarded as a pioneer of the New York LGBTQ+ movement in the 1960s and 1970s, Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson was an advocate for displaced LGBTQ+ youth, those with HIV/AIDS and for transgender rights. Johnson is said to have resisted police at the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, and afterwards joined the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). She quickly became frustrated at the organization’s supposed lack of recognition of transgender people. All the while enduring hardships of being a transgender sex worker struggling with her mental health, Marsha P. Johnson remained dedicated to helping others in her community.
Melanie Willingham-Jaggers is the first Black, non-binary Executive Director of GLSEN. Founded in 1990, GLSEN is a national network championing safe and inclusive school environments and curricula, with its headquarters located in New York. Willingham- Jaggers has an extensive background in social justice work and LGBTQ+ services. From 2016 to 2019 they worked for The Audre Lorde Project which, according to its website: is a “Community Organizing Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (LGBTSTGNC) People of Color Communities.”