It's the second day post-pride 2020 and I wanted to make sure I was correct in my feelings about this...
Marsha P. Johnson is being pushed as the "Rosa Parks " of the trans and LGBTQ community, establishing a baseline concept of the numerous communities that thrive today.
This is SO unnecessarily incorrect. It not only perpetuates the NAACP narrative created for Rosa Parks' demonstration (she wasnt just a random person pushed to disrupt one day. All planned and executed with precision! Love it!). It also sadly creates a nasty taste of deification.
There are few photos of Marsha being circulated this year. Many don't work for the feminising fetishism we have for trans women. Unlike the images Rosa posed for that were used for media distribution...Marsha's are images without underlying context. Rarely are their masculine photos used with their full name. Activism photos are amazing but rare in search results. Who took the photo, the stories behind them...all are easily overlooked but important because so many of these are not staged.
Documentaries like The Life And Death of Marsha P. Johnson and films like Happy Birthday, Marsha are humanizing the person behind the movement at lightening speed, much to the chagrin of slowly changing society. Social Media platforms, used by most as monthly posterboards, have begun adding Marsha's image to their colleges, signaling that their story is reaching new people.
Being mindful of the decline in power an image has with regular exposure, I just hope that the story doesn't also get manipulated into something else.
Rosa Parks demonstration was a catalyst influenced by Claudette Colvin, a teen mother who's story modeled the details of the action. It was a throughly made manipulation that casted Parks for her on paper perfection.
Marsha was a person with a past. Marsha was a renegade because their livelihood depended on it. The resistance that spurred their activism was called life, in a wholly different way. Marsha was never planning to be a vision of civil and human rights and never had the protection of large organizations.
Marsha was not the Rosa Parks of anything. Marsha was a renegade and a rebel with a cause...a cause involving a community that was ostracized from even the oppressed fringes of society.
The same people the NAACP wouldn't accept at that time.
All of this context rumbles in my brain space as I see Marshals image slowly fade away from my social feeds.