We have decided to rename our cabins in honor of our dead queer heroes, and we want your help to do it. Our goal is to rename the cabins after lesser-known LGBTQ heroes and share their stories with all those who visit Groundswell (thousands a year). We will take submissions until April 22nd and then Groundswell’s staff and board will rename the cabins and place plaques honoring their story on the outside of the cabin for all to read. You can submit a queer hero to be considered for this project through this quick form.
In addition to renaming our cabins and all that, we also will be sharing some of these herstories online through our website and social media. There are a lot of important LGBTQ heroes who have helped our community get this far, and a lot of them are not well know. We want to help share their important stories with our community.
We have already been getting some truly fabulous heroes shared with us. One of them is Marsha P. Johnson, renowned transgender activist and revolutionary drag queen. Born in 1945, Marsha became one of the most famed drag queens in New York City. Her and fellow revolutionary Sylvia Rivera started STAR, Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, and are widely credited with being the first to confront the police brutality facing the queer community, helping start the Stonewall Riots and then leading community action. Marsha was well known for her generosity and helped many young drag queens get food, clothing, and shelter. She was also part of Hot Peaches, a radical drag troupe that has been compared to the Cockettes. Her work as an organizer and activist continued into the 1980’s as a marshall for ACT UP. Sadly, Marsha’s life was ended abruptly in 1992 by an apparent homicide. Her fierceness remains a beacon of inspiration to all queer people. We honor you Marsha.
Marie Equi, born in 1872, was a lesbian medical doctor who was devoted to the care of the poor, provided access to birth control at a time when it was illegal, and was involved with the labor and anarchist movements. As a doctor, Marie had the varied career of both being awarded a medal by the army for her service as a volunteer during the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco fire and of providing illegal abortions (though she, unlike many of her colleagues, got to keep her medical license). In romantic relationships with other women since high school, Marie would go on to raise a child with her partner Harriett Speckart in an early example of same-sex families, and had numerous other lesbian relationships throughout the years. During a protest of work conditions at a cannery with mostly women workers, Marie was beaten by a police officer after protesting the violent treatment of a pregnant woman. The event radicalized her and she worked for socialist and anarchist movements until her death at 80 years of age. A fellow activist friend described Marie as “a woman of passion and conviction (and) a real friend of the have-nots of this world.” We honor you Marie.
Help us share the stories of more important queer heroes of our past. All it takes is 5 minutes of time with this simple form. Thank you.