On June 28, 1969, Marsha P. Johnson, African-American transgender and revolutionary LGBTQ rights activist, was rumored to have thrown a brick at a police officer at the Stonewall Inn, sparking the now infamous "Stonewall Riots." Marsha P. Johnson became known as the "Rosa Parks" of the LGBTQ rights movement and her actions launched a revolution that changed the world. Unfortunately, not as much as she would have liked.
Last week, on June 13, 2018, almost exactly 49 years later, Alex Lovine, 26, and Emma Pichl, 24, were kicked out of an Uber, when they couple leaned over and gave each other a kiss in the back seat. The two women, who had been picked up in Brooklyn and were heading to meet a group of friends when the driver pulled over and told them to get out.
Initially the couple thought he must be joking, I mean after all, this is 2018 for God's sake, but unfortunately he was not. One of the girls began filming the driver and he is seen placing in the video his hands on the other girls phone and telling her not to film him. The video also demonstrates the driver alleging that their behavior was "illegal" and to get out of his car. When the girls responded that kissing is not illegal the driver insisted that it was and forced them out.
As everyone knows, (except perhaps President Trump) June is pride month, and perhaps no city does Pride bigger and better than New York. The Stonewall Inn was so busy last week, I myself could barely get in the door, and the West Village is permanently agleam with a rainbow flag on every corner. However, while the tables have certainly turned since Marsha P. Johnson's moment of defiance, it is clear how far away we still remain from true equality.
Gay marriage has been legal in all 50 states since 2015, yet there is still strong resistance to its actual legitimacy. Often times places like the south or "the Bible belt" are given the stereotype of intolerance, but clearly it is still very much alive in the most accepting of places, even New York City.
Now more than ever, it is clear to us that Marsha P Johnson's work is not yet finished and it is the Alex Lovine's and Emma Pichl's of the world who have picked up the torch.
This Sunday, June 24, 2018 we March in the continued pursuit of equality and until we reach that end, we will keep doing just that - marching on.
Marsha P. Johnson, your work is not yet finished, but we assure you, it will be soon.