Profiles of Transgender Courage: Sylvia Rivera
Rivera was present during the civil rights movement and later in anti-war protests during the Vietnam War. She also participated in the feminist movement of the mid-1960's. In 1969 she was among the rioters in the Stonewall Inn Riot which started as a routine raid by police and resulted in the LGBT community and allies rising up in protest. She also became involved with the Black Panthers and Young Lords movements. She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance, and also co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, a group that helped homeless transgender people and drag queens, with her close friend Marsha P. Johnson.
Sylvia was an activist in a variety of ways, her work intersected the LGBT community, homelessness, drug abuse, poverty and racial issues. This makes her one of the most important figures in transgender history, as she was a shining example of why transgender people need to ally themselves with other oppressed people. Sylvia died in 2002, after complications from liver cancer. After her death, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project which is an organization that offers legal aid to people who are low-income or people who are of color, transgender, intersex, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming, was named in her honor.