A park in Brooklyn, New York will be renamed in the honor of trans women activist Marsha P. Johnson, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday.
Johnson was the co-founder of what’s considered the world’s first trans organization, STAR (Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries) with Sylvia Rivera. Johnson became a prominent figure and icon for the LGBTQ movement in the immediate aftermath of the Stonewall Riots. STAR organized on behalf of LGBTQ youth and sex workers, also creating the STAR House to provide housing, community, and other ways of support.
The park, currently known as East River State Park, is located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. It will be the first park in New York named after an LGBTQ person.
New York City pledged last year to build a monument to both Johnson and Rivera, but little details have been finalized since that announcement. New York artist Brian Kenney painted a mural of the pair in Dallas, Texas last year as well — which has since been vandalized.
Cuomo’s announcement came at the Human Rights Campaign’s Greater New York Gala. “New York state is the progressive capital of the nation, and while we are winning the legal battle for justice for the LGBTQ community, in many ways we are losing the broader war for equality,” he remarked while decrying the record level of discrimination and hate crimes that have occurred within the Empire State.
Within his 15-minute remarks, Cuomo called for a repeal of New York State’s ban on paying surrogate mothers in favor of guideline measures that he believes will be an LGBTQ-friendly. He also expressed plans to streamline adoption policies within the state.
“My goal has been to make New York State the leading champion in the nation for the LGBTQ community, to be the state that ended discrimination, bias, intolerance, and judgmentalism against members of the LGBTQ community,” Cuomo said to the crowd.
You can see the entirety of Gov. Cuomo’s remarks below – he begins talking about Johnson at the 8:14 mark. Naomi Campbell, Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Lopez, and Jeremy O. Harris were also honored at the event.