Sylvia Rivera: The Legendary Queer Activist of Color between Wishful Thinking about Stonewall and Truthful Pioneering of a Gay Movement

Martin J. Goessl, Institute of Social Work, University of Applied Sciences JOANNEUM

Until her death, Sylvia Rivera undoubtedly remained a critical and non-conformist activist in the US LGBTIQ movement. She waged a long and exhausting struggle for the recognition of her - queer - issues and, at times, for her very person. Both, inside and outside, of a queer community, she did not have it easy, even decades after the events surrounding the Stonewall Inn. She wanted to be perceived as an activist and recognized as a person by a community. Important to her, she wanted to claim herself in the history of Stonewall, as part of some legendary moments in New York City. Part of Manhattans queer community, this historical event was extremely influential to a queer activism world-wide. For years, Rivera tried to influence history to find herself where she would have liked to see herself. However, Sylvia Rivera's own biographical narrative took a tragic turn when leading historians found fractures in her accounts. Moreover, the evidence multiplied that Rivera had never been present at the Stonewall Inn on the day of the event. This paper attempts a reappraisal of this emotional engagement of Sylvia Rivera with a queer history of the post-Stonewall years and also highlights Riveras doubtless achievements.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 76. Activism and Queer Historiography