Marsha P. Johnson
One of the most central figures of Stonewall, the riot, that would become one of the most crucial events of queer liberation, was Marsha P. Johnson, iconic drag queen and LGBTQ and AIDS activist. She was a member of the gay liberation front and participated in the first Christopher Street Liberation Pride rally. A fearless advocate for gay rights, one of her most notable direct actions following Stonewall, was staging a sit-in protest at Weinstein Hall for cancelling a dance after finding out it was sponsored by gay organisations.
She also co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) organisation, alongside with her close friend Sylvia Rivera. When they were banned from attending the Pride parade in 1973 for “giving it a bad name”, their response was to march ahead of it.
Remember these icons and watch the short film “Happy Birthday Marsha P.” made by transgender activist and filmmaker Tourmaline. (Yes, the one the director of the Netflix doc “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson stole from. Consider supporting amazing, original creatives instead.)
The amazing Nails for the first week of Pride month were created by our fabulous nail artist Maddy @maadnails!!!
In the second week of Pride we celebrated Janelle Monáe: singer, songwriter, actress and style icon. They are a fierce advocate of LGBT rights and Black liberation, and use their music and style to express their intersectional identity and activism.
Their alter-ego Cindi Mayweather, created for their first EP Metropolis: The Chase Suite is a great example for how this and their vision of the future come together. Janelle states that Cindi is from the town of Metropolis in the year 2719. In Cindi issues such as fear of the "other", of change and of the future, all culminate in one astonishing work of art.
They explained that "[s]he's the mediator between the haves and the have-nots, the oppressed and the oppressor.”
Janelle Monáe encourages us to forget our preconceived notions of race, culture, art and gender.
They are so amazing that Boston City Council even named October 16, 2013 "Janelle Monáe Day" in recognition of their artistry and social leadership! On January 10, 2020, they tweeted the hashtag #IAmNonbinary. Monáe later stated in an interview, that it was made "in support of Non-binary Day and to bring more awareness to the community." They did not explicitly confirm nor deny whether they are non-binary.
I feel like I have a responsibility to my community and other young girls to help redefine what it looks like to be a woman. I don't believe in men's wear or women's wear, I just like what I like. And I think we should just be respected for being an individual.... I've been in Vogue, now, and different publications, which is cool, because I think that it just shows a different perspective of how women can dress.
– Monáe, on her image and artistic freedom
This stunning set of nails was created by Maddox @ballpit_addict!!!
The third Icon we referenced for this amazing Pride set was Laverne Cox stunning actress and LGBTQ activist. Known for her role as Sophia Burset, she is regarded as one of the trailblazers of the queer and especially transgender community. She was the first openly trans person to be featured on the cover of Time magazine where she was interviewed for the article “The Transgender Tipping Point” and the first to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy. She is the executive producer of the Netflix doc "Disclosure: Trans lives on screen", looking at the depiction of trans people in Hollywood and the cultural impact this has.
The transgender revolution still has a long way to go. Trans people are significantly more likely to be impoverished, unemployed and suicidal than other demographics. And as the trans movement has gained momentum, opponents have been drawn in to fight. Continuously denying Trans people access to health care, protection at the work place, their gender recognition the list goes on and on. But perhaps the biggest obstacle is that trans people live in a world fixated on the binary perception of gender. It is important to recognise though, that gender identity and physical biology are neither intrinsically connected, nor have they been perceived as such in large parts of the world. Much like racism, homophobia and especially transphobia are a legacy of white supremacy and colonialism.
Laverne Cox is on the front lines of fighting for gender equality and trans liberation. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of her activism!!
This weeks amazing nails were created by Grace @booshibishnails!!!
Octavia St. Laurent Mizrahi
For the last week of our Pride nail art series we honoured the one and only Octavia St. Laurent Mizrahi LGBT icon, model, trans woman, and AIDS educator.
When they were diagnosed HIV+ they became an educator on the disease to spread awareness and combat the stigma surrounding the illness.
They were a central figure of the groundbreaking 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning that chronicles the ball culture of New York. The film portrays ballroom culture and interviews its prominent members. It's a faceted exploration of Black and Latinx subculture, that depicts a microcosm of fame, race and gender identity in the larger US and western culture. It offers profound insight into the peoples lives and showcases their pride and talent, neglected by mainstream, white society.
Octavia St. Laurent is the prime example of Drag being a complex performance of gender, class and race culminating into an expression of ones desires and goals in life.
They were on the forefront of redefining gender expression and due to expressing their identity in public they were subject to harassment and arrested multiple times.
One of their most famous quotes is “This is me, you understand? No, I am not a woman. No, I am not a man. I am Octavia.”
These gorgeous nails were created by Pia @kkalashnikova_nails
Written by: Carla Kowollik @kosmoschild
You can read the article with Laverne Cox “The Transgender Tipping Point” here
And Octavia´s last interview here.