Florence Ashley & Sam Sanchinel, “The Saint of Christopher Street: Marsha P. Johnson and the Social Life of a Heroine” (2023) 134 Feminist Review 39–55
Abstract: This article analyses the legacy of Marsha P. Johnson as a heroine through the notion of labour, emphasising how heroine narratives are both a product of labour as well as a form of labour. After offering a short account of Marsha P. Johnson’s role in the Stonewall riots and STAR, we explore the development of trans communities’ ability to create, sustain and disseminate heroine narratives, emphasising Tourmaline’s pivotal archival role in establishing Johnson’s legacy. Then, we elucidate the role of heroine narratives in creating and sustaining a collective identity. We argue that community attachment to Marsha P. Johnson reclaims the place of trans communities in LGBTQ+ history but is often done in a manner that obscures the whiteness of mainstream trans advocacy. We suggest that the recent increase in interest towards the life-sustaining labour of STAR House reflects the evolution of trans collective identity in the post-visibility era.
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