This week, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery added a photo of transgender Latina activist Sylvia Rivera to its collection. This is the first transgender portrait to be added to the museum’s collection.

The photo is of Rivera, her partner Julia Murray and Christina Hayworth at the New York City Pride parade in 2000. 

Rivera was a leading participant in the Stonewall Riots and founding member of early LGBT organizations and STAR, one of the first trans-specific rights organizations.

"She had to fight for her own home in the movement she helped launch," said Jay Brown, HRC's Director of Research and Public Education. "It's great to see the Smithsonian honoring her memory with this inclusion -- and ensuring that visitors to the museum get to know our history as a transgender movement a better through her photo."

“Rivera’s legacy has led to organizations like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which ‘works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race,’” the portrait gallery explained. “The SRLP provides much-needed legal services for those who cannot afford representation. This organization is continuing Rivera’s lifelong work to ensure a stable and safe existence for transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming people.”

Her image is a part of the National Portrait Gallery ‘s “Struggle for Justice” exhibition.

Photo: Sylvia Rivera (with Christina Hayworth and Julia Murray) by Luis Carle, gelatin silver print, 2000. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquisition made possible through the support of the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery


Filed under: Transgender, Community

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