Each week we will highlight one of the many activists whose contributions helped shape the Pride movement in a crucial way in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
To this day, it is still uncertain who exactly threw the first punch during the Stonewall riots in New York. Regardless, many credit Stormé DeLarverie (1920-2014) for being the one who ignited the rebellion during the police raid in 1969. DeLarverie was a singer, a ground-breaking drag king and a lifelong gay rights activist among many other things. Speaking about the Stonewall Uprising later in life she said: “It was a rebellion, it was an uprising, it was a civil rights disobedience–it wasn’t no damn riot.”
After Stonewall, Ms. DeLarverie became a member of the Stonewall Veterans Association and a regular at local Pride parades. Her influence lasted long after the riots and remained fiercely protective of the LGBT+ community: for decades she was a self-appointed guardian of local lesbians. Stormé would patrol around the local LGBT hot spots making sure her community was safe. She did this well into her 80s. Stormé passed away in 2014 at the age of 93.