"Sylvia Rivera" Prints
"Sylvia Rivera" is a print of a hand drawn polygonal drawing on 11 x 14" Bristol board paper using micron marker, prismacolor colored pencils, mars black acrylic paint and hand stamped with antique letter stamps and white ink.
Sylvia Rivera (1951 - 2002) was a Latina American gay liberation and transgender rights activist, prominent as an activist and community worker in New York. She participated in demonstrations with the Gay Liberation Front and with close friend, Marsha P. Johnson, co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, gay youth, and trans women.
She was abandoned by her birth father José Rivera early in life and became an orphan after her mother died by suicide when Rivera was three years old. Rivera was then raised by her Venezuelan grandmother, who disapproved of Rivera's effeminate behavior, particularly after Rivera began to wear makeup in fourth grade. As a result, Rivera began living on the streets at the age of 11 and was forced to work as a child prostitute. She was taken in by the local community of drag queens, who gave her the name Sylvia.
Rivera's activism began in 1970 after she joined the Gay Activists Alliance at 18 years old, where she fought for not only the rights of gay people but also for the inclusion of drag queens like herself in the movement.
At different times in her life, Rivera battled substance abuse and lived on the streets, largely in the gay homeless community at the Christopher Street docks. Her experiences made her more focused on advocacy for those who, in her view, mainstream society and the assimilationist sectors of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities were leaving behind. For these reasons Rivera projected her voice to give her community power. She fought for herself but most importantly for the rights of people of color and low-income LGBT people. As someone who suffered from systematic poverty and racism, Rivera used her voice for unity, sharing her stories, pain, and struggles to show her community they are not alone. She amplified the voices of the most vulnerable members of the gay community: drag queens, homeless youth, gay inmates in prison and jail, and transgender people.
Sylvia is often referred to as the Rosa Parks of the modern transgender rights movement.
20% of the proceeds of sale goes directly to Video Out an organization that emboldens members of the LGBTQIA+ community to share their stories.