Beer company will honour Marsha P. Johnson for Washington DC Pride

A beer company will honour Stonewall pioneer Marsha P. Johnson for Washington DC’s Pride this year.

DC Brau will make 28,000 limited edition cans of Brau Pils featuring artwork by local artist Maggie Dougherty, the Washington Blade reported.

The artwork depicts Johnson, an African-American transgender woman and drag performer who played a key role in the 1969 Stonewall Riots – an uprising against homophobic police raids considered by many the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

Johnson also co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with activist Sylvia Rivera.

DC Brau CEO Brandon Skall, said: “Maggie’s design cuts to the core of what this project has always been about for us, celebrating the beauty, love and diversity of the LGBTQ community here in DC and beyond.

“We are thrilled the public vote jibed with what we feel is the perfect way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and the golden birthday of our partners at The Washington Blade.”

Dougherty said: “This design celebrates the progress that’s been made since Stonewall while remembering how much more work needs to be done.

Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P Johnson

“The flowers on the label are for those blooms that Marsha was known to wear in her hair, as well as 27 pansies representing the 27 trans deaths that took place in 2018 and early 2019.”

Proceeds from the beers will go to the LGBTQ organisation SMYAL, as well as The Blade Foundation, which supports LGBTQ journalism.

Johnson was finally given an obituary in the New York Times last year, more than 25 years on from her death.

It was part of a project to recognise “overlooked” women, whose deaths had not been reported by the newspaper during its 167-year history.

It read: “When she died at 46, under murky circumstances, in summer 1992, Johnson was mourned by her many friends, but her death did not attract much notice in the mainstream press.

“In the years since, however, interest in her legacy has soared. She has been praised for her insistent calls for social and economic justice; for working on behalf of homeless street youth ostracised by their families for being gay or otherwise not conforming to traditional ideas about gender; and, later, for her advocacy on behalf of AIDS patients. Some have called her a saint.

“Many transgender people have also come to hail Johnson, and her longtime friend and colleague Sylvia Rivera, as pioneering heroes.”