Sylvia Rivera becomes first trans American included in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

Sylvia Rivera, a prominent veteran of the 1969 Stonewall riots, pioneering advocate for New York State’s Sexual Nondiscrimination Act, and one of the earliest and most influential activists that pushed to include transgender people in the LGBT movement, is depicted in the first portrait of a transgender American to be included in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Museum announced this week.

The photo was captured by photographer Luis Carle on the Saturday before Pride in New York City in 2000. Pictured above, it shows Rivera holding hands with her partner Julia Murray and activist Christina Heyworth.

Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, told MSNBC that Rivera’s inclusion in the collection, and in the “Struggle for Justice” exhibition, aligns with the institution’s mandate to include people who have signficantly impacted American culture: “In the aftermath of the Stonewall riots, Sylvia Rivera expanded the gay liberation movement and fought for equal rights for people who embraced different gender identities.”
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