The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)

“Victoria Cruz investigates the mysterious 1992 death of black gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran, Marsha P. Johnson. Using archival interviews with Johnson, and new interviews with Johnson’s family, friends and fellow activists.” -IMDB

The Life and Death of Marsha P Johnson (2017)

I’m disappointed that it took me so long to watch this powerful documentary, which follows activist and counselor Victoria Cruz as she attempts to find to answers regarding the death of LGBT icon and Stonewall veteran, Marsha P. Johnson. Cruz’s impending retirement and a rise in violence against transgender indivisible spurs her investigation, which takes a variety of turns.

This film is particularly special because it doesn’t follow the true crime format that is so incredibly popular right now. Even though it follows a singular investigation, it acts more as an educational, yet compassionate, guide to LGBT history, homelessness, addiction, mental health, etc. and as an ode to those who fought for equality during an incredibly dangerous time.

Although I was lucky to be raised in an incredibly accepting home and exposed to a variety of backgrounds from an early age, my knowledge of LGBT history and icons is limited. I had planned on watching this film for quite a while, but couldn’t bring myself to do so because I knew it would be an upsetting watch. However, I recognize that it is my privilege to be able to shield myself from these emotions and that, in order to be a true ally, I must delve into uncomfortable and upsetting stories such as these because they are a reality for those I love. I am thankful that I watched this shortly before Pride month begins and I look forward to continuing to educate myself on these issues and to support, in any small way I can, the long march towards equality for all.


If you like this movie, you should also watch: Disclosure, Independent Lens

Streaming: Netflix

Directed By: David France

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