RESEARCH: Marsha P. Johnson.
REALIZATION: Artie’s training sequence in the 2017 workshop showing.

Marsha P. Johnson is responsible for the first brick that was thrown at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, launching the Stonewall riots into action. Robert Heide remembers that he “just saw her [Marsha] in the middle of the whole thing, screaming and yelling and throwing rocks and almost like Molly Pitcher in the Revolution or something.” The Stonewall Riots had become the spark that ignited transgender rights and activism and Marsha P. Johnson was at the front of that, leading transgender visibility. It has been said that “Marsha’s political strategy was to model victory. And by doing that, she really gave power for people to believe that there would be some sort of a victory in those initial days of the movement. Everybody followed her, and I think she would find a way to get us to follow her today.”

Marsha’s unforgiving fight, tenacity, and resilience found their way into ARTBARN’s 2017 workshop showing through Artie’s training sequence. Before entering the dangerous world beyond the walls of their refuge, Artie would train her body and mind. As she moved through a sequence focused on physical strength and opening her heart, the audience heard text inspired by Marsha’s life flowing out of speakers in the space. Artie trained herself in order to lead a band of women through a world that sought to deny their existence – just as Marsha modeled for us.