10 Powerful Marsha P. Johnson Quotes That Remind Us To Keep Working Towards Justice For All

Marsha P. Johnson was a true inspiration.

10 Powerful Marsha P. Johnson Quotes That Remind Us To Keep Working Towards Justice For All Angyalosi Beata / shutterstock.com

Marsha P. Johnson was a gay, black, transgender woman who was also a drag queen who is credited with starting the Stonewall riots against the oppression of those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

She would frequently say that the P in her name was representative for "Pay It No Mind." She liked to be known as Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson. 

She advocated for prisoners, sex workers, and sufferers of HIV/AIDS, and established the first Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) in the United States as a safe haven for transgender and homeless youth. 


As an advocate for queer rights, she started the Stonewall riots to gain guaranteed rights for those in the queer community.

But the biggest point that Johnson made was that our rights are something that we always have to keep fighting for because they are not guaranteed, and some of Marsha P. Johnsons quotes are (unfortunately) still relevant today.

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Out Magazine described that Johnson started the Stonewall riots, which began in response to a police killing of a person in the LGBTQIA+ community, when she threw "the shotglass hear around the world," and describes the Stonewall riots as "an anti-police insurrection that lasted six days," which followed the anti-police gender riots in the 1950s and 60s.

She told Eric Marcus in an interview, cited by Out Magazine, "I was uptown and I didn't get downtown until about two o'clock. When I got downtown, the place was already on fire, and there was a raid already. The riots had already started." 

In the same interview, she told Marcus, "We were ... throwing over cars and screaming in the middle of the street 'cause we were upset 'cause they closed that place," and "We were just saying, 'no more police brutality' and 'we had enough of police harassment in the Village and other places.'" 

Johnson also protested in 1970 as a counterprotester at the Gay Liberation Front protest at Bellevue Hospital where doctors were trying to 'cure' homosexuals. At this protest, she held a sign reading "Power To The People." She didn't mean just a specific type of people, Johnson was talking to all people. You could even say she was talking about her people, the queer, street people, activists, trans women, drag queens, artists, the poor and homeless, mentally ill, and the sex workers. 


It’s hard changing someone’s views of other people because of gender-based stereotypes, but Johnson makes it a point to try and help the straight community understand that people in the LGBT community are humans too and they deserve to live their life the way they please as well. And just because they are different does not mean that they are any less of a person. 

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Here are some of Johnson's best quotes that are still used today by the queer community as a call for justice and acceptance that are still happening to this day. 

Powerful Marsha P. Johnson quotes

1. “I was no one, nobody from nowheresville, until I became a drag queen.” 


2. “As long as my people don’t have their rights across America, there’s no reason for celebration.”  

3. “You never completely have your rights, one person, until you have all your rights.” 

4. “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”

5. “I may be crazy, but that don’t make me wrong.” 


6. “History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable, it happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities.” 

7. “We want to see all gay people have a chance at equal rights, as straight people in America. We believe in picking up a gun, and starting a revolutionary if necessary.”  

8. “How many years has it taken people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race?” 


9. “We have to be visible. We should not be ashamed of who we are.” 

10. “If a transvestite doesn’t say I’m gay and I’m proud and I’m a transvestite, then nobody else is going to hop up there and say I’m gay and I’m proud and I’m a transvestite for them.”  

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Emily Francos is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, and relationship topics.