A Netflix Doc Has Ignited Debate Over LGBT History

On Friday, David France’s award-winning film, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, began streaming on Netflix. It is a stirring piece of art that explores the controversial death of Johnson, a black woman who was an icon of transgender rights in the United States. Her attitude toward the cultural conservatism of the time was captured by her self-chosen middle initial, P, which she said stood for “pay it no mind.” She is rumored to have been among the first to confront police during the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969, she co-founded one of the first grassroots groups to provide do-it-yourself social services to transgender women in New York City’s West Village, and she remained a staple of the LGBT-rights movement until her body was discovered floating in the Hudson River on July 6, 1992. France’s film tells the story of those left to grapple with her death and carry on her legacy.

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