#QueerHeroes Day 4
She was born in New Orleans to a black mother and white father (her mother was employed by her father’s family). She rode horses for the Ringling Brothers as a teenager. She realized at 18 that she was gay.
Embracing her identity as a butch lesbian, she toured the black theatre circuit as a drag king with the Jewel Box Revue, often performing at the Apollo Theatre.
She went for a drink at Stonewall on June 28, 1969. When the infamous raid occurred, she and other witnesses say she began tussling with the cops, encouraging others to do so.
Her dedication to fighting back wouldn’t end there. Well into her 80’s, she would patrol the lesbian bars of the West Village with a gun, ready to defend against anyone harassing her “baby girls.” She also organized benefits for battered women and children.
She died in her sleep in 2014. Her obituary in the New York Times likened her to a “gay superhero.”