#QueerHeroes Day 14.
Sir Lady Java
She grew up in New Orleans where she transitioned at an early age. Soon after moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s, she was an icon of the local nightlife scene, keeping such company as Richard Pryor, Don Rickles, and Sammy Davis Jr.
Due to an ordinance forbidding female impersonation, the LAPD began shutting down Sir Lady Java’s performances and threatening to fine bars who booked her.
When Redd Foxx’s club canceled her performances, she began picketing them and worked with the ACLU to get it overturned. The courts would ultimately reject her case, but we know now that she was on the right side of history.
In the 70s, she performed for her idol, the incomparable Lena Horne. After the performance, Horne ran up to the stage and kissed her on the mouth.
After decades of retirement and after suffering a stroke, Sir Lady Java has made a gradual return to the spotlight. In 2016, she was the grand marshal of LA’s trans pride festival.