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A compendium of queer people in the 19th and 20th centuries // Drawn and researched by Michele Rosenthal

Miss Major  Griffin-Gracy

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy 1940to

American activist, Stonewall veteran, mentor, leader, and symbolic mother and grandmother to many. Growing up in Chicago, she became involved early on with the local drag balls, and came out in her teens without having the language to describe being trans. She moved to New York City when her family kicked her out, and tried to make a place for herself in the queer community there. When the Stonewall Inn was raided in 1969, Miss Major was there meeting a friend. She joined in with the ensuing riots, was knocked unconscious by the police, and awoke the next morning in jail. She would return to prison in the early 70s, where, placed with the men, she met leaders of the recent Attica riots who would greatly influence her later work with the prison system. She moved to California in the late 70s, eventually settling in San Francisco, just as the AIDS epidemic hit. She quickly dedicated herself to that cause, hiring other trans women to help care for the sick, and starting the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center. In 2003, she joined the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project before becoming its executive director. She has spent her life looking out for the queer community, particularly trans women of color in the prison system, and has earned a reputation as a pioneer and adopted mother to many in the queer community.

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