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Gay rights pioneer Stormé DeLarverie dies, aged 93

By Sam Rigby


Gay rights advocate Stormé DeLarverie has died at the age of 93.

The Bronx LGBTQ Center released a statement on Tuesday (May 27) confirming that the “pioneer of the modern-day LGBTQ civil rights movement” passed away in her sleep on Saturday morning (May 24).

DeLarverie was involved in the Stonewall riots in New York City in June 1969, and dedicated her life to fighting injustice.

“Stormé was an amazing and warm individual who spent her life taking care of people,” the Bronx LGBTQ Center said. “It didn’t matter if they were lesbian, gay, straight, young, old, transgender, questioning, bisexual, Black, White, Latino – she treated everyone with the same warmth, compassion, kindness, conviction, courage, strength of spirit, and love.

“This led her to be dubbed the unofficial mother of our community, especially by those who knew her. She was not someone who tolerated injustice, though she faced it on an almost daily basis throughout much of her life.

“Stormé was a Black lesbian who often presented as a Black man, although she could easily have passed for a White woman – she choose not to do so. Her love of people made Stormé an advocate, and she stood up to all injustice whenever she encountered or heard about it.”

DeLarverie was born in New Orleans in 1920, and she later starred in a travelling drag show in the 1950s called the Jewel Box Revue. In her later years, she worked as a bouncer at a number of bars.

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