“The LGBTQ movement was portrayed very much as a white, gay male movement,” said Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York in her announcement. “This monument counters that trend of whitewashing the history.”
Both Rivera and Johnson participated in the Stonewall Uprising, several nights of rioting which gave birth to the queer rights movement. Both women identified as transgender and helped pioneer the use of the term. Johnson and Rivera also tirelessly advocated for LGBTQ youth. Rivera continued her activism throughout her life before her death from cancer in 2002. Johnson died under mysterious circumstances in 1992; police ruled her death a suicide, though theories still persist that she might have come to foul play.
At present, no artist has been attached to design the new monuments. McCray also announced the location of the two new monuments as Ruth Wittenberg Triangle, a small plaza not far from the Stonewall Inn. The news comes not long after the unveiling of a new mural dedicated to Johnson and Rivera in the city of Dallas.