Stormé DeLarverie, “Rosa Parks” Of The Gay Rights Movement, Dies At 93

Gay rights activist Stormé DeLarverie, who fought police during the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, has died. The 93-year-old passed away in her sleep on Saturday morning in the Brooklyn nursing home where she lived.

The Bronx LGBTQ Community Services Center released a statement that reads, in part:

The Bronx LGBTQ Center is deeply saddened by the loss of a pioneer of the modern-day LGBTQ civil rights movement, Stormé Delarverie. Often referred to as the “Rosa Parks” as the gay rights movement, Stormé was a fierce woman who stood up for our community on countless occasions. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on the morning of Saturday, May 24, 2014.

DeLarverie was born in New Orleans in 1920. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, she performed as the only drag king in the Jewel Box Revue, America’s first racially integrated female impersonation show. She was the subject of the short film Stormé: The Lady of the Jewel Box, released in 1987.

One month before her death, on April 24, 2014, DeLarverie was honored alongside Edie Windsor by the Brooklyn Community Pride Center for her bravery, love, and fearlessness within the LGBT community.

Rest in peace, Stormé. And thanks for everything!

Scroll down to see photos of DeLarverie throughout her life.

DeLarverie, in drag, poses for a publicity photo for Jewel Box Revue.

DeLarverie poses atop the famous “Stonewall Car” in 1996.

DeLarverie in 2011.

DeLarverie in the 1999 NYC Pride Parade.

Another publicity photo for Jewel Box Revue.

DeLarverie rocks an awesome faux-fur hat at her birthday party in 2007.

DeLarverie and Edie Windsor, April 2014.

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  • DMingledorff

    I remember seeing Storme when she appeared in the Jewel Box Revue back in the 60s. Her impersonation was perfect. I had lost track of her in recent years but so pleased to learn what an active productive life she led in our community.

  • Blackceo

    What an icon!!! Rest in Peace!!

  • Mezaien

    To all of you HOMOS, that pass a way and make the road for our equality; Thank you from me AdamHomo and my six children. We will always remember you take my word for that.

  • odawg

    These are the hidden gems of LGBTQ history that need to be told to a wider audience rather than retreading the same ground. I’m speaking, specifically, about the AIDS movies and television (Longtime Companion, Philadelphia, And the Band Played On, Angels in America, Normal Heart, etc.). I’m not saying these stories shouldn’t be told. I’m saying the wider viewing audience, as well as those of us who are younger, need to know more about our LGBTQ history. RIP Storme!

  • James Hart

    The sad thing is that in her later years, Storme was destitute. I saw her many a time on the streets of Chelsea, in Manhattan, asking for financial assistance from passersby.

  • Blackceo

    @James Hart:

    What?!! That upsets me so much. No efforts were made by any gay organization to assist her?? Didn’t have to be much but my god if she was the “Rosa Parks” of the gay rights movement I think its disgraceful she was panhandling on the streets.

  • DickieJohnson

    @Blackceo: Worse than digraceful, it’s criminal, and heartbreaking. It’s good to know she made it into a nursing home, and didn’t die on the streets. RIP

  • DK

    @DickieJohnson: Yeah, that’s pretty awful. I’m sure the queer community would have made her final years lucrative, but again, this is another example of LGB history that is obscure. I want to heat more about these people and their stories instead of finding out for the first time when they pass on.

    Does anybody know a gay history website that bios men and women like this, rather than rehashing the same old (Oscar Wilde, celluloid closet, Stonewall, Milk, AIDS crisis, DADT-marriage equality)

Comments are closed.