Sylvia Rivera

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Access Points


Counterculture, coalition activism during the civil rights movement, and/or the influence of gender non-conforming people on the LGBT+ movement. Recommended for grades 10+


Rationale for using archival audio oral history testimony


Listening promotes active engagement, improves reading, and helps students understand tone, message, and central themes. Listening is also critical to social-emotional learning development.



Learning outcomes, essential questions, background information, guiding questions, intersections with concurrent events, suggested connections to today's world, transcript, and more are included in the Give Voice to History Project curriculum.





Meet Sylvia


Sylvia Rivera was raised by her grandmother until the age of 11, when she left home and began living on the streets of New York City. She was a self-professed drag queen who worked the streets and had frequent run-ins with the police. She witnessed the Stonewall Inn riots at the age of 17, and that put her on a path to secure equal rights for her "brothers and sisters" in the movement and for gender non-conforming people to be included within the gay liberation movement.


*Sylvia used the pronouns she, her, and hers during her interview with Eric Marcus, which is why we reflect those pronouns in the Give Voice to History Project curriculum.




Sylvia Rivera archival audio oral history testimony