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LGBTQ Activist Marsha P. Johnson Honored on Pride-Themed Beer Cans

Marsha P. Johnson beer

The design from a Washington, D.C.-based artist pays homage to Johnson and also to the 27 trans deaths that occurred in 2018 and early 2019. 

A Washington, D.C.-based artist, Maggie Dougherty, has won the third annual Pride Pils Can Design competition with a design that pays homage to LGBTQ activist Marsha P. Johnson, the Washington Bladereports.

Johnson's image will appear on about 28,000 DC Brau cans for Pride Month this June. A towering figure of the 1969 Stonewall Inn uprising and a transgender pioneer, she is credited with having started the modern LGBTQ rights movement. She also cofounded (with Sylvia Rivera) Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries to assist young transgender people. Later in life, she worked with ACT UP as a care provider for people with AIDS.

"Maggie's design cuts to the core of what this project has always been about for us, celebrating the beauty, love and diversity of the LGBTQ community here in DC and beyond," Brandon Skall, CEO and cofounder of DC Brau, told the Blade. "We are thrilled the public vote jibed with what we feel is the perfect way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and the golden birthday of our partners at the Washington Blade."

Dougherty is a designer, photographer, and storyteller who works for the nonprofit PACT, which works to end child labor.

"This design celebrates the progress that's been made since Stonewall while remembering how much more work needs to be done," Dougherty said. "The flowers on the label are for those blooms that Marsha was known to wear in her hair as well as 27 pansies representing the 27 trans deaths that took place in 2018 and early 2019."

Proceeds from the sale of the Pride-themed beer will benefit the LGBTQ youth organization SMYAL and the Blade Foundation, which funds journalism projects that focus on LGBTQ people and provides scholarships for LGBTQ journalists.

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