B. December 24, 1920 – D. May 24, 2014
Stormé DeLarverie was a long-time gay rights activist and drag king, known as one of the founding figures in the drag community and pioneers of gender-fluidity. DeLarverie was born in New Orleans in 1920 and spent many years of her life performing and hosting at venues such as the Apollo Theater, and Radio City Music Hall.
An important aspect of DeLarverie’s history is the role she played in the Stonewall Rebellion. Stormé confirmed and often spoke about throwing the first punch at The Stonewall Inn. During a police raid in the early morning on June 28th, 1969, a woman (often thought to be Stormé) was the victim of police brutality while being handcuffed. As tensions rose, and police violence increased, a larger scuffle ensued, causing what is now known as the Stonewall Rebellion.
In the aftermath of the events that took place at Stonewall, Stormé DeLarverie continued to be a fierce activist and key player in the Gay Liberation movement in New York. She was an active member of the Stonewall Veterans’ Association, and was a regular in Pride parade and celebrations for many years after. She also spent many years as a volunteer street patrol worker, guarding and keeping an eye on queer folks in The Village. On top of her work with the Gay Liberation Movement, Stormé also organized and planned benefits and fundraisers for victims and children of domestic violence.
Often credited as a force to be reckoned with, Stormé DeLarverie lived her life in service of the queer community, advocating and fighting for equitable treatment and freedoms for all. In 2019 on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, she was honored as one of the inaugural fifty American Pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes inducted onto the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the Stonewall National Monument.
Stormé DeLarverie passed away peacefully in her sleep on May 24, 2014 after a dementia diagnosis. Her contributions to the 2SLGBTQIA+ liberation movement, and passion for justice and protecting the next generation of queer folks will never be forgotten.