Google Pays Tribute to LGBTQ Activist Marsha P. Johnson with Doodle for Pride Month
The company will honor Marsha P. Johnson on June 30, the final day of Pride month
Google is honoring the late LGBTQ rights activist Marsha P. Johnson and her work as a catalyst for the Gay Liberation Movement with a special homepage shoutout.
On Friday, the final day of Pride month, the company is transforming its classic Google logo into a drawing of Johnson, decked out in her colorful clothing and signature flower crown.
When viewers click on the logo, a page from Google appears explaining why the company decided to honor the activist on Friday — exactly one year after Johnson was posthumously honored as a grand marshal of the New York City Pride March.
"Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Los Angeles-based guest artist Rob Gilliam, celebrates LGBTQ+ rights activist, performer, and self-identified drag queen Marsha P. Johnson, who is widely credited as one of the pioneers of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States," the company wrote.
Google added, "Thank you, Marsha P. Johnson, for inspiring people everywhere to stand up for the freedom to be themselves."
Pride month is celebrated in June to coincide with the Stonewall Uprising. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided The Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City's West Village.
"A beloved and charismatic fixture in the LGBTQ+ community, Johnson is credited as one of the key leaders of the 1969 Stonewall uprising— widely regarded as a critical turning point for the international LGBTQ+ rights movement," Google noted. "The following year, she founded the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with fellow transgender activist Sylvia Rivera. STAR was the first organization in the U.S. to be led by a trans woman of color and was the first to open North America’s first shelter for LGBTQ+ youth."
Johnson was a Black trans woman celebrating her 25th birthday at the time of the riots and a tour de force in the gay community. She died in 1992 at just 46 after police found her body in the Hudson River. Her death was initially ruled a suicide, despite friends and loved ones insisting that could not be the case.
This June is the 50th anniversary of the first Pride parade, which happened in 1970, one year after the uprising.
"Marsha wasn't just about trans or just about gays — she was about change for everybody," Johnson's nephew, Al Michaels, told PEOPLE in 2017. "She was just so kind, such a big heart."
Google.org said it will donate $500,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, the brand shared. The organization works to end violence against Black trans women across the country.
"For so long, Marsha’s history has only been heralded by the LGBTQ community," Elle Hearns, the founder and executive director of the institute, wrote in a statement. "Today’s Doodle will help teach her story to many more around the world, and about the work that has been historically ignored and often purposely left out of history books."
Hearns added, "Today’s Doodle of Marsha reminds people that Black and LGBTQ+ history is bigger than just a month; it is something to be honored every single day."