Storme DeLarverie, Who Fought Police at Stonewall Riots, Dies at 93

Storme DeLarverie, a 93-year-old veteran activist who took part in the 1969 Stonewall uprising, died on Saturday morning in her sleep.L

DelarverieThe New York Times did a powerful story on her four years ago. You can read it here.

Wrote Manny Fernandez:

"The woman in Room 609, Storme DeLarverie, has dementia. She is but one anonymous elderly New Yorker in a city with thousands upon thousands of them. And many of those who marched down Fifth Avenue on Sunday would be hard pressed to realize that this little old lady — once the cross-dressing M.C. of a group of drag-queen performers, once a fiercely protective (and pistol-packing) bouncer in the city’s lesbian bars — was one of the reasons they were marching."

I also posted about DeLarverie back in 2009 when she was facing eviction from her apartment in NYC's Chelsea Hotel.

Here is her page on the Stonewall Veterans' Association website.

DelarverieThe Bronx LGBTQ Center sent out this remembrance of DeLarverie:

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.

Stormé was an amazing and warm individual who spent her life taking care of people. It didn't matter if they were lesbian, gay, straight, young, old, transgender, questioning, bisexual, Black, White, Latino — she treated everyone with the same warmth, compassion, kindness, conviction, courage, strength of spirit, and love. This led her to be dubbed the unofficial mother of our community, especially by those who knew her.

She was not someone who tolerated injustice, though she faced it on an almost daily basis throughout much of her life. Stormé was a Black lesbian who often presented as a Black man, although she could easily have passed for a White woman — she choose not to do so. Her love of people made Stormé an advocate, and she stood up to all injustice whenever she encountered or heard about it.

It was this conviction that led her to change the world for all of us, for the better. Stormé is credited as having thrown on of the first punches during the Stonewall Uprising in June, 1969. But it was her ongoing effort throughout decades of caring for our community that most people who knew her, remember her.

A celebration of her life and immeasurable contributions to the modern Gay Civil Rights Movement will be held on Thursday, May 29th from 7-9pm at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker Street (@ 6th Avenue), New York, NY. All are welcomed to honor this woman who forever changed our lives and helped launch the movement that will bring us equality.

Thank you Storme, and rest in peace.

(top image via NYT)


  1. bluedogjim says

    Thank you for sharing this tribute to Storme’s life. Heroes are all around us. They are our elders. We only need to ask them to tell us their story.

  2. DC Insider says

    In Storme’s memory perhaps one of our younger community members can offer to redo the SVA website. It is stuck in 1992, and I am sure they would be grateful for some younger person to take the time and effort to make that site a thing of beauty.

    Any takers?

  3. Jack M says

    I’ve never heard of this woman before, and I’m old enough to have heard of her. Thank you so much for telling us all about her shining light!

  4. Michael Bedwell says

    CORRECTION: May she rest in peace, and taking nothing away from her actual contributions to our Community, the NYT article linked to says, emphasis mine: “SOME writers believe Ms. DeLarverie may have been the cross-dressing lesbian whose clubbing by the police was the catalyst for the riots (THE WOMAN HAS NEVER BEEN IDENTIFIED). While others are adamant that Ms. DeLarverie was NOT that woman, no one disputes that she was there, and no one doubts that the woman who had been fighting back all her life fought back in the summer of 1969.”

    We are no better served by distortion of our history than by its erasure entirely. Thank you.

  5. Marin says

    Little Kiwi, you are such a pompous bloviating fool. She isn’t resting. She’s dead. And if she opened a door for you, then why don’t you do something useful with your life. Help others. Don’t spend your life hooking up on Grindr and posting bitter comments here.

  6. KidJ/NYU says

    lol! Marin, you have a point about Little Kiwi’s pomposity. Kiwi, why do you think that directing words at a dead person in a blog comment means anything to her or anyone else?

    If she was your “sister” and a “hero”, who changed your life for the better, then why didn’t you do anything that would have actually helped her when she was alive? Did you lift a finger when she was being evicted? Have you ever once provided help to any living Stonewall veteran in any way? Of course you haven’t. That would take actual work, which is, you know, not as much fun as running your mouth. Actually helping Stonewall veterans, in contrast to posting comments about them after they have died, might entail parting with some of your money, or perhaps we should say, your father’s money. No, it is much easier to post slogans and drivel here about how she’s your “sister” than to actually do anything.

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    I wasn’t going to comment on this news story ACCEPT to say that STORME’S life shows where Gay and Transgender intersect.

    But the attacks on Kiwi made me post. Little Kiwi is just showing his RESPECT for this Gay/Transgender pioneer, that’s all.

    Lord, I’ve had to use the word “RESPECT” three times on this blog today. Y’all might hear me singing soon. Come on, Aretha!!!

  8. Derrick from Philly says

    “….ACCEPT to say that STORME’S life shows where Gay and Transgender intersect.”

    “….EXCEPT to say…”

    I wonder if posting on this blog is worth hiring a proof reader?

  9. Michael Bedwell says

    Derrick, Darling, just say NO! to those who equate doing “male drag” and/or being a butch lesbian with “transgender”—unless you can document some quote from DeLarverie in which SHE described herself as transgender. Some tried to apply the same label to Jose Sarria for his decades of female impersonation and incarnation as “The Widow Norton.” But Sarria ferociously rejected it. Thanks.

  10. says

    AMEN, Brandon. how wonderful to see what a world of change has happened in the last 45 years, and i’m so glad she got to see the tide turn in the USA, galvanized by her strength so many years ago, and the ripple effect it’s had on millions and millions of people.

    our lives are not our own lives. from womb to tomb we are bound to others, past and present. and by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future.

  11. Derrick from Philly says

    Michael Bedwell:

    you know I stil love and RESPECT you (and that’s the 5th time I’ve used the word respect on this blog today).

    I’m NOT saying that Gay/Lesbian folks who experiment with gender role norms (whatever “nomal” means) are TRANSGENDER, but we should recognize the connection between the two groups.

    Was the great Sylvester (of San Francisco) Gay or Transgender? HE/SHE was both GODDAMMIT!!!!

    By the way, I still remember your story of meeting the great Eartha Kitt.

  12. KidJ/NYU says


    Lol! You have nothing to say about what you have done to help living Stonewall veterans. Because we all know you haven’t done a damned thing. You post comments to pose and vamp in front of an audience, and to make yourself feel like you are doing something. But when it comes time to actually do something, like shell out money to prevent a Stonewall veteran from being evicted or to visit that veteran in the hospital, you are nowhere to be found. And you have the audacity to bear the image of Harvey Milk on your arm. Harvey didn’t like poseurs.

    Derrick from Philly:

    You are making even less sense than usual today. Ms. Delaverne was not transgender. She did not identify as transgender. you are disrespecting her by appropriating her identity for your own ideological purposes. Kindly check your privilege.

    Moreover, even if she had been transgender, how would that be relevant to anything? LGBs “intersect” with every group of people on the planet. There are gay hermits, gay soldiers, gay prison inmates, gay Catholics, gay squash players, gay citizens of Croatia, etc. So obviously, there will be gay trans people too. That has no significance over and above any other intersection and it certainly doesn’t justify the fraud of “LGBT”.

  13. Michael Bedwell says

    Thanks, Derrick. We agree on the importance of understanding the “intersection” of being LGB and being T. I like to say it’s over the searing fire of gender “norm” expectation that burns hottest because of sexism.

  14. Andy change this system says

    To the troll making his usual asinine comments about other commenters: how about you SHOW us all the great work you’ve been doing?

  15. Hawthorne says

    Let us all work to keep the memory of our brave pioneers alive. Their stories need to be told, and often. It is only through their work and the work of others that we are able to reap the benefits we enjoy today.

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