marsha p johnson documentary
Screenshot from "Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson"

Netflix is about to release the documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, available Oct. 6.

The film, directed by David France (How to Survive a Plague), follows Victoria Cruz as she tries to find out what happened to her fellow transgender activist and friend, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1992.

It looks to be an excellent documentary, and the attention it brings to the unsolved case, as well as the new information uncovered by Cruz in her investigation, since turned over to the FBI, makes it a hugely important document.

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It is, however, not the first documentary made about Johnson, who played a key role in the Stonewall riots, and continued to fight for LGBTQ rights throughout her life.

2012’s excellent Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson, directed by Michael Kasino, is a must see. It centers around footage taken from Johnson’s final interview, and utilizes footage from earlier interviews, as well as performances she gave as a member of the performance group Hot Peaches. There are also numerous interviews with those who knew and loved her.

Among the most poignant of those interviews is with fellow Stonewall riots veteran Sylvia Rivera, with whom she worked running an early homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth.

Watch Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson below to learn about one of the key figures in the struggle for equality, in honor of LGBT History Month.

Pay It No Mind: Marsha P. Johnson from Redux Pictures on Vimeo.

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Jeff Taylor is a journalist and artist. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inside Lacrosse, and McSweeney’s Internet...