Who Are Flawless, Ethyl, Marsha, Genesis, International, and Greer?
Flawless Sabrina (September 10, 1939 – November 18, 2017), also known as Mother Flawless Sabrina, was an American LGBT activist, drag queen, performer, and actress, based in New York City. Flawless Sabrina was a pioneer for transgender people and drag queens not only in the mainstream, heterosexual society, but within the gay society as well, where transgender people remained heavily stigmatized. Sabrina lived in New York near Central Park from the 1960s until her death.
Ethyl Eichelberger (1945-1990) was an Obie award-winning American drag performer, playwright, and actor. A legendary downtown performer whose high octane performances earned them critical acclaim, a loyal audience following, and a mythic reputation. An accomplished musician and classically trained actor, Ethyl wrote, produced, and performed over thirty solo and group performance works that explored the struggles of strong women who survive in history, literature and myth from Klytemnestra to Lucrezia Borgia. Ethyl was an acrobat, ate fire, rode a unicycle, played the accordion (among other instruments), designed sets, and made wigs and films.
Marsha P. Johnson (1944 –1992) American activist, Stonewall Riots instigator, “Queen Mother” and “saint.” She moved to New York City in 1966, where her outgoing, ebullient personality made her a well-known fixture among the drag queens and trans women on Christopher Street. She was often homeless, but she was also known for giving her last few dollars away to someone who might need it more. When asked what her middle initial stood for, she would say, “Pay it no mind.” She was present in 1969 when the police raided the Stonewall Inn, proclaiming “I got my civil rights!” and throwing a shot glass at a mirror. The “shot glass heard around the world” is believed by some to be the inciting action of the ensuing riots. After Stonewall, as “crossdressers” were being shunted away from the mainstream gay rights movement, Johnson and her close friend Sylvia Rivera founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, or STAR. Securing a run-down apartment, they took in as many drag queens and transgender youth as they could, then hustled the streets to raise money so that their children wouldn’t have to. In 1972 she joined the queer performance troupe Hot Peaches. She fought for LGBTQ rights all her life, and later joined ACT UP to advocate for people with AIDS.
Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE (b. 1950, Manchester, UK) has, in every incarnation, remained a dedicated visual artist. As a pioneer of the early Mail Art movement, s/he has created a body of work encompassing sculpture, drawing, design, video, photography, poetry, performance, and expanded collage.
H/er artistic contributions have been noted and lauded in hundreds of books and publications, yet s/he still remains chiefly sought-after by the most forward-thinking collectors and progressive institutions. For modern minds, half-melted by the barrage of online over-stimulation, it’s worth a reminder that many of BREYER P-ORRIDGE’s artworks were considered taboo-breaking in the extreme; not merely in their portrayal of sexuality, but for their portrayal of love.
International Chrysis was a member of the Hot Peaches troupe and appeared briefly in the 1968 documentary The Queen. She toured drag supper clubs in the 1970s and moved her show to nightclubs in the 1980s, performing her revues Jesus Chrysis Superstar and The Last Temptation of Chrysis. She appeared in the 1990 film Q&A shortly before her death. A documentary about her life was released posthumously. Dead or Alive briefly recorded under the name "International Chrysis" in her honor.
Greer Lankton (April 21, 1958 – November 18, 1996), was an American artist known for creating lifelike sewn dolls that were often modeled on friends or celebrities and posed in elaborate theatrical settings. She was a key figure in the East Village art scene of the 1980s in New York. Gender and sexuality are recurring themes in Lankton's art. Her dolls are created in the likeness of those society calls "freaks". She created figures that were simultaneously distressing and glamorous, as if they were both victim and perpetrator of their existence.
(Info via Wikipedia.)