LGBT pioneers Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson to be honored with a monument

New York City will honor transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera with a monument near the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. The two trans women are credited with being part of the early gay rights movement ahead of the Stonewall rebellion in 1969.

"Growing up, my grandmother and grandfather struggled to adapt to Uncle Mikey dressing as a woman not because they were ashamed but because they feared for her safety," Al Michaels, Johnson's nephew, said at an event on Thursday.

The two monuments are part of She Built NYC, a public arts campaign addressing the absence of female statues in New York City public spaces.

"Marsha and Sylvia were unapologetic about who they were at a time when living their truth meant arrests, beatings, unemployment and homelessness," Chirlane McCray, the first lady of New York City, said at the event.

Johnson died in 1992 at age 46 and Rivera in 2002 at age 50. They often talked about joining the Stonewall uprising.

New York City is preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall uprising, considered the birth of the gay civil rights movement.