Black History: Sir Lady Java

Day 10 of 28 of my Black History Month history lessons. For today’s Black History I’m highlighting Sir Lady Java.

Born in the early 1940s in New Orleans, Java transitioned at a young age with the support of her mother. She started singing and dancing in local nightclubs.

She moved to Los Angeles in her early 20s and performed at various nightclubs and was often featured in prominent magazines. However, in the 1960s the police department decided to start threatening nightclubs that hosted Sir Lady Java. Java was cited a local ordinance prohibiting the “impersonation by means of costume or dress a person of the opposite sex.” Java stood up against discrimination and hired the American Civil Liberties Union in a bid to overturn the rule. This eventually brought down the codes used by the LAPD to harass her and other LGBTQ people in Los Angeles.

She left Los Angeles and was welcomed in Portland Oregon but kept a low profile since the 80s because she was recovering from a stroke. Nonetheless, Java has been recognized as a trailblazer in the LGBTQ community and was guest of honor at Alpha Chapter (Los Angeles) of the Full Personality Expression and 18th Annual Trans Pride L.A.

This has been my favorite to draw so far on my commute to work. Yup working the weekend.

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