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Trans activist says the new Marsha P. Johnson doc rips off her work

October 9, 2017
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Say it ain’t so!

Just as we were getting stoked about Netflix’s newly released The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson, it seems like this exploration of the life of the trans icon might be just more of the anti-Black, anti-trans bullshit she had to deal with in life.

According to trans activist Reina Gossett, David France, the filmmaker behind the Netflix documentary, stole his ideas from her, and a film she made with Sasha Wortzol called Happy Birthday Marsha!

“He told the people who worked there -i shit you not- that he should be the one to do this film, got a grant from Sundance/Arcus using my language and research about STAR, got Vimeo to remove my video of Sylvia’s critical ‘y’all better quiet down’ speech, ripped off decades of my archival research that i experienced so much violence to get, had his staff call Sasha up at work to get our contacts then hired my and Sasha’s *ADVISOR* to our Marsha film Kimberly Reed to be his producer. And that’s just the shit I have the spoons to name,” Gossett wrote on Instagram.

#deepshare #realtruth this week while I’m borrowing money to pay rent, david france is releasing his multimillion dollar netflix deal on marsha p johnson. i’m still lost in the music trying to #pay_it_no_mind and reeling on how this movie came to be and make so much $ off of our lives and ideas. david got inspired to make this film from a grant application video that @sashawortzel & I made and sent to Kalamazoo/Arcus Foundation social justice center while he was visiting. He told the people who worked there -i shit you not- that he should be the one to do this film, got a grant from Sundance/Arcus using my language and research about STAR, got Vimeo to remove my video of Sylvia’s critical “y’all better quiet down” speech, ripped off decades of my archival research that i experienced so much violence to get, had his staff call Sasha up at work to get our contacts then hired my and Sasha’s *ADVISOR* to our Marsha film Kimberly Reed to be his producer. And that’s just the shit I have the spoons to name. TRUSTTHERE’SSOMUCH MORE. This kind of extraction/excavation of black life, disabled life, poor life, trans life is so old and so deeply connected to the violence Marsha had to deal with throughout her life. So I feel so much rage and grief over all of this & STAR must have some serious level plan on moving through many—and clearly by any means necessary—to get the message out… So tonight I’m channeling high priestess energy to show me the honey throne cuz this storm queen is

A post shared by Reina Gossett (@reinaxgossett) on

If it’s true, that would be just like a cisgender white man.

But the community isn’t letting these allegations disappear quietly. On Saturday, Janet Mock tweeted Gossett’s accusation to her 154,000 followers.

We can only hope the truth quickly comes to light, and Marsha’s legacy is no longer tainted by the continued work of cis people stealing credit for what trans people do.

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