Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a veteran of the infamous Stonewall Riots, a former sex worker, and a transgender elder and activist who has survived Bellevue psychiatric hospital, Attica Prison, the HIV/AIDS crisis and a world that white supremacy has built. She has shared tips with other sex workers in the nascent drag ball scene of the late 1960s, and helped found one of America’s first needle exchange clinics from the back of her van. Miss Major Speaks is both document of her brilliant life-told with intimacy, warmth and an undeniable levity-and a roadmap for the challenges black, brown, queer and trans youth will face on the path to liberation today.
Her incredible story of a life lived and a world survived becomes a conduit for larger questions about the riddle of collective liberation. For a younger generation, she warns about the traps of ‘representation,’ the politics of ‘self-care,’ and the frequent dead-ends of non-profit organizing; for all of us, she is a strike against those who would erase these histories of struggle. Miss Major offers something that cannot be found elsewhere: an affirmation that our vision for freedom can and must be more expansive than those on offer by mainstream institutions.