Mariah Lopez

Mariah Lopez is an American transgender activist and former sex worker, of Black and Latino heritage.

Mariah is the executive director for STARR (Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform), a transgender rights advocacy group that works directly with the district attorney’s office to re-open unsolved homicide cases involving transgender women.

Mariah strives to address the issues experienced by LBGT population in the United States and improve their lives, with a focus on people of colour and/or those with low incomes.

In 2006, she was arrested for “loitering with intent for solicitation”, in New York. She was told she had to undergo a genital check to enter the female prison and refused. She was then taken to a men’s prison where she was sexually harassed and assaulted.

In 2012, Mariah lobbied for the re-examination of the circumstances of the death of Marsha P. Johnson (1992). The case was reopened as a possible homicide.

In 2014, she helped open the first transgender housing unit for America’s largest prison, Rikers Island. The new unit would help better protect transgender individuals in response to “abuses so severe and taboo, that most people (the general public and elected officials) believe these practices to be outlawed and or no longer practiced”.

She also acted as a publicist with STARR when the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) of New York City offered gender reassignment surgery for a 21-year-old, former foster care child. The city paid for the surgery.

In 2015, Mariah served on a panel discussion at the National Action Network (NAN) about LGBT rights and homophobia in the Black community. She continues to remain vocal about these issues.

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