True Colors by Knitted Wit
When JK Rowling showed her true colors as a TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist), Knitted Wit knew they couldn’t continue to promote or profit off of their color line inspired by her best-known work. They loved the colorways they had created, so they decided to rename their favorites, paying homage to people in the LGBTQIA+ community, with a special emphasis on Trans folk.
Here is an introduction to a few of the True Colors stories and pictures to show you how they work up. Click here to see all the colors.
Stonewall is named for the inimitable Marsha P. Johnson, who lived in the US from 1945-1992. Johnson was a Black Trans woman who was one of the inspirations/instigators of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion along with Sylvia Rivera (honered by the colorway Greenwich). The P in her name stood for “Pay it No Mind.” Johnson had a glowing personality; everyone loved her. She was a mother figure to many young Trans people, and worked to provide housing for young Trans people in NYC. She founded STAR house in 1970, which was a 4-bedroom apt for Trans folk to live in. Her legacy lives on in many ways, one of which being the Marsha P. Johnson Foundation, which organizes and advocates for Black Trans people.
Sally Ride (1951-2012) became the first American woman to go to space, in 1983. When she was young, she had two potential career paths: tennis player or physicist, and she chose science. She was in the first class of women even admitted to the NASA program, and, right before going into space, was asked by reporters: “Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?” and “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?” She was very private, and it wasn’t until after her death that her life-partner of 27 years was revealed to be a woman, Tam O’Shaughnessey, who she met on the tennis circuit. Together, they not only built a life together, but wrote children’s science books and started a foundation that encourages children to learn about science together.
Jose Sarria (1922-2013) was an activist drag queen who, in his younger years, joined the US Navy because he thought their uniforms were the most attractive of all the armed services. Alas, he was denied those uniforms, as he was rejected by the Navy, so he served in the Army for years. After being discharged, he lost the love of his life, Paul, to a drunk driver, and found himself a bit adrift. Some friends encouraged him to enter a drag competition, which changed his life. The Black Cat, in Oakland, California, became his home, and he proved to be an engaging entertainer as well as an inspiring activist, working on gay rights throughout his life. He was even the first openly gay person to run for office in 1961, and, although he didn’t win, he paved the way for Harvey Milk, who won the same seat Sarria ran for 16 years later.
Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) was born in New Jersey in 1951. She was assigned male at birth, but knew that she was Trans in elementary school. Her home life was so toxic that she left at the tender age of 10, and was taken in by a group of drag queens in NYC who welcomed and took care of her. This group included the woman who would become her best friend, and with whom she would make history during the Stonewall Uprising. Throughout her life as an activist, she was routinely disappointed by gay right’s groups that chose not to include Trans rights in their work. She kept on fighting, however, doing everything she could to bring attention to Trans rights, and worked hard to help Trans folk who were homeless or jailed. She inspired the formation of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organization dedicated to fighting for Trans rights.
Quilted, a colorway paying homage to Cleve Jones and the NAMES AIDS Memorial Quilt he created (which now weighs over 54 tons!!!). Cleve is a white gay man, who lived in San Francisco during the AIDS crisis and saw many loved ones get sick and die. He, too, got sick with AIDS but he lived, and wanted to memorialize those who were not so lucky. He was an outspoken AIDS activist who worked in City Hall, and he started a project that was to inspire the quilt. He asked everyone he came across to write down the name of someone they had lost to HIV/AID, and created a public work comprised of those names on posted on City Hall, and was struck by how much the patchwork of names resembled a quilt. So Cleve started making. 54 tons of fabric and countless hours of work later, the quilt is now available as an interactive exhibit online. Cleve was born in the US in 1954.
French Court honors Chevalière D’Eon, who lived in France from 1728-1810. D’Eon was a White Trans woman who was a secret spy for the French King; she spied on Russia and England, presenting as male the whole time. She transitioned at 49 and was formally presented to the court as a woman – the first trans woman to be presented/accepted at French court.
📸 (and most of the words) by Shannon Squire