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06 April 2017

Bambi L’Amour, activist

When 15-year-old Sylvia Rivera was arrested and sent to New York’s Rikers Island prison in 1966, she was in the gay-reserved section where she met a good-looking black queen. They threw shade at each other, and then became firm friends.

Bambi was a natural beauty, unable to be taken as a man, even if she tried. She had been given the name Bambi because of her large eyes. She was almost never seen without a bottle and a bag. Once, in male garb, she was attacked on the subway “for being a dyke”.

After the Weinstein Hall occupation in August 1970, Bambi, along with Sylvia Rivera, Marsha Johnson, Bebe Scarpi, Bubbles Rose Lee, was a founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR). She would often be with Sylvia when they zapped gay or student organizations.

She was part of the commune at the mafia-owned 213 East Second Street. Her method of pan-handling was rather dramatic: she would stand in the street to stop traffic, and then bang on car windows to demand change.

Her age is not specified in any of the accounts, nor what happened to her after 1971.

  • Martin B Duberman. Stonewall. Dutton, c1993. Plume, 1994: 123-4, 192, 252, 254.
  • David Carter. Stonewall : the riots that sparked the gay revolution. St. Martin's Press 2004: 56. New York: Griffin 2005.
  • Stephan L. Cohen. The Gay Liberation Youth Movement in New York: "An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail". Routledge, 2008: 91, 104-5, 106, 122, 127, 128, 132, 147.
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Was Bambi at the Stonewall riots?  Duberman p192 has a very brief mention that she was, but as part of Sylvia's perception of what was happening at Stonewall,    That is in the most dubious part of his book, as others maintain that Sylvia was not in fact there.   Therefore, we don't know if Bambi was there.   Maybe.   

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