LOS ANGELES – This sister did it for herself.
In the late 1960s, when the Los Angeles Police Department enforced “Rule No. 9” – a ridiculous city law that essentially made it illegal for people to crossdress – department officials didn’t think anyone would challenge their harassment.
They were wrong.
SIR LADY JAVA
Enter Sir Lady Java, a waitress, female impersonator, and transgender activist at the Redd Foxx Club on La Cienega Avenue in Los Angeles.
When the Los Angeles police threatened to shut down Foxx’s club in 1967, the comedian bowed to the intimidation and canceled Java’s act.
But Sir Lady Java joined forces with the ACLU, who argued the law was unconstitutional and took away her income. Her legal challenge, however, didn’t proceed because only the club owners could file a claim, and nobody did.
Nevertheless, Java became a trailblazer. She spoke truth to power by challenging the police and the city with public rallies, protests, and pickets that received press coverage from Jet magazine and the L.A. Advocate, which later became The Advocate.