FYI: August Is Transgender History Month in San Francisco

In 2021, San Francisco became the first-ever metropolitan in the United States to dedicate an entire month to transgender advocacy and the history that wraps up the community.
San Francisco’s synonymous with queerness and gay rights activism. The intersection of the two has cemented the city’s importance as a leader in moving the needle forward for LGBTQI+ people — with representation and recognition being cornerstones of that progression.

In 2021, San Francisco declared August Transgender History Month, helping shed more visibility on transgender advocacy… past, present, and future.

The country’s first Transgender History Month honored the 55th anniversary of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots, which occurred in August 1966 in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, marking the beginning of transgender activism in San Francisco. A response to violent and constant police harassment, this incident was one of the first LGBTQ uprisings in United States history, preceding the better-known 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City.

“I am honored to join the transgender community today to declare August as Transgender History Month in San Francisco,” said Mayor Breed yesterday in 2021 flanked by local notably queer icons like drag queen Sister Romana, the self-crowned “most photographed nun in the world.”

“Our transgender community has a rich cultural history in this city and is so important to our diverse identity,” Breed added in a press release about the historic announcement. “San Francisco has been and always will be a place where everyone can seek refuge, sanctuary, and safety. Today, we celebrate both our city’s pride and the transgender community.”

SF’s Tenderloin neighborhood is home to the City’s Transgender District, which was created in 2018 as Compton’s Transgender Cultural District; it simultaneously also became the nation’s first legally recognized district dedicated to the transgender, nonbinary, and intersex community. The Compton’s Cafeteria riot, an uproar considered to be the Stonewall of trans activism, occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin — the riot being a response to the violent and constant police harassment of drag queens and trans people, particularly trans women.

In addition to proclaiming August Transgender History Month in San Francisco, San Francisco continues to allocate funds from its citywide fiscal budget toward several critical trans and LGBTQI+ community investments, including increased access to mental health and other medical services; supporting housing initiatives to home at-risk youth; policies to help curb violence against transgender people, particularly those belonging to BIPOC communities. According to the Bay Area Reporter, the City and County of San Francisco will give almost $11 million to LGBTQIA+ programs over the next two fiscal years  — with portions of those funds going directly to trans-specific initiatives.

San Francisco: Never stop being the gay capital of the world.

Feature image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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