San Francisco became the first U.S. city to officially recognize August as Transgender History Month back in 2021, and the Transgender District is hard at work with several important initiatives in the coming weeks. In a city where so many essential moments in LGBTQ+ history have taken place, we’re excited to see even more progress being made before our eyes.
The Riot Party
Perhaps the most exciting event on the calendar is the Riot Party, an outdoor music festival fundraiser. Diamond Stylz and Ian Harvie will host the festival which features performances from Nomi Ruiz, Jasmine Infiniti, Trace Lysette, Yves, ASTU, Dominique Morgan, and Quay Dash.
Check it out from 5-9pm on August 28 at the Hibernia Bank Building at 1 Jones Street in San Francisco. General admission costs $30 and attendees must show proof of vaccination and/or a negative Covid test to enter.
The Riot Party is so named for the Compton’s Cafeteria riots of 1966, in which a large group of transgender women and drag queens resisted arrest in the Tenderloin at the intersection of Turk and Taylor Streets. They fought back with handbags and high heels to protest violent abuse and harassment they suffered at the hands of the police. This event was one of the first LGBTQ+ riots in the United States, preceding the more famous Stonewall riots of 1969.
Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program
The Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program started in 2020 as a way to invest in local transgender owned and operated businesses. The Transgender District sponsors all costs for aspiring entrepreneurs to launch their business, from tax filings to training classes to seed grants. The program has launched 10 new businesses this way to date, and will soon announce a new cohort of aspiring entrepreneurs that we can watch in action during the next 90 days. San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development has committed $1.2 million to the cause.
Guaranteed Income for Transgender People Program (GIFT)
This 18-month pilot program launching this fall will grant guaranteed income to 55 transgender people in San Francisco, with the goal of eradicating poverty in the local trans community and eventually around the world. The program is led by the Transgender District and Lyon Martin Community Health Services in partnership with multiple SF City offices and departments.
Historical preservation of the site of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots
The intersection of Turk and Taylor Streets in SF is famous for being the site of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots of 1966, as detailed in the above description of the Riot Party. The District has been advocating for its cultural and historical preservation since 2019, and in June 2022, the Board of Supervisors finally passed an amendment to legally recognize the intersection as a historic place. The goal is to eventually have it historically recognized on a federal level.
Black Census Project
The District has partnered with Black Futures Lab to host safe social spaces for Black LGBTQIA+ communities to make sure their voices are counted. It’s part of a national effort to fight back against gerrymandering, voting limitations, and more obstacles that traditionally impede Black LGBTQIA+ voters.
About the Transgender District
The Transgender District occupies 2 blocks of Sixth Street and 6 blocks in the southeastern Tenderloin. It’s the first legally recognized transgender district in the US, with portions of the streets named to honor the contributions of transgender people.
The District works to create a safe and empowering neighborhood where trans people are represented in the ownership of buildings, businesses, and homes through a series of program initiatives. The initiatives center on tenant protections, economics and workforce development, arts and culture, cultural heritage conservation, cultural competency, and land use. You’ll know you’re in the Transgender District because all of the light poles bear the colors of the Transgender Flag.
Featured image: Photo by Kae Ng on Unsplash