Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Santa Clara officials to raise transgender flag to mark day of visibility

Last July the city of Vancouver flew the transgender flag in front of its city hall to mark the start of the local Pride week. Courtesy the Calgary Herald.

Last July the city of Vancouver flew the transgender flag in front of its city hall to mark the start of the local Pride week. Courtesy the Calgary Herald.

In what is being billed as a national first for a county, Santa Clara County will raise the transgender pride flag next week in front of the county government building.

The event, which will take place at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 22, is to mark the sixth annual International Transgender Day of Visibility, which will be celebrated Thursday, March 31. The event is a counterpoint to the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance held annually in November to honor those individuals who have been killed.

Next week’s flag raising ceremony is the first time that the South Bay county has observed the day of visibility by flying the transgender pride flag in McEnery Plaza at the County of Santa Clara Government Center, located at 70 W. Hedding Street in San Jose.

Several Canadian cities, such as Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Barrie in Ontario, have flown the transgender pride flag, which features colored bands of blue, pink and white, in the past to honor their transgender citizens.

The transgender pride flag has been flow in various U.S. cities on certain occasions, such as at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco’s gay Castro district in November of 2012 after a public debate about doing so. Last year Drexel University flew it at three of its campuses to mark the college’s Transgender Remembrance Week, and the city of Philadelphia raised the flag in front of its City Hall last June in coordination with a yearly transgender health conference it hosts.

In an email gay Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager sent late yesterday (Wednesday, March 16) to constituents informing them about the event, he wrote that it will make “ours the first county in the nation to do so.”

Yeager will be joined by local transgender rights activist Lance Moore at the ceremony, and at the board meeting later that morning, he will ask his colleagues to adopt a proclamation declaring Transgender Day of Visibility in Santa Clara County.

“The Transgender Pride Flag, which will fly through the entire month of April, will fly just below the Rainbow Flag, which I had the honor of raising last June following the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality,” wrote Yeager. “I encourage you to come out for this special occasion.”

The South Bay Transgender Day of Visibility will be held Saturday, April 2 at the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center. The newly created Santa Clara County Office of LGBTQ Affairs will be taking part in the daylong event, which starts at 1:30 p.m. and will feature resources on medical care, legal concerns, social issues, economic opportunity, family relationships and more, according to Yeager’s office.

The evening will feature variety show entertainment from 7 to 10 p.m. and all proceeds will benefit the programs and services of the Billy DeFrank Center. There will also be an afterhours party hosted by Renegades bar, which is located very near to the center at 501 W. Taylor Street in downtown San Jose. For more information and the schedule of events, visit the web page here.

“Transgender Day of Visibility reminds us of the progress we’ve made and the work still unfinished in the fight for transgender equality,” noted Yeager. “I’m proud of the county’s involvement in this event, and with support from the new Office of LGBTQ Affairs I look forward to continue working for the health and well-being of our transgender community year round.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 17, 2016 @ 1:45 pm PST
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