Trans March aims
to span generations
by Heather Cassell
Thousands of attendees are expected to fill Dolores Park with the color of purple to show the transgender community's unity as it mourns its losses and celebrates its victories at the ninth annual Trans March Friday, June 22 from noon to 6:30 p.m.
The theme for this year's celebration and march is "Trans Generations: Define your Moment."
People will enjoy a variety of events for the whole community.
In its quest to continue building community Trans March organizers are introducing its first youth and elder brunch. The free intergenerational brunch to bring elders and youth together to share the community's history and visions for the future will start the festivities at noon in the park.
The goal of the brunch is to bring the elders, youth, and their families together "so we can increase dialogue between the generations and hopefully youth can learn the history of the trans movement and also become inspired to make a difference," said Danielle Castro, a steering committee member of the Trans March and who is in charge of the event's media relations.
Jamie Rafaela Wolfe, a fellow Trans March committee member agreed, adding that the brunch will bring the community together to "really share what makes not only our trans community unique, but what's empowered us from back in the days during our so-called screaming queens, Compton Cafeteria riots fighting for our justice at that point."
Wolfe added, "It will help to have generation to generation continuity in the struggle."
Launched in 2004 in response to the mistrial of the murderers of Gwen Araujo, a young trans woman who lived in Newark, California and was killed at a house party in 2002, this year's Trans March continues its tradition of rising against transphobia unifying thousands of transgender, gender non-conforming individuals, and allies for social justice and pride.
Committee members hope to reach their $15,000 goal to put on the march, said Wolfe.
This year's march is bittersweet as it follows by almost two months the April 29 murder of Brandy Martell, an African American transgender woman who was shot in her car in downtown Oakland.
"There is a lot of sadness and it's really important that we all come together and show the world that we will definitely will not stand for this hatred and we are united in that front," said Castro, a 37-year-old trans woman.
At the same time there is cause for celebration as the community won a significant employment rights battle against the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. In April, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that gender identity is protected under Title VII, the federal sex discrimination law. The case was filed by the Transgender Law Center on behalf of Bay Area trans woman Mia Macy, who applied as a ballistics technician at the ATF's Walnut Creek facility last year and was denied employment.
Macy is scheduled to speak at the rally. Other scheduled speakers include Miss Major and JoAnne Keatley, said the organizers.
The celebration and rally will start at 3:30 p.m. on the main stage at the park.
"It's really important to come together and have a united front," said Castro.
Wolfe, who is emceeing along with Tita Aida and Tonilyn Sideco, agreed, adding that this year's motto "define your moment" means, "What is special about us? What's special about our movement? What's special about just one's self? Define this moment. This is the moment where we are empowered and we are going to take back our rights ... we are going to fight for our rights and show the greater community that we mean business."
Mayor Ed Lee, who was the first sitting San Francisco mayor to speak at a Trans March last year, will again speak at this year's rally, according to Francis Tsang the mayor's spokesman.
Entertainment includes Animal Prufrock and the Fruity Flavors, Cait Brennen, Elsinar, King Tuff n Stuff, My Reasons Why, Ryan Casatta, and various other dance and drag performances.
Thousands of people are anticipated to take to the streets at 6:30 p.m. to march to U.N. Plaza following the event in the park.
Disabled and elder transgender individuals will head up the march for the second year in a trolley, but this year marks the first time that a motorcade of trans people on bikes will round out the march.
The evening will wrap up with the official Trans March celebration at El Rio, 3158 Mission Street, starting at 8. Cover is $5-$25 at the door.
Proceeds from the after-party will benefit the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project, said Wolfe.
For more information, visit www.transmarch.org.