Earlier this month, California enacted House Resolution 57, recognizing August as Transgender History Month starting in 2024. Although the month-long observance has been celebrated in cities like San Francisco and Santa Clara, the state of California is the first in the nation to honor it.
As described on the Transgender History Month website, August is significant due to the 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria Riots in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco. In response to violent and constant police harassment, Black and brown trans women and drag queens enacted a riot. This event predates its more popular Stonewall riots in New York City by three years and marks the beginning of transgender activism in San Francisco.
California’s State Assembly gathered on Sept. 6 for voting, hearing from Assemblymembers Matt Haney, Lori Wilson and Rick Zbur.
“The history of transgender people is there if you look for it,” Haney said. “As long as there has been a California, there have been transgender people here contributing to their community, making history, expanding civil rights and helping to build a California that is more inclusive and prosperous for everyone.”
As LGBTQ Nation reported, the team effort to push for Transgender History Month is commendable in a time when Republican lawmakers in other states are looking to minimize the rights of transgender people. Namely, prohibiting trans women from competing in women’s sports, banning gender-affirming care for young people, and preventing trans folk’s use of restrooms that align with their gender identity.
While anti-trans laws have no chance of passing in the California Assembly, there are still anti-LGBTQ+ groups in the state who want to add anti-transgender initiatives to the state’s 2024 ballot. One of the proposed initiatives would require schools to notify parents if their child identifies as trans or nonbinary.
Honey Mahogany, chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party and one of the speakers at the press conference noted that while transgender people are free to enjoy protective rights in California, the state is still plagued with transphobia.
“Even here in California, where we have a sanctuary state, where we have overwhelmingly Democrats representing us in the capitol, we are still seeing acts of violence. We are still seeing attempts at legislating against our community,” Mahogany said. “And so it’s really important to us that we stop spreading misinformation about the trans community and take this opportunity to actually tell the truth and educate people about who we are and what we need.”
Knives Nguyen, (he/them/theirs) is a journalist from the Bay Area who covers entertainment and culture. You can connect with them on LinkedIn: @knivesnguyen.
Edited by Nykeya Woods.